Seattle has its fair share of coffee houses, from the-Starbucks-on-every-corner scene to the caboodle of indie coffee shops. But as of yet, there’s only one place in Seattle where you’ll find authentic Cuban coffee with a kid-friendly atmosphere: El Diablo. If you’re looking to branch out from your go-to coffee house (and gain a new perspective on coffee!), consider this electric java house for your next caffeine fix.

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Where is this hidden gem?
El Diablo Coffee Co. claims a prime spot in Upper Queen Anne, right next to Queen Anne Books and a stone’s throw from Once Upon A Time On Queen Anne Toys.

What’s the scene like?
You won’t find leather chairs and stone fireplaces here; the decor is a welcome change of coffee-culture pace. Floor to ceiling murals pop from the walls; their vibrant reds and yellows, greens and oranges bleed into the cozy, cheerful atmosphere. El Diablo’s devil mascot, Bettie, sits perched above one of the long wooden tables. The semi-private “lover’s grotto” has comfy couches, and the patio is perfect for warm days.

There’s a small play corner with toys and books, and there are jars of kid-friendly snacks for purchase, from animal crackers and raisins to lollipops. Patrons range from “café campers,” hunched over their laptops with a cup of steaming coffee, to moms a la jogging stroller, stopping for a quick snack and a much-needed shot of java.

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What’s the coffee like?
Double-tall-nonfat-sugar-free-vanilla lattes are unabashedly absent from the menu. Cuban coffee reigns; rich in tradition, potent and simply fantastic. The beans are roasted specifically for El Diablo at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time, resulting in a rich, deep brew. Traditionally served sweetened with caramelized sugar, the flavor is robust and balanced with a hint of sweetness.

Take a taste test…
Try the Cubano; don’t be fooled by the demitasse glass—this Cuban classic packs punch, with two shots of espresso poured over caramelized sugar. Rich and delicious! The Cortadito is the same as the Cuban, topped with a bit of steamed milk and foam. Since it’s cut with milk, this is a good place to start if the thought of sipping straight espresso gives you the jitters. Or try the much-raved about Café con Leche, otherwise known as the Latin Latte. For chocolate-lovers, El Diablo’s mocha is topped with hand-shaved Mexican chocolate. Divine.

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Tempt the kiddos!
You will definitely want to order your little one an authentic Mexican hot chocolate! This isn’t Swiss Miss; El Diablo uses authentic Ibarra Chocolate from Jalisco, Mexico. The hot chocolate is spiced with cinnamon and vanilla (and sprinkles, of course!).

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What else is on the menu?
The Batidos are delicious; blends of fresh fruit and ice (mixes or sugary syrups here? Not a chance!). A small but scrumptious menu is available (from breakfast sandwiches and vegan oatmeal to a must-try Cuban toast). The quiche and empanadas (ham & cheese, veggie, pork and apple & cinnamon) are popular. The coconut bread also has its own following.

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Good to know
Keep this coffee house in mind for a topper to a date night; El Diablo offers wines by the bottle or glass, as well as some devilishly good desserts.

Need to know
Bathrooms require a key and are located outside.

What else is there to do?
Pop into Queen Anne Books (right next door), or a peek into Once Upon A Time On Queen Anne and make an afternoon of it!

El Diablo Coffee Co.
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North, #101
Seattle, Wa 98109
206-285-0693
Onlineeldiablocoffee.com

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday: 5:30 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 6:30 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 6:30 am – 10:00 pm

Know of another kid-friendly coffee house with an exotic twist? Let us know in the comments below!

–Allison Holm (she even took the photos!)