Slate Coffee, Seattle

In Coffee by Ian Kennedy

by Ian Kennedy

During my cross-country tour, I transitioned from liking coffee to posing as a coffee blogger, to actually blogging about coffee. Something I noticed was that taking this approach brought me into different kinds of conversations with my baristas. Usually that meant telling me where else I could find good coffee. Most excitingly, when they found out that Indulgence was a social justice blog that had some coffee on the side, they often had recommendations about local projects, organizations, and events too. Who would’ve thought that radicals and coffee shops mixed?

Now that I’m firmly in Seattle, the editors here have let me start a coffee blog that integrates great coffee spots with the other themes of our magazine. The first place I visited is a classic: Slate Coffee, which is a local roaster with three Seattle-area shops. I visited their downtown branch and met Ian and Angelique behind the counter.

Ian showed me their brewed coffee, which was a blend of Ethiopian beans. It was excellent, with a medium roast but still a full body. Most blends trade complexity for smoothness, but using only two beans this managed to retain both darker, nutty notes, and a brightness just below citrus. It’s a coffee I could drink a lot, but not something I’d brew to impress.

The espresso, on the other hand, let me know that I was in a city that took its coffee seriously. It was pulled from only the Awash beans in the Ethiopian blend, and was almost indescribable. It managed to be both smooth, almost no bitter or sour tone, while retaining a complexity and full body I’d never experienced. There was a light caramel sweetness which wrapped around a playful flavor that I want to call pure coffee. The classy presentation certainly helped.

After that great shot, I went up to talk to Angelique and Ian, who significantly lengthened my list of shops to check out. Angelique also told me about SeaSol, the Seattle Solidarity Network. She described it as a “social justice posse,” which offered support to people with less power. They’re focused especially on housing and labor issues and use a variety of mobilization methods to turn out a crowd when its needed.

So I left Slate elated, having my daily dose of both caffeine and connection to more direct action in my new home city.


Visit Slate Coffee Downtown at 602 2nd Ave: