Slate Coffee Roasters is every barista’s dream.
“Open 7 – Close.” reads the sign propped in front of its tiny, 6th Ave location. The space inside is small, minimalist, appropriately slate grey.
The heart, soul and center of the shop is gleaming Slayer espresso machine, sparkling like a new Christmas toy.
“Hello!” the friendly barista for the afternoon with her perfectly rimmed glasses, crisp white button-up tucked into black high-waisted shorts, smiles with confident professionalism. She knows where she is and what she is serving. She is the master of her profession. “Drinking here?”
Following immediately are glasses of water and menus, as table-service coffee materializes. The menu, although plain and simple, black and white, needs explaining. Familiar terms like ‘latte’ and ‘cappuccino’ are nowhere to be found.
“Everyone has a different idea of what a latte is,” she explains without prompting. “Here, we keep it simple and refer to it as what it is. Espresso plus milk. We offer four ounces, six ounces or eight ounces of milk with each double shot.”
Skimming the menu further, she continues, “We do not have any drip coffee at this particular location, but will happily do a pourover for you should you prefer.”
After placing an order, returning the menu and waiting momentarily, the coffee appears. It is as it should be: an artistic centerpiece.
The most popular item at Slate Coffee is a deconstructed milk drink. Served in small flutes, a single shot of espresso and a scant few ounces of steamed milk sit separately, side-by-side. The last flute holds the two together in what would technically be referred to as a macchiato.
The hope is to show the drinker the importance of each component before enjoying them together in a tiny symphony of thick, vanilla-cream milk and rich espresso.
The milk, of course, is local and non-homogenized. Buttery, rich and fatty, it results in creamy texture that has the natural viscosity of a melted vanilla shake. This milk is pure and sweet and heavenly. Matt Perger would beam with pride.
I will warn you that if you’re looking for an in-and-out coffee experience, Slate is not for you. Slate is for savoring and appreciating coffee as culture, not for slugging 16-oz lattes as fuel. Any other shop in the world will offer that experience; Slate politely declines.
(They will, however, happily explain their menu in detail. Please ask them questions, they live for it.)
My personal experience featured the Chelbasa Ethiopian espresso, a natural processed coffee from the Gideo region of Ethiopia. It tasted like bakers chocolate and cherry cordial with a lingering aftertaste reminiscent of licking the bowl after making chocolate covered strawberries. In short, it was one of the best espressos I have ever encountered. It had me re-evaluating my life choices to better center them around better coffee stewardship.
Of course, in a shop with a shiny gold EK43 and a Slayer at the helm, anything less would be underwhelming. It is certainly good to know, however, that some barista in Washington State is living my dream.
The myths are true: coffee here is nothing short of perfection.
Check them out HERE or give them a visit!
5413 6th Ave NW, Seattle, WA
1309 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA
602 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA
Side note: Seattle is awesome. See adventures below.