Local Must

Local MustSlate Coffee Roasters' Co-Founder Chelsey Walker-Watson reflects on the impact of travel in starting her company, her lessons learned along the way and where she loves to eat, drink and go outside in Seattle, Washginton as part of the Dirt Road Travels city guide for Seattle.

Seattle, Washington

Slate Coffee Roasters

"The cream of a crop in a town that's famous for coffee."

The Fat Hen
La Marzocco Cafe at KEXP
Olympic Sculpture Park
Pike Place Market
Frankie & Jo's Ice Cream
The Walrus and The Carpenter
The Barnacle
Tractor Tavern

Slate Coffee Roasters

"The cream of a crop in a town that's famous for coffee."

Recommended by:
Recommended in:
Seattle, Washington
Chelsey Walker-Watson smiles at Slate Coffee in Seattle.

My Story

"I decided to travel throughout Asia, Europe, and Central America. I would have never started Slate unless I had traveled. Because the scariest thing I could imagine was quitting my job with a salary and health benefits and a 401(k) to go explore the unknown.

I worked for Peet's Coffee while I was in school, and the week I graduated from the University of Washington with my BA, I was promoted and just kept moving along a track, for years.

Saying goodbye to that security was terrifying, and visiting a number of countries where I did not speak the language just felt like this giant mystery and so scary.

Once I did that and saw this greater world and experienced different cultures, different ways of life and different representations of what happiness looked like, I felt really strong in coming back and starting my own business with my family. Because I had already done the thing that scared me most.

I may try, I may struggle and I may fail, but I had the sense that, 'OK. I can recover.' I gained that confidence and strength and willingness to experience from traveling."

The signs outside of Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.
The inside of Slate Coffee Roasters has records, glasses and vintage goods on the wall.

Best Advice I've Received

"Appreciate the contributions of the collective rather than the individual. When I was a manager at someone else's business, I felt this pressure that, if you're the leader, you have to be great at everything. Now, my job is about making sure that everyone else is allowed to be great, and my job is to facilitate everyone else's greatness." 

A barista pours espresso at Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.
Slate Coffee Roasters packaging on a wood shelf against a wall.

My Advice for Others

"If you want to turn your passion into your career, separate what it is that you really love about something from loving the really nitty gritty, dirty process of creating it. Those are very different things and pay attention because sometimes things are meant to be our passion and not our work, and that can be a beautiful thing.

It's such hard work and so intense to open your own business. It's so much more work than anyone could ever imagine, especially if you're never been self-employed before, or never had to be hungry to go get work. It can be a little shocking. You've got to create everything yourself. There's no other department to delegate things to at the outset. You know going into it that it'll be a lot of hard work, but you don't really understand until you do it.

The coffee machinery at Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.
An espresso is poured at Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.
Do Not Miss La Marzocco at KEXP Breakfast at The Fat Hen is So So So Good We've Heard Pretty Good Things about Milstead & Co Too
A deconstructed espresso at Slate Coffee Roasters.
An iced coffee with almond milk.
A pastry sits at Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.

What I Love Most About Seattle

"It's such a rich community. It's balanced, with a great food and beverage scene, visual arts and dance and music and such a diversity of thought. We're very much connected to our landscape, the hiking and kayaking and snowboarding and the islands. That you can explore the outdoors while getting the unique experiences that come with living in a city is priceless to me." 

Chelsey Walker-Watson makes a pour over at Slate Coffee in Seattle.
A cold brew coffee with milk and ice at Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle.

My Seattle Musts

"Start with a coffee at Slate or La Marzocco at KEXP. Then grab breakfast at The Fat Hen, which is my favorite brunch spot. After, hop on a bike to Olympic Sculpture Park, part of the Seattle Art Museum. 

You can trail run through Discovery Park along the water. Or, stop to check out Pike Place. I love ice cream at Frankie & Jo's, oysters at The Walrus and The Carpenter and drinks at The Barnacle. Also, Delancey for wood-fired pizza and craft cocktails at Essex. Then finish up the night by exploring Old Ballard Avenue and listening to music at the Tractor Tavern." 

My Recommended Content

"There is a beautiful quarterly publication called Drift Magazine and in every issue, they explore specialty coffee culture in a different city, like New York, Tokyo, Havana, and Melbourne. It’s beautifully written and the photography is outstanding." 


Slate Coffee Roasters


Slate Coffee Roasters
Chelsey Walker-Watson
Slate Coffee Roasters
The Fat Hen
"What's your favorite breakfast in the US and why is it The Fat Hen?"
La Marzocco Cafe at KEXP
"Rotating craft coffee inside of a public radio station is the quintessence of Seattle."
"The pizza's delicious."
Olympic Sculpture Park
"A park along the waterfront with modern art; cubes on grass."
Pike Place Market
"The baby daddy of farmers markets everywhere."
Frankie & Jo's Ice Cream
"A unique take on ice cream."
The Walrus and The Carpenter
"A line out the door before open at 4 on a Wednesday."
The Barnacle
"The recovery room from a Walrus & The Carpenter induced food coma."
"The little brother that could."
Tractor Tavern
"One of my favorite music venues in the country."
Slate Coffee Roasters
"The cream of a crop in a town that's famous for coffee."

Story Tags

Like what you see? Give it a share:

A NEW CITY delivered to your inbox each week

Thank you! You'll be hearing from us soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
Woot! Woot!
Error! Try again.
Back to top
Oops! Something went wrong.