Seattle Spotlight: Slate Coffee Roasters, an Airbnb host favorite, connects people over coffee

We’re excited to continue the Seattle Spotlight series — a weekly highlight of stories from the local home sharing community. Seattle residents have democratized travel by turning their largest expense — their homes — into an asset to earn extra income, allowing travelers to live like locals and generate economic activity across the city.

You can’t talk about Seattle without talking coffee, and a favorite of the Airbnb community is a unique local cafe that began in Ballard. “We’re all about elevating coffee culture and celebrating what makes coffee special,” says Chelsey, owner of Slate Coffee Roasters. “I love all the things that coffee can be to different people.”

For Chelsey, coffee is a favorite family tradition. Growing up, she enjoyed spending mornings with her mom and grandma. While they sipped coffee, she enjoyed a cup of half-hot chocolate, half-coffee. “It was really fun and really relaxing,” she says. When Chelsey and her family decided to open a business, the answer was right under their noses. “My brother and mother wanted to start a business from something they loved,” she says. “And coffee was just a very clear shared love.”

“I love how coffee brings people together.”


Slate Coffee owner Chelsey Walker-Watson. Photo credit Wesley Verhoeve

Slate Coffee’s Ballard location, known as the Slate Coffee Bar, is a quaint 350 square-foot space tucked into a residential neighborhood, that draws both neighbors and coffee enthusiasts. “We have a coffee-forward menu with a light roast, so we emphasize coffees that are really sweet and bright, and we tend to focus on the producers of the coffee,” says the award-winning brewer. “So we get many locals that will come to the shop specifically to seek out that style of coffee.”

Another growing group of customers is the Ballard Airbnb community, including hosts and guests who find the shop through host recommendations. “I think it is the greatest compliment that hosts are thinking about what visitors will want to experience in Seattle and choose us to be included in that journey,” says Chelsey. “I know in particular that a lot of people in the Airbnb community in Ballard are really passionate about their neighborhood and about their community.”

“[Being recommended by Airbnb hosts] is the greatest compliment.”

Barista Leo Schnepf prepares orders behind the coffee bar

A Seattle-area native, Chelsey thinks the old fishing town is a “great neighborhood” that’s family-friendly with a variety of restaurants and shopping. “It just feels like home.”

Chelsey values the connection with travelers and loves sharing her neighborhood with them. “The more people we have visiting and looking for unique experiences and seeking out small businesses in Ballard, that’s fantastic,” she says. “One of my favorite things to do with visitors is to give them some insider tips about how to spend their time because there are so many fun things to do in Seattle.”

“Through home sharing… you get a much more unique, intimate, tailored experience.”

Having traveled using Airbnb, Chelsey also understands the appeal of home sharing firsthand. “Through home sharing, I just think you get a much more unique, intimate, tailored experience,” she says. “It’s so much easier to go and share space and have a fun time and gather together.”

Airbnb is about creating bonds and bringing people together, which parallels Slate’s core mission. “We love coffee, but we really love to connect with people.”

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