Intentionalist: Where to Get Your Energy for 2021

by Kristina Rivera

Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters

As we enter the new year, there’s one thing that’s already clear: We’re going to need our energy to get through it. And what could be more energizing than a carefully crafted cup of coffee from a local South Seattle coffee shop?

Independent coffee shops are so much more than the coffee they serve. Pre-pandemic, they were our go-to meeting spots when we wanted to catch up with a loved one, community organizing spaces, and where we set up our office for the day. It may be awhile until we can fully embrace everything these special neighborhood spaces have to offer, but for now, we can still enjoy a delicious drink made by people who genuinely care.

Here are three Intentionalist suggestions for where you should grab your drink of choice and #SpendLikeItMatters in 2021:

The Station

The Station cafe owners Leona Moore-Rodriguez (left) and Luis Rodriguez (right). (Photo: Intentionalist)

If you’re looking for a peaceful, quiet place to grab your coffee, you will not find it at The Station in Beacon Hill. What you will find is a killer playlist featuring artists ranging from Prince to Selena to Run DMC, a place to be heard and speak your mind, and — of course — excellent coffee. Since 2010, owners Luis Rodriguez and Leona Moore-Rodriguez have run The Station as a place to meet new people, hold important conversations, support people of all backgrounds, and just enjoy being in the community. During the pandemic, the meeting and gathering may have paused, but the feeling of being welcomed in a safe space has remained the same. 

Stop by The Station to try their signature spicy Mocha Mexicano, which is inspired by Luis’ upbringing in Mexico, or any of Leona’s candy bar-inspired creations, like their Almond Joy or Snickers latte. (And if you come in and hear a song you like, you can go ahead and thank your DJ Leona and her playlist.)

“[Beacon Hill] and this community is so amazing and so loving it’s overwhelming — but I mean that in a good way. I can’t speak enough about how great this neighborhood is. You just can’t beat it when people come together and work hard and scrape their pennies together to buy one cup of coffee just to support us. It’s just really wonderful to have so much support and love.” — Leona Moore-Rodriguez

Coffeeholic House

Chen Dien, co-owner of Coffeeholic House in Columbia City holding a Coffeeholic Dream, a hazelnut iced coffee topped with salted cheese foam. (Photo: Intentionalist)

When Coffeeholic House owners Chen Dien and Trang Cao moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago, they felt like something was missing in Seattle’s coffee scene. The husband and wife duo were born and raised in Vietnam, so they missed the strong, bold, just the right amount of sweet taste of Vietnamese coffee they knew and loved. After experimenting with different recipes at home, Chen and Trang realized coffee was their passion and started saving up to start their business. In March 2020, they opened Coffeeholic House in Columbia City as Seattle’s first Vietnamese-inspired coffee house. Despite opening right as the pandemic began, Chen said he’s grateful for their customers and small businesses who have helped Coffeeholic House survive.

Coffeeholic House offers a unique variety of coffee creations inspired by Asian flavors like pandan, ube, and coconut. Try their signature drink Coffeeholic Dream — a hazelnut latte topped with a layer of cheese foam, which adds a rich, luxuriously creamy element to your drink.

“Everyone, not just us, who opens a small business does it because they have a dream, they have a passion to put into their product. It means a lot when they have supporters in the community. You’re making their dreams come true when you support small businesses, and you know that money is going to a good cause. I feel like everyone who owns a small business in Seattle is really about community.” — Chen Dien

Cafe Avole

Cafe Avole Owner Solomon Dubie behind the counter at his cafe. (Photo: Intentionalist)

Community, culture, and coffee are the driving principles behind Cafe Avole. Owner Solomon Dubie opened Cafe Avole in 2016 to help share the complex, strong Ethiopian coffee culture with the people of Seattle. It’s since turned into a space that doesn’t quite fit into a box — it’s a place for connection, a creative-making space, and, most importantly, a place that centers itself around and advocates for its community. This past year, the cafe has partnered with local farms, like Nurturing Roots and Rainier Farm Stand, to provide fresh produce to their community and they consistently advocate for the people in their neighborhood and beyond.

Drop by Cafe Avole for an espresso, a traditional Ethiopian jebena coffee, or grab a bag of Cafe Avole’s coffee beans they roast themselves and source from Ethiopian growers.

“We’re a piece of what we want to see in the future. We’ll always be transparent with everybody. And as we grow, develop, and learn, we want to share that with our community. We want to see other people thrive.” — Solomon Dubie

Kristina Rivera is the marketing and communications coordinator at Intentionalist. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in journalism and public relations and has worked with organizations ranging from local nonprofits to global PR firms.

Featured image: An iced matcha latte topped with cheese foam from Coffeeholic House. (photo: Coffeeholic House)

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