Street Bean Espresso in Seattle is a non-profit, multi-roaster cafe that provides opportunities for street kids and at-risk youth to get on their feet and learn valuable career skills by working in a specialty coffee environment. For the last five years the cafe has been operating under the umbrella of New Horizons, an organization dedicated to helping get youth off the streets by providing case workers, counseling, coaching and job training. On November 7th, Street Bean is celebrating their fifth anniversary all day with special tastings, “hot biscuits and fixins”, and guests baristas who will be serving their signature drinks from the recent Big Western Barista Competition. Rumor is there may even be a celebrity guest appearance in the morning.

Part of the proceeds of the day will be to used to help raise money for Street Bean baristas to get certified by the Barista Guild of America, as a way to further enhance their resume and improve their future job opportunities. Street Bean/New Horizons uses a system of job and interview trainings, apprenticeships, and employment placement to help move youth off the streets.

To hear more about Street Bean and the upcoming anniversary, we talked to Street Bean manager (and Sprudge contributor) Ben Blake.

Street Bean Espresso Seattle 2

Image courtesy Street Bean Espresso

How many baristas have been trained in the last five years under the Street Beans program?

We’ve successfully trained 14 baristas over the last few years who are now employed and are living off the streets. Currently, all of our baristas are graduates of the New Horizons apprenticeship program and are working here, living on their own and doing well. We also have an apprentice who is in transition from life off the streets and is in the middle of training. We’d like to increase the number of apprentices we have at one time to two as our training and education program continues to expand.

Might we see any apprentice baristas competing at the 2016 NWRBC next year?

Most of our baristas are pretty brand new to the specialty coffee scene. Over the past year we’ve encouraged and supported our baristas to get involved in the coffee community. Some of them have competed in the NW Cup Tasters League, volunteered at SCAA, and shown interest in latte art competitions. This coming year, we’d like to maintain a presence at SCAA, while working with our baristas to find out how they might want to compete. We have one fella who’s interested in competing in the latte art competition at USBC, and there’s a pretty good chance that one of us will be competing as a barista at Big Western.


Do you have a list of the barista competitors that have confirmed for the anniversary event?

Some are competitors, and some are just guests. Here’s our list: Sarah Dooley, Cabell Tice (3X Latte Art Champion), Bronwen Serna (USBC Champion), Akaash Saini (2015 Big Western Brewer’s Cup Champ), Christos Andrews (Big West Competitor), Sam Brandvein (Big West Top 3), Ali Alonso (Caffe Ladro). Slate Coffee will be here doing coffee tastings in the morning, and the folks from Kuma Coffee will be here doing tastings in the afternoon, Jill from Pure Eire Dairy will be here hanging around. All of these folks will be doing different things. Recent competitors will have the opportunity to serve their sig drinks, people like Sarah and Cabell will work the bar (pouring milk, pulling shots) and Akaash will be brewing coffee on the brew bar.

How much will sig drinks cost?

Sig drinks and specialty drinks will range from $4-$7, and will be a combination of special drinks from the barista competitors and a specially crafted coffee cocktail menu that our own Ike Bubna has created. Special drinks will all be prepared on a GS/3 that has been provided for the day by the kind folks at La Marzocco. This doesn’t tie in to the drink menu but we will also be hosting a silent auction with items available from Baratza, Able Brewing, Supersonic Coffee, and others.

Hot biscuits! Can you tell us more about the food?

Hot buttermilk biscuits from Morsel will be available until they run out. Biscuits include a choice of fixing to spread on top (bacon jam, raspberry jam, honey butter, chocolate hazelnut). We’ll also have wide selection of fresh donuts from Wallingford’s Mighty-O Donut, our normal selection of pastries from Little Rae’s Bakery, Macrina Bakery, and Le Panier.

Street Bean Espresso is at 2702 3rd Ave in Seattle and will celebrate its five year anniversary on November 7th between 6AM and 6PM.