I was chatting with Jill Killen, founder of Cloud City Coffee, on a cool spring morning when a customer stopped by and said, “I love this place, it’s part of my life now.”
Killen said this customer has been a regular for years, as have many other customers. Cloud City Coffee offers great coffee and delicious food, but community is the foundation of this Maple Leaf landmark.
Killen says, “Connections are what it’s all about.”
From day one of operation, this independent cafe has focused on building and supporting the community. With a nook full of children’s toys and books, drip coffee for diners on a budget, and a welcoming presence for all the neighbors (“We didn’t want anyone not to feel welcome in our cafe,” notes Killen), Cloud City Coffee is living its mission of being a community-centric company.
The community, coupled with freshly roasted coffee and food, makes Cloud City Coffee a hot spot in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.
Killen points out, “We make almost everything in-house from scratch, source great ingredients, and roast great coffee.”
She started roasting coffee in 2018 and this year she won a “Good Food Award” for an Ethiopian roaster.
Besides coffee, their most popular product is their coconut bread. And in response to customer requests, their menu has plenty of vegan offerings. The next step ? Cloud City Coffee will be adding ice cream to its menu for the summer months this year.
As Cloud City continues to roast coffee and cook delicious food, they simultaneously continue to focus on the community.
Killen says, “Cloud City almost always answers the call for anything the community needs, whether it’s using our front space for tables, donations to schools and churches, and a venue. of meeting for all the groups which must meet.”
The café has a telephone box transformed into a small free pantry connected to the building. Employees keep the pantry stocked with basic hygiene items — socks, feminine products, gloves — for any neighbor to take. And the bathroom is always open to any member of the community.
And the focus on community at Cloud City extends to employees. Killen ensures that all employees are paid a living wage (at a minimum). She participates in a program called Living Wage for Us, which certifies that employers keep their promise to pay living wages. When you enjoy your expertly prepared espresso drink, you know your dollars are supporting decent wages for your neighbors.
So head over to Cloud City, grab a coffee and a pastry or a sandwich, and enjoy outdoor seating (soon to be a permanent structure with warmth) or walk for mountain views at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. You will not be disappointed.
Cloud City Coffee is located at 8801 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle.