Eugene Cho

your favorite cafe and coffee roaster?

I wear several hats via family, church, ODW, and Q Cafe. They’re all enjoyable and challenging but the one that keeps me most “happy” is probably my role as the Executive Director of Q Cafe because I get to walk in to my office (via the Q Cafe) and along the way, order and enjoy an incredible cup of espresso. And it’s free!

Couple years ago, the cafe Advisory Board decided to switch roasters and after some mulling back and forth between Zoka’s and Stumptown Coffee, we chose Stumptown as we were swayed by the “direct trade” commitment of.  I’ve had some good beans over the years but Stumptown has to be amongst the best I’ve ever had especially when it’s made the right way.

Umm, see the video above courtesy of Jake – Q Cafe’s very own manager. He brought it under pressure.

I’m amazed at how many people enjoy coffee around the world. So, here are two very simple questions:

  1. Who’s your favorite coffee roaster?
  2. Your favorite cafe and why? (Tell us your city)

Since you know my favorite cafe, here’s my 2nd favorite cafe in the Seattle area.

And for those who don’t know much about Q Cafe:

Q Cafe is a non-profit neighborhood cafe in Seattle featuring direct trade espresso and tea, art, live music, and community events.

We proudly serve Stumptown Coffee; support local artists and musicians through our art gallery and live music venue; host many groups through the rental of our space; host community events; help collect resources for the homeless community; and give back 10% of all cafe sales to local and global non-profit causes. In addition to great coffee and tea, Q Cafe also features free WiFi for laptop users, 2 desktop kiosks for internet [30 minutes/purchase], a kids’ room for parents and children, countertop tables and benches for laptop user with easy access to outlets, a piano, and plenty of comfy chairs and sofas.

We are your friendly community cafe with a cause.

Website || Be a Fan on Facebook ||  Music Venue || Twitter

* And for those with questions about starting your own non-profit cafe -> click here.

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43 Responses

  1. goldfearsnofire says:

    i’m swelling with pride for my man jake buter! can’t wait for my next trip to seattle to pick up some good coffee and conversation at the q! thanks for the fun video eugene!

  2. pjchris says:

    Much to my husband’s dismay, I don’t drink coffee. I think I missed that part of college when everyone gets hooked🙂

    However, I do have a favorite coffee shop in my hometown of Helena, MT. If you’re ever there, stop into the Donut Hole. Homemade killer donuts for over 25 years and they serve Morning Light coffee (a little local coffee company that has managed to hold it’s customers despite the 3 Starbucks that have moved in🙂 And even my hubby likes their java)

  3. Andy M says:

    I don’t drink coffee but there was a local coffee shop, Charlie Bean, that my wife and I loved because she liked the coffee, and I liked the food, and it was local rather than a chain. They roasted their coffee and they offered good fair trade organic coffee that my whole family says is really good. Sadly though they closed down the shop. They still roast and sell coffee beans, but no cafe or food.

  4. Jake Johnson says:

    If you’re ever in Tempe, AZ, you have to check out Cartel Coffee. They roast their own coffee and have a great industrial space. The atmosphere is very casual and it’s a hot spot for ASU hipsters, but the owners are Christian and do awesome work by giving portions of their profits back to the farmers they buy their beans from.

    Oh, and they have one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had…and that’s coming from a Seattle-grown boy.

  5. Sara says:

    Down here in Olympia, we go to Olympia Coffee Roasters. They’re all organic, fair and direct trade. They roast their own beans several days a week. They occasionally hold “cupping” events. Kinda like wine tasting, but with coffee. Plus they have a Clover machine! Bonus!

  6. Bryan says:

    I am sure I will get roasted for this comment, but I really miss dunkin donuts. That was a hang out spot with my kids for our weekly coffee/hot chocolate and donuts date and I haven’t been able to replace it yet since we moved to Seattle. And, I do like their coffee

  7. klstrovas says:

    Our family favorite coffee spot (we live in north Bothell, WA) is the Spotted Cow. They roast their own beans there and make a great cup of coffee and have a kid spot where our kids can chill while my husband and I attempt to share a word or two.

    Our favorite locally roasted coffee for beans we grind at home is Mukilteo Coffee Company beans. They are strong and fresh and awesome!

  8. sue says:

    wow…i had a vision (not the supernatural kind) to create a cafe with those EXACT features. even knew which local roaster i wanted to use:

    land of 1000 hills coffee

    wow…so encouraged that something like what i imagined really exists out there!

  9. Candace Datz says:

    As a faithful Oregonian, Stumptown is by far my favorite roaster, and it happens to be just one of two kinds of coffee my very picky husband will drink – that and 100% fresh Kona coffee. Living outside of Oregon though, it’s hard to find that kind of quality! But I do work as a barista at my local YWAM community coffee shop, Kairos Coffee and Tea in Colorado Springs. We serve BuyWell coffee, a local roaster who has an amazing commitment to organic and fair trade beans. Next time I’m in Seattle, I’m definitely stopping by Q Cafe…that latte looked amazing!!

  10. Kacie says:

    Intelligensia, in Chicago. I live in Dallas now but still ask for Intelligensia for Christmas from my Chicago-based sister! They roast their own and their Black Cat blend is the best decaf roast I’ve had. They also have won international competitions for their barista skills and latte art. LOVE them.

    Favorite cafe, though, is Cafe Ballou in the Ukrainian Village in Chicago. Started by two Ukrainian immigrants and named after the ship that took them over, I believe their daughter still runs the shop and does everything herself. It’s SO homey, with ramshackle furniture and personal service. Oh, and her chocolate cappucinos and croissants were to die for.

  11. J. P. says:

    Very nice!

    (But what’s with the autofocus on the camera? And does the coffee taste better because Jake rubs his finger to level out the grounds [@1:18]?)

  12. Barry says:

    I am at Q Cafe a few times a week studying for grad school and it has some of the best coffee in Seattle.

    Aster has the best coffee brewing method (they have some special machine Starbucks bought from them)but I don’t like the environment.

    Other favorites: Green Bean (recently burned down), Caffe Fiore and Bauhaus.

  13. Funny how many of us responders are not actually coffee drinkers….

    I don’t drink it myself, but I serve my guests Jumpy Monkey Coffee, which is roasted at Opportunities Unlimited, a facility for people who have sustained traumatic head injuries, in nearby Sioux City, Iowa. Coffee roasting is one of their vocational rehab projects. I like being able to support their work, and my guests say that the coffee is excellent. Win-win-win.

    My favorite cafe is Pierce Street Coffee Works, also in Sioux City. I pay no attention to the coffee, but they serve a good chai latte and I LOVE their Nutty Bird Sandwich. (The bird is turkey, the nuts are actually sunflower seeds, and it’s also topped with cranberries and sprouts. Very yummy!) Good art, good atmosphere, good food.

    Eugene, the vision you express for Q Cafe has given me an idea for better serving my own little town of 700 people, which doesn’t have many gathering opportunities outside of school activities. (The closest we come to a coffee shop here is a cappucino machine at the convenience store!) It occurred to me while reading your post that a free Friday night coffee drop-in could be a fun way to get people together and provide some of the “coffee shop” ambience that we lack as a community. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Brian says:

    I have to give a shout out for my favorite local cafe with their own roaster next door. Verve Coffee Roasters ( in Santa Cruz, CA. Excellent coffee and a great place to stop after an early morning surf.

  15. Emily says:

    So I am a barista at the Green Bean non-profit coffee shop in greenwood, and yes, it recently burned down, but the owners of the Greenwood Sip and Ship have generously let us use their cafe space temporarily until we find a new home. Great coffee and community.

    I’m also a fan of Aster Coffee Lounge, which if you like Zoka, you will like Aster. They still have a Clover machine (Zoka got rid of theirs) and its never as crowded as Zoka, AND they serve beer and wine as well as some killer brownies!

    Another great new coffee shop that is trying to make a difference in Seattle is the Street Bean. Located in Belltown, it is the brain child of New Horizons Ministries and provides jobs and training for youth trying to exit street life, while also having a great atmosphere and delicious coffee.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      hi emily,

      glad you guys are back on your feet. qcafe donates 10% of our sales ever month to a different local non-profit and we’re so pleased to support green bean for the month of january. we’re big fans.

  16. vianho says:

    “Fuglen” or nicknamed “kaffefuglen” (translated “the Bird” and/or “the coffee bird”) is my definite favorite coffee place in Oslo, Norway. It’s just one of those places which gives you an absolute amazing atmosphere combined with some of the world greatest coffee. Their focus on quality and not quantity forces them to be observant towards the international coffee marked, which come forth as they serve the best coffee day after day after day.

    It also helps that the whole place is decorated with interior from the sixties, from every cup to the chair and sofa. (And all of it for sale, so if you really love something, you can just bring it with you home!)

    If in Oslo: This is the place to visit. (Ignore the Opera and the Castle for a minute – or at least until you’ve gotten your self a cup of coffee!) (in English!)

  17. Liz says:

    While you can’t deny the beauty of an Americano from the Seattle powerhouses (Zoka, Caffe Vita, Vivace), I also love Muse Coffee on Queen Anne. The quality is of same level as the best of Seattle, but they are also super friendly and the shop has a great atmosphere. I would also encourage everyone to check out the Street Bean–it’s incredible!

  18. Erick says:

    Repin the Twin Cities I’ve gotta give it to Dunn Bros. Coffee, more specifically, the Grand Ave. Dunn Bros. -the original. Top atmosphere, hoppin all day, mellow in the evening, music every night. Roasted fresh daily too, you can’t beat that.

    Next, on the St. Paul side there is a high-end coffee joint “Kopplin’s Coffee”. Small place, INCREDIBLE espresso, and the most impressive machinery I’ve ever seen. The owner, who pulls shots with the rest of his staff personally knows the folks he purchases his beans from, can’t beat that intentionality and connectedness to his suppliers. One more unique piece, when you order a cup of day, it doesn’t come from a big urn/pot…they make each cup of regular black coffee individually, makes that cup pretty special ya know? Ha!

    Third, to shout out to Chicago…”Metropolis” is at the top of my list in all of Chi! A+ for atmosphere, just wish they were open later into the night. Right next to the Lake Michigan shoreline, so the loc is great. Best latte in Chicago!

  19. Josh says:

    I’m a big fan of stumptown as well and love that it’s what is served at Q.

    Living in the south puget sound though, I get to “Cutters Point” in the Oly/Lacey area more than I get up to interbay. They roast a lot of coffee and I think their main roast has a really good, but little bit of a unique flavor to it. Its good in espresso or as a regular cup of drip.

  20. mrwcase says:

    I sort of bounce between the three places:

    State College, PA (Penn State): Saint’s Cafe

    Oakland, CA: Rooz Cafe

    San Francisco, CA: Ritual Coffe Roasters

    Thinking about moving to Seattle if God opens up a ministry job. So maybe Q will be my new fav🙂

  21. Leah says:

    Can’t really weigh in on the coffee roaster as I actually only like a little coffee with my milk and chocolate, but my favorite coffeeshop EVER is Fido’s in Nashville, TN–if you are checking these places out on the web they are part of Nashville’s Bongo Java mini-chain of coffeeshops (there are three but Fido is by far the coolest). Great atmosphere, totally fun place to hang out. And their Irish Setter is pretty much the most fabulous latte ever–all it is is a mocha with irish cream syrup but NOBODY else makes one that tastes as good; I’ve tried ordering it elsewhere and it’s just not the same. I really miss that place.

  22. Jeff Miller says:

    IntelligentiA is still my favorite, love their Black Cat espresso, still remember when they roasted in the original location on Broadway in Chicago, nothing quite like the smell of coffee roasting … their newest location in Venice Beach is a very cool experience and really well designed 3rd place, check it out if ever near there … in our new Logan Square neighborhood there are also a couple, Ipsento and New Wave, that we enjoy walking to and hanging out at (when you coming by Eugene?)

  23. Michael Muto says:

    Stumptown is undoubtedly the best in Portland, but did you know they got their start roasting from Lighthouse Coffee Roasters in Seattle? They are another great roaster and cafe. Now that I’m in Milwaukee, we found a great small batch roaster called Anodyne. Matt has a great instinct for bringing out what is best in the bean. They also train their baristas well!


  24. Margaret says:

    The Flying M in Boise, Idaho, will always have a soft spot in my heart. The walls are always covered with neat art from local artists, and there are great comfy couches for hanging out until the wee hours of the morning.

    Also, for my fellow non-coffee drinkers, the Mad Hat Tea Company in downtown Tacoma is fantastic. They serve kind of tea you could ever imagine, and then some. And the proprietors are so welcoming and friendly, you walk out feeling you’ve made a new friend for life.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found a favorite cafe in my “new” hometown of Los Angeles (only been here a couple of days) But I’m already looking…

  25. Wayne Cox says:

    From the midwest – gotta give a little love to Alliance World Coffees in Muncie, Indiana. Great roaster and a great “story” behind what they do – roasting coffee to fund church plants and mission-training. And did I say, great coffee!

  26. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, PostRank – Church. PostRank – Church said: your favorite cafe and coffee roaster? #postrank #church […]

  27. the q cafe is my favorite. i have traveled all over and gone to lots of cafes, but the q cafe is something special. lots of great memories/relationships/conversations/even an overwhelming encounter with God that scared me and my friend so much we ran out of there. which was a very strange response, but we had to. and the art! it’s just such a warm place.

    and even though I love coffee i dont really know/understand what makes good coffee good or bad coffee bad (except that I just hate starbucks coffee, it’s just so convenient that I can’t help but go there). someone teach me. I understand good drinks and bad drinks, but not the coffee itself. oh well. it’s easier for me to love it all.😉

  28. steph says:

    Zingerman’s coffee here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a hometown company that roasts amazing coffee!
    My husband just discovered the new Dunkin Donuts across town. (we were previously ridden with just Tim Hortons). He’s willing to drive across town for their coffee. (across town = 15 minutes = far).

  29. tumi says:

    A good place for coffee is the Nescafe in Rosebank, Jo’burg (South Africa). It has a vibrant atmosphere and they bake some of the best chocolate muffins in the area.

  30. rebecca says:

    One day in the late 1980’s I walked into a cafe called The Coffee Connection in Harvard Square (Cambridge MA) with some friends – not being a coffee drinker myself at that time. I was hit by this luscious, wonderful, delicious smell (and taste) of coffee that I had never experienced before. It was life changing as I am now a “snobby” coffee fanatic per my friends. Sadly Coffee Connection was sold to Starbucks in the mid-90’s but it’s owner, George Howell started roasting again (George Howell Coffee / Terroir Coffee) and I have been making his coffee at home since 2005. A bunch of cafe’s in the Boston area brew his coffee and espresso – Taste Cafe, Crema, SIP, True Grounds, etc etc – yum.

    Another favorite Monmouth Coffee Roasters – a must visit if you are in London.

  31. Big Bear says:

    I love to sit there and dunk donuts to auto insurance olympia Vern Fonks site and watch the
    best commercials ever. Nothing beats that with a cup o joe. The perfect place for that.

  32. matt says:

    I love the Q! I had a great time out there this summer and can’t thank you guys enough. But seriously, your space is amazing, your people rock, you passion for great coffee, and a desire to love others at the same time!
    I also really enjoyed visiting Bauhaus, Stumptown,and Seattle Coffee Works up there in the NW!

  33. […] Lent season. Trust me, for someone that runs a cafe and has his offices in a cafe and has access to free Stumptown coffee whenever I want, this will certainly be a “test” of […]

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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