Northwest Coffee: Just what SLU ordered


Saint Louis University students are just 2 blocks and $2 away from a great cup of ethically, sourced coffee. St. Louis native, Jason Wilson, runs the Northwest (NW) Coffee Roasting’s café on Laclede Avenue. NW Coffee Roasting specializes in high end coffee that is roasted only in small batches.

Roasting takes place at the café every Tuesday and Friday.  Jason says these days can actually draw a bit of a crowd from coffee enthusiasts who value and appreciate the “full city,” meaning medium roast, that NW Coffee has been specializing in since 1992 — making it one of the smallest, and oldest coffee shops in St. Louis. In fact, the original owner moved from Seattle in order to open the café, hoping to beat Starbucks to the St. Louis market. While he succeeded, Starbucks has still gained its fair share of fans, not to mention a prime location on campus.

The truth is good coffee can be found in a lot of places nowadays, with national and international chains, as well as more eclectic cafes opening every year.

It is not just the FTO, or Fair Trade and Organic coffee that sets NW Coffee apart, then, but its atmosphere instead. The café is actually a former nursery garage. From the sidewalk, the café looks as though it were teleported from Denver, Colorado. There is nothing fancy about it. A simple concrete walkway and stones lead customers through an extended, covered patio, which will soon be renovated to include a screened-in portion and new roofing.

Although some SLU students work as employees at Northwest Coffee, the clientele is just as varied as the coffee options. An elderly couple, and what appeared to be a college study group, sat at neighboring tables. The line was nearly out the door, but the service was quick. What’s more, you do not have to be a newspaper reporter to have a cup of coffee with the café owner. Jason said the best part of being in the coffee business is the instant gratification he can visibly see his customers enjoy. A St. Louis native, Jason also owns another Northwest Coffee location in Clayton, and splits his time between the two cafes. Customers will soon have all the more reason to be pleased when food options are introduced at the end of the month. One of the options, steamed eggs, will be made using the espresso machine.

If you are looking for a quick shot of caffeine, visit the nearest dining hall; but, if you have a few extra minutes, and want a change of scenery, a great experience is awaiting you less than a 10 minute walk from the clock tower. Ask for Jason, and a fresh cup of coffee.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email