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If you spend any time in West Seattle, chances are you have dropped by Hotwire Online Coffeehouse.

Hotwire Coffee is, I believe, the last Seattle online coffeehouse that provides computers for customers to use to get online and print.

While providing exceptional coffee and service is more a core part of their business, helping people also stay connected with free wifi and computer access is an added-value service that they have been doing over eleven years.

“We opened on September 4, 2002, and we’ve been part of the West Seattle community ever since.  We’ve enjoyed every second of it,” said Lora Swift, owner of Hotwire Coffee.

west seattle coffeeshopsLora, who is originally from England and lived in Italy for a time, has spent years developing the type of community space so common in Europe where friendships can grow and develop.

“People are so fractured that we don’t have the place that we can take a breather and get to know each other at a level that is deeper than we are accustomed to… so I opened up a coffee shop with the hope that I can bring a little bit of soul and center to the community and I hope that is what I accomplished over the last 11 years,” Lora said.

Some beautiful things come in small packages.

Hotwire Online Coffeehouse is only 350 square feet. Put in a coffee bar, and 4 internet-accessible computers, 2 hookups and an espresso machine – it can be an intimate space.

But that's what makes it work!

“It promotes conversation as the customer becomes a part of the experience.  People are fascinated with the whole process of making a cup of coffee. They can see how we’re pulling the shots or steaming the milk. Because (Hotwire Coffeehouse) so small, it promotes a lot of engaging conversations,” Lora added.

Staying Innovative With Coffee and Service

Lora also incorporated “Text Wire” where customers can text their drink and pick it up without having to stand inline. (We discuss this very cool business idea in the podcast).

Later this fall, Hotwire Coffeehouse will become Seattle’s from Helio coffee bar as well, where customers can get a shot of espresso and full-spectrum light for their Vitamin D.

The Helio lights will help combat SAD – Seasonable Affective Disorder.

Community is at the Core of Hotwire Coffehouse

Lora emphasizes her vision for her coffeehouse: creating a space for community to develop.

With many loyal customers that have stayed and grown of the years, there is no question, she has been successful.

“We’ve had romances and friendship bloom. People have come into the café and develop friendships. They’re not just customers, they become friends of mine. But more importantly they’ve become friends of each other,” Lora added.

Listen to the podcast here:


seattle coffee podcast


Get more information on Texting your Coffee order to Hotwire Coffeeehouse here.

Also mentioned in the podcast – Lora has a Social Media Marketing business as well! Visit her website at

Hotwire Online Coffeehouse Address:
4410 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA

Hotwire Online Coffeehouse

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Hotwire Online Coffeehouse 47.564528, -122.386771

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