How This All Started


“Some philosopher, and he must have been one of the greatest, once said that the best thing about coffee was that it was always suitable under all circumstances and at all times of day.” – Theodor Fontane, from Trials and Tribulations

This is a blog about coffee that started over a cup of tea.

About a year ago I was sitting and drinking chai with my friend Ira. She had moved to the US after her marriage, so this was real Indian chai: black tea and sugar boiled in a mixture of water and milk.

We talked about how these visits were coming to an end. I was moving 2,000 miles away to Seattle, a city I had never been to, to chase after a grad school program. I told her things I had found out about my new home.  It rained there a lot, but I would probably never have another 106 degree summer. Ira told me about a program she had seen about Seattle, and that there were 1,640 coffee shops there. I jokingly said I would visit them all. I would have the time, since I knew almost no one there, and I didn’t have a job yet.

A few days later I packed up my little Nissan Sentra and drove 2,000 miles across the country. Relatives let me stay, rent-free, in their spare bedroom while I looked for work. I spent hours holed up in that little room, staring at Craigslist and, starting to go stir crazy. I decided to take all this extra time and work on my writing.  I also decided to force myself to leave the house so I could get to know this new city. I looked up coffee shops in Seattle, starting with places that had free parking lots. Another thing to get used to.

This project began simply with pictures of my coffee cups from different coffee shops. But something this ambitious deserves more than the occasional Instagram on Facebook. So I am going to start over, exploring Seattle’s coffee scene on this blog.

Some parameters:

I am not going to visit every Starbucks and Tully’s. The point of chains like that is consistency, so I’ll stick to one visit per chain, unless someone knows of a particularly amazing location that I just have to see.

And no bikini barista stands. Just. No.

Also, I am not a coffee expert. I did my time as a Barista, but I could not tell you the different flavor profiles of Sumatran beans compared to Guatemalan. I do plan on learning more as the project continues, and share that knowledge. And probably add useless historical facts when I can.

One last thing: I have lots of resources (Yelp, Urban Spoon, yellow pages), but I am sure there are places that slip through the cracks. If you have any coffee shop suggestions to add to my list, please let me know.



6 thoughts on “How This All Started

  1. Well since you’re there and only one visit per chain then you of course have to document the dog and pony show that is the original Starbucks at Pike Place.

  2. Well, in your research you’ll certainly come across the fact that the so called “original Starbucks at Pike Place” is not the original one, which doesn’t exist anymore. I’m also sure you’ll come across the most respected and innovative coffee shops in the specialty coffee community, so I’m looking forward to learn about your journey! (But I won’t resist sharing my top 20 must see list if you ask 😉

    • Hi Maria!
      I did read about that Starbucks, how funny that Seattle icon is not exactly what we all think it is. And I would love to know your top 20, please do share!

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