“Until the day arrived on which I was to entertain my newly-found old friends, I lived principally on Dora and coffee”
Charles Dickens, from David Copperfield
NOTE: Back from the dead! I had to temporarily take a break from blogging to plan an out-of-state wedding. And move. And get married. After settling into married bliss, I am ready to jump back into the Seattle Coffee project.
Coffee is a part of many people’s morning rituals, but sometimes it is not just the coffee. It is that particular coffee shop you go to, the baristas who know your name, and that seven-word drink you don’t feel ashamed to order because your barista likes you.
Bustle was part of my morning ritual when I first moved to Seattle, a place that helped change the city from a strange, sprawling maze, to something more like home.
In the fall of 2012 I moved to Seattle and knew almost no one. Bustle Caffé was located near my new temp job and it opened at 5:30am. I had delusions of getting there when they opened, sitting at a table, and pounding out the first draft of an eventual best selling steampunk novel for NaNoWriMo.
Everyday I arrived (usually at a non-delusional 6:30am), bleary eyed, to do my daily word quota while sipping on a Bourbon Apple Pie Latte. Slowly the baristas began to learn my name, and tease me when I arrived ‘late’. My November ended and I didn’t win at NaNoWriMo, but I kept coming to Bustle to write before work. When you are alone in a big city, feeling connected, even in little ways, means a lot.
I got to know Patrick McNerthey and Jimmy Curran, the two men who run Bustle. Jimmy and Patrick met while working at Uptown Espresso. Jimmy was playing in the Seattle-based indie rock band The Divorce, and Patrick was trying out for a job in Fire service. They had joked about opening their own place, but both left Uptown to pursue other non-coffee related careers. A few years later, Patrick decided to try opening up a place of his own. He called Jimmy and asked him to make that old joke a reality.
I asked Jimmy and Patrick what is the best thing about their work, and they both agree it is their staff. “We work really hard making sure that everyone who works here gets along. It’s awesome.” Said Jimmy.
Bustle has changed a lot since I first came. They now have a small kitchen to accommodate hot sandwiches, new espresso drinks, and seasonal drink flavors (like cardamom caramel, yum!).
When I arrived in Seattle, the city was a stranger to me. I’ve starting putting down roots here, still young, but growing. I haven’t finished that novel yet, but I have made friends, and even fell in love and got married. I am creating new memories and rituals. Still, it is nice to stop at Bustle when I can, and remember the time when making the trek at 6:30am was not just for the coffee, but for the comfort of going where someone knew my name.
If you have a Bustle story to share, or any recommendations for the next blog, let me know!
Interviews with Patrick McNerthey and Jimmy Curran