Seattle and coffee go together like…oh, a horse & carriage, don’t they?
But around town, I’m seeing more Tully’s and Seattle’s Best coffee shops than Starbucks.
I’ve always thought Starbucks coffee tasted burnt. Over-roasted.
This week I’ve discovered the balanced, smooth, strong flavor of Starbucks Kona coffee. In fact, my fabulous husband just walked in with a couple of cups to start our morning.
At $22 a bag, I won’t be buying it for home brew. But I can buy a cup for $2.25 here and it’s delish.
Kona coffee is grown on only a 20-mile swath of land in Hawaii, and by small growers. Which is why it’s so costly. But if you haven’t tasted the rich flavor, you’re definitely missing out. If you see it by the cup, take a chance. Because most of us would have to break into our 401Ks to afford an entire bag.
Here’s a weird thing: Kona by the cup is offered only in Tall and Grande sizes. But each time we’ve ordered, they ask if we mind if they put it in a Venti cup. (Do we mind getting a Venti Kona for the cost of a Grande? Duh…) Maybe it’s a way to get us hooked, like over-loading cigarettes with nicotine.
I’ve never noticed this by-the-cup goodness offered in California and Florida Starbucks. But now that I have, it’s really the only Starbucks coffee I can drink straight, without disguising it in a Mocha.
Coffee shops have become our “third places,” I’ve read. Not home, not work, but a third place we commonly hang out.
Most coffee shops close early. I guess they’ve become daytime hangouts only and I’m not sure why. Back in beatnik times, coffee houses were destinations for late night poetry readings. These days, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a coffee shop open past 7pm.
Since I’m not a big cocktailer, I like the idea of going out late for coffee, but it’s not easy to find a place that’s open. There must be other people like me, who aren’t kept awake by caffeine and who like the idea of sitting late at a coffee house.
The other thing that the big corporate coffee chains don’t do is host local talent: poets, musicians, actors. Seems to me that would boost evening clientele, and revenues. Today’s coffee shops are becoming more like Automats than places with individual personalities that reflect their neighborhoods.
The other night, when we were craving a little something, Starbucks was the only city center Seattle coffee shop we could find still open at 8pm, and they were sweeping up.
What would it take to start a movement to encourage evening hours and funky entertainment for today’s coffee shops?