Coffee Culture

Excellent coffee without the snobbery.

I got to visit Seattle a couple of weekends ago and this is undoubtedly the highlight of its coffee culture. Now Seattle can boast many things: the Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, a thriving food scene, birthplace of grunge music, crazy Seahawk fans.

But without a doubt one of the city’s biggest claims to fame is its coffee. Starbucks Coffee may not be my first choice for java, but they do hold the unique honor of transforming the way the world drinks coffee. Their first store opened in Seattle over 40 years ago and the city has never been the same since.

What’s great about Seattle is that it didn’t just stop with Starbucks. As a city, it has continued to explore and experiment with coffee.  I did my research before the trip and had a long list of shops to check out.  I made to 4 on the list, which isn’t bad considering I only had 3 days in the city.  While no one shop stood out as the best, they all brewed a fantastic cup of coffee, I was most impressed with how friendly the baristas were.

In Southern California we have a growing coffee culture, but a big frustration of mine is the snobbishness found in the majority of these shops.  I even made a chart ranking shops based on attitude.

coffee spectrum

Multiple times in Seattle when I ordered a pour over the barista would chat with me as he/she made my drink.  It was shocking in a way.  In a good way.

Perhaps the friendliness can be accounted for in many ways, but my current theory is that it is the city’s familiarity with coffee that really makes the difference.  Seattle doesn’t have to prove anything.  Coffee is a given in this city.  It isn’t a teenager trying to be liked.  It’s a middle aged person who is at peace with themselves.  They know what they can do well and they don’t have to showboat in order for others to notice.

It was refreshing.

So, here’s to hoping that more coffee shops can take note from their sister shops in Seattle and get over their bad selves.  I’ll drink to that!

jen coffee

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