[Homeroast] (resending )The Dreaded Starbucks

Joseph Robertson theotherjo at gmail.com
Mon Mar 8 02:55:12 CST 2010


Very nice History Sandy,
Thank you, what a wealth of history and experience being shared here.
Ryan, your getting your $'s worth in an answer here. You came to the right
forum.
JoeR

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 12:30 AM, Sandy Andina <sandraandina at mac.com> wrote:

> I lived in Seattle from 1971-8, when I was in my twenties, and Starbucks
> had yet to become predatory in its practices by the time I moved to Chicago.
> In fact, they didn't even SELL coffee as a beverage--just the ingredients to
> make it.
>
> Far from Seattle being a "coffee town," when I arrived the only coffee on
> the Ave. (University Way) itself was in the donut shop Spudnuts (made in an
> industrial drip urn) and the student-run concession in the Architecture
> building (a "mocha" made from brewed coffee mixed with instant cocoa.
> Blech). For the longest time, the only coffeehouse in the U. District was
> Last Exit on Brooklyn: the home of the funky vibe, open mic, vegetarian
> fare, turbo-chess, and DREADFUL espresso.  (They used to grind a week's
> worth at a time and keep it on the counter in a Saran-Wrap-covered bowl. No
> wonder they did a land-office business in mochas and other flavored
> coffee-milk drinks, most capped with whipped cream).  And they weren't open
> past 9 pm most nights. It wasn't until at least 1975 or 1976 that Cafe
> Allegro opened on the Ave. (and it wasn't easy to find in a little
> rabbit-warren of interior storefronts without a street entrance).  For
> really good beans, and the chance to drink them on-site, you had to go to
> Olive's East in Southcenter Mall or east Bellevue (in a factory and
> auto-shop district). In fact, I think that at the time they may have been a
> larger chain than Starbucks. And I forget the name of the place, but on NE
> Campus Rd., a block n. of my apt. on Pacific & 15th NE, in early 1978 a
> stand-up espresso bar opened between the coin laundry and Ice-Nine
> Xerography.  I remember coming home from a week in the Bay Area in '74,
> seriously jonesing at 9pm on a Saturday night for an espresso or cappuccino.
>  Not even a Pioneer Sq. cafe was open. I had to settle for a flip-drip
> Neapolitan demitasse at the Italian Spaghetti House on Lake City Way.
>  Seattle had yet to become a coffee town until at least 1979 or later.
>
> Starbucks hadn't even spread past Seattle yet. When I left, it had the
> Airport Way roastery, the original store in Pike Place Mkt. (it had a
> competitor in Pike Place Coffee, Tea & Spice, also not a drink vendor), and
> the University Village store.  The first branch outside the PNW was here in
> Chicago, on E. Jackson & S. Wabash in the Loop in 1985, and it was a
> near-flop.
>
> In Seattle, you remember Starbucks becoming predatory, as it later became
> nationwide, and forcing out indie coffeehouses. But it took years before it
> even morphed into a coffeehouse chain--after Schultz returned from Italy in
> the 1980s. And he was such a purist at first that he refused to offer decaf
> or any milk other than whole.
>
>
> On Mar 8, 2010, at 1:16 AM, Kris McN wrote:
>
> > Hey Ryan,
> >
> > As well as what everyone's already said about the quality of their
> product,
> > I have a personal chip on my shoulder about Starbucks.  I grew up in
> Seattle
> > in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Seattle was a coffee town before Starbucks
> > hegemony, a small independent coffee house on most busy blocks.  When
> > Starbucks decided to take over the world, I watched as they would open up
> > one of their shops across the street or kitty corner to an established
> > independent.  Over and over.  Sometimes the independent could hold on,
> but
> > more often than not they  would end up closing.  Sure, some Seattle
> coffee
> > institutions, particularly around the university, outlived the onslaught.
> > This isn't based on any data or anything, but to this pissed off
> teenager,
> > it seemed like Starbucks nearly killed the independent Seattle coffee
> scene
> > for awhile.  I know what they did is probably good business, and maybe in
> > the long run it ended up just weeding out the crappy small purveyors,
> > eventually resulting in a stronger coffee scene, I don't know since I
> don't
> > live in Seattle any longer.  But it was gross and depressing then, and
> > whenever I pass a Starbucks today that would look, feel, and smell
> exactly
> > the same whether in Detroit, Seattle, or London, I mumble a curse.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Kris McN
> > _______________________________________________
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>
> Peace & song,
> Sandy
> www.sandyandina.com
>
>
>
>
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