Friday, June 25, 2010

Seattle's Coffee Culture

In Seattle, coffee is King, and it's sold everywhere: in roadside stands, out of window cafés that line the sidewalks, at gas station drive-thrus, and yes, in Starbucks. Lots and lots of Starbucks, but also Seattle's Best, Tully's, Specialty's Café and Bakery, (their cinnamon and sugar morning bread is to die is their café au lait), and countless other independent and chain establishments. Coffee might have originated in Ethiopia, but its ubiquitous use was surely perfected in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, I heard the term "coffee culture" used multiple times during my visit to Seattle, and soon learned that the culture is contagious. This special-occasion coffee drinker (read: weekends, after dinner in Paris, particularly rough Mondays) found herself rushing out every morning to get the first caffeine fix of the day. It was more than just a desire to drink coffee, it was a need. I had to have it! I didn't realize how sucked in I had become until my last day in Seattle when I somehow managed to pull myself out of a coffee craving long enough to remember how I normally function just find without chain-drinking cups of joe. Why was I so obsessed with it now? Oh. Right. Coffee culture.

Did Seattle's coffee culture begin with the creation of the first Starbucks, which opened in 1971 across from Seattle's famed Pike Place Market? Does it have anything to do with the region's cool, rainy weather and its accompanying desire for warm, comforting beverages? Or is it due to something else entirely?  If you're from Seattle and you have the answer, please share!

1 comment:

Zhu said...

I assume that Seattle has THE coffee culture but as a French, I was surprised to see N. America had a coffee culture at all! And I must say pastries are sometimes better than in France.