Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing: Cup o' Joe Mondays

Chai latte, 15th Ave Coffee & Tea

On my last run, I probably passed at least two dozen coffeeshops in the course of my hour and a half out - and an idea that's been percolating in my head transformed itself into something I can no longer imagine not doing.

Sunday morning solitude and sunrise over Seattle

Once a week, I will try out a new Seattle coffeeshop I've never been to before and blog about it here. Hence: Cup o' Joe Mondays. Expect an entry every Monday from now until I get sensible and stop shelling out big bucks for overpriced beverages, complete with photos and reviews on the atmosphere, the amenities, the coffee itself...

I'm sure it's been done before, but...not by me! So, dear readers, we'll kill two birds with one stone - give you a feel for the multifaceted coffee atmosphere of Seattle, and get me out into new neighborhoods and learn my way around. So, for my first Cup o' Joe Monday...

My Starbucks > Your Starbucks

"Inspired by Starbucks" is a bit of a stretch of the truth. It is a Starbucks...just a carefully revamped one to battle the rage of the local-coffee-enthusiasts who shun all things corporate. Despite an incredible marketing plan and beautiful interior decor, many of the locals still all but spit on the place as they pass it on the street. Starbucks has an odd presence in this city; it's everywhere, but generally despised, with greater anathema than anywhere I've been before.

Sliding sales in the ailing economy caused this particular Starbucks to close down and revamp its entire atmosphere, in hopes of reclaiming some of the local clientele so devoted to independently owned coffeehouses on Capitol Hill. It reopened as "15th Avenue Coffee & Tea" a week after I got to Seattle. The espresso menu is still the same, but they also boast a bunch of full-leaf teas, bottled local microbrews and fun snacks like cheese and salmon plates. One wall is entirely wallpapered in pages of Socratic dialogues, another in huge stunning photos and paintings in wooden frames...the place has a very rustic cabin type feel, with big wood tables, vases of fresh unusual flowers, light displays made of clothespins, chalkboard menus and ceramic bowls full of coffee beans and tea leaves.

An incredibly friendly bunch of baristas, decent music to work to, free wireless you can pick up from the neighbors (Starbucks itself uses AT&T wi-fi, which costs $$), little molasses cookies for all, an outdoor terrace when the weather's nice and complementary coffee or tea tastings every day at 10 a.m.!


  1. Espresso Vivace on Broadway. Just get a straight espresso. The best I've ever had, and that includes Italy. Plus, they sell Mighty-O vegan donuts! Also, btw, my friend Kat will be starting work at Kaplan in a few weeks. She's been playing in the quartet with Ellen on the Alaskan cruise ship, so look out for her, she's a whole lotta fun!

  2. over in the international district is a not-quite coffeeshop that i think you'd get a kick out of - it's called 'unicorn crepes' and specializes in the japanese twist on crepes, which range from sweet desserts to essentially sandwiches in crepe form. best of all, with every order you get a free cup of coffee or chai, and i can vouch for the chai being pretty damn tasty. also there is a tv that constantly plays cutesy japanese music videos.

  3. HEY! This is Kelly... I just found your blog, so I thought I would say hi. I hope everything is going well and Seattle is amazing!

  4. hahahah I just realized you already have my blog name!