Monday, May 4, 2009

Seattle: A dream come true

As a coffee fanatic with some vacation time, I decided that I should at some point make my way to the Pacific Northwest. Much like a pilgrimage, I felt it was my duty to voyage west to see if the hype was real. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that the hype about coffee superiority and the Pacific Northwest is true. I am not saying that it is impossible to find delicious well-made coffee here in Boston. However, I am saying that the coffee experiences that I had over the course of five days in Seattle were consistently better quality than coffee experiences here in the Boston area.

If you read the last post you will understand my position regarding the push-button barista phenomenon that is sweeping coffee establishments far and wide. In Seattle, however, I did not witness one such barista. I did not even see a push-button barista at the Starbucks stores that I visited. The baristas in Seattle appeared to take their duties quite seriously. They knew what they were doing and had clearly experiences pulling good quality consistent shots.

Seattle is truly a coffee lovers dream. I would be completely content living there is I could pick up my entire family and my job and relocate everything there. I discovered that the coffee culture in Seattle is what drives the quality to higher levels. There are so many good quality coffee houses in such a small area that to be competitive it is critical that each establishment offer the highest quality product possible. The lower quality coffee houses won’t survive because of the availability of other higher quality options. That said, I have to say that every coffee I drank while in Seattle was absolutely wonderful. Were they delicious because I was in coffee country? I doubt it. I subscribe to the theory of demand for good coffee keeps out the lower performing companies. If we could translate that to Boston, I’d be all set. Tune in tomorrow for a play by play of my coffee crawl: Pacific Northwest.

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