Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

If you think coffee culture is cool, you have come to the right place. I have loads of information and opinions to share about espresso in the Pacific Northwest, especially the drive-through phenomenon.

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Location: Edmonds, WA, United States

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Coffee stuffing anyone?

Ok, I was really hoping to find a stuffing recipe for the ol' turkey tomorrow that included coffee beans. No such luck.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pre-Cowgirls sexpresso and all that

This is a rather mundane photo (which is one reason it doesn't appear in Driven to Espresso) of a mundane little stand in Monroe. It even had a mundane name: Northwest Coffee Company.

Today it is painted white with black blobby spots, resembling a cow, more or less. It is now called Cowgirls Espresso. The paint job is meant to resemble cows, not girls. I'm pretty sure of that.

Anyway, if that weren't a turnaround enough, the baristas wear sexy outfits. As a matter of fact, one of the Cowgirls themselves appears in the book, and also one of the Cowgirls stands, although not this particular one. The one in the book is in Auburn and is shaped like a coffee pot. The stand, not the barista, that is. No, she doesn't look anything like a coffee pot at all.

Java Jigglers limo

Here is a limo I found in Ellensburg. I believe the barista told me the limo is used to drive the bikini-wearing baristas around town. No comment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To caf or not to caf

Do you drink decaf? According to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, the number of decaf drinkers are increasing. The decaf "community" represents a segment of the market that is almost "too taboo to discuss in public." The increase in numbers, not surprisingly, has a correlation to the increase in an older population--ie, the baby boomers--who traditionally have been decaf drinkers.

One of the surprising statistics they include is that "roughly 70% of all decaffeinated coffee is consumed in the morning." I think of the morning as the time for high-octane consumption. But according to this article, Starbucks announced that they will not brew decaf past noon, unless requested by a customer. I recently read that some restaurants really don't brew regular coffee in the evening and even if you don't ask for decaf, you may get it anyway. But that is solely because they are winding down and it represents less work for them at the end of the day. Apparently restaurants have their little secrets.

This same article points out one of my wife's biggest disappointments that there isn't a great choice when it comes to decaf. You simply can't get the kind of origins and roasts that regular-coffee drinkers have. But times may change! The industry is starting to pick up on the demands of an increasing demographic.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The money trickles down eventually

I finally received a small check from my distributor. The warehouses that buy from my distributor are traditionally (that term makes is sound sort of nice) slow payers. Now that they're starting to pay bills from June/July, I am finally getting to see some green.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pastor down on sexpresso

The controversy over sexpresso continues. Now there is a church pastor who encourages citizens to monitor drive-throughs - the ones whose baristas wear small outfits of various types - and report when a car or truck marked with a business name stops for a coffee there. These reports wind up on the pastor's website under the label Do not support.

Eesh! There are so many things wrong with that. There is a pretty good story about it on KOMO's website..

Driven to Espresso in Eureka Times-Standard

Great news! I am thrilled with the article in the Eureka Times-Standard that ran yesterday. Heather Shelton, Lifestyle Editor, interviewed me through email and wrote a very nice, long article. I'm sure the two espresso stands (Gold Rush Coffee and Jitter Bean Coffee) in Eureka that are featured in the book, and mentioned in the article, are equally pleased. At least one of them is currently selling the book at their shop.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Locating the book's drive-throughs

Here is a map that shows the approximate locations of each drive-through that is in Driven to Espresso. As you can plainly see, the majority are in the Puget Sound region. Admitedly, I spent the most amount of time in and around my own "backyard" which is the real reason for this, but I want to go on record as saying that Portland and Spokane, especially, have way more drive-throughs than what you might guess from this map or the book, and in fact, I actually visited and photographed many of them. There were several reasons for limiting the size of the book, but not having enough espresso stands to choose from was not one of them.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Book signing event this Thursday

Please join me at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Northgate Mall in Seattle this Thursday, November 12, between 3 and 6 pm, where I will explain why I published Driven to Espresso and share some of the interesting stories I learned in my research and travels.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Another indy bookstore folds??!!

My sincerest condolences to the owner and employees at Bailey-Coy Books on Broadway, Seattle. It is, unfortunately, another of a long, long string of independent bookstore closures. My take on this is that it is a result of the economy, the prevalence of online reading, and overbearing presence of big-box bookstores. I don't believe people are reading less. And although I list it as a factor, the present economy cannot be blamed as a major factor. Read this article in the Librarian and Information Science News, dated 2005!

Scheduling events now

Call or email me now to schedule a speaking or signing engagement. I have an interesting story to tell to camera clubs, architects, coffee enthusiasts, or self-publisher-wannabes.