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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another great review

I have to admit, it's pretty exciting to read a book review of your own book. Here's one that appears today in The Stranger's webpage for reviews:

"Will in Seattle Gets Driven to Espresso

"Naturally, the preface of Driven to Espresso does include a small amount on bikini espresso stands, but, for the most part, it's a picture book about espresso coffee stands in the Northwest. Some—are interesting! Some—are vacant (, literally.)

"This would make a wonderful gift for someone who doesn't live in the Northwest but who thinks coffee is cool. Or someone who misses fishing shacks."

--by Will in Seattle

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Suddenly texting on mobile phones in cars sounds okay

About four years ago, Nespresso was showing a conceptual rendering of what they called InCar, an espresso maker for your car. Designed by students for a design contest they hold each year, it was a machine designed to fit into the center console of a car and double as an armrest. And you thought having a cup-holder or two was a huge convenience.

You should check out that design website, though, because there are some simply amazing designs for coffee makers. I mean really amazing!

I am happy to report that they are not developing the InCar product, and frankly, I hope they never do. If you think texting on a cell phone is a little too distracting for a driver, can you imagine operating an espresso maker? Actually, I can imagine it, but it is not a pretty picture; images of hyper-caffeine-induced chaos on the freeway, little tiny cups flying around, foamed milk spattering everywhere.

I really think drive-through coffee stands are as convenient as things need to be.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Before and after of cover shot

I thought readers, especially photographers, might be interested in seeing one of the images from Driven to Espresso in a before-after comparison. The first one is just the raw scan from the negative. The second one has had some clean-up work done, as well as dodging and burning, tonal adjustments, and cropping. But most noticeably I added a color tint so it worked with the coffee color of the cover, and the steam was added above the spout. I didn't feel unjustified in adding the steam, because the owner of the stand told me that the stand is rigged to emit steam, it just wasn't turned on when I shot the photo.

This is the entire image; the cover layout has it cropped in a little. If you look below the stand, you'll see a shadow of myself. This was shot just before sunset, and although it gives it a great lighting effect, shooting around sunset or sunrise always presents the photographer the challenge of not casting his shadow upon the subject.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

How to see inside pages of the book on Amazon

I just found out that you can see almost any page of Driven to Espresso from the page for it. Simply click "Search inside this book" over on the left side under the cover image. There will be a new window that pops up where you can browse through some of the pages, but to see other pages, use this new window's "Search inside this book" link, again over on the left side, and type in a keyword that might be inside the book.

For example, type in the name of a city in the Northwest, eg. Tacoma, and if there's a page with that word on it, then that page pops up. This is a good way for someone to see if their favorite drive-through is shown in the book.

Kindle version now available

I just checked and the Kindle version of Driven to Espresso is now available on

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New reviews

I am enjoying the reviews that I receive regularly for Driven to Espresso. I have added several recently, but here is the latest one. It was written by fellow publisher and talented comic artist, Al Tudor, at West Street Enterprises.

“You wouldn't believe what a huge smile was on my face while I was looking through the book. I could just imagine Shirley patiently waiting in the car while you jumped out and stalked your drive-through big game—circling cautiously to find the perfect angle that would capture your unique perspectives (both linear/visual and point of view, not to mention artistic), juxtaposition of type and form, compositional design, and whimsy. I am also very impressed with the quality and depth of your writing, research and knowledge on the subject. But I hope people who buy and read the book don’t see it only as a record of some the many cool, fun, and entertaining structures used in this “significant niche” of the coffee culture. It’s that, of course, but there is so much more. I hope readers will appreciate the beauty you’ve created in each photo and the care you’ve taken with the layout of the book itself.”

—Al Tudor, West Street Enterprises