Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Starbucks new store(s)

As widely reported, Starbucks is opening a handful of new stores. One of these is the renovation of the older University Village location, which is one of the original handful of stores built, re-opening today.

When GoodTimes and I arrived on the scene, there were a few partners inside snapping press photos and a handful of late night workers that kept walking past this sign through the unlocked door only to discover no-one behind the bar taking drink orders...

View across the road...

View from the through-glass table...
This table starts outside underneath the awning and has the appearance that it marches right through the window into the store.

Aside from the aesthetics which I'll leave to the architects and interior designers, the store sports some swank looking merch units, pastry cases, 3 of the copper clad mastrena espresso machines, and a Clover station that floats out by itself with a nice complement of coffees.

While this store will doubtless continue to do good business for itself (it's primary traffic is the 24 hr UW study crowd, followed closely by thirsty upscale shoppers), it remains to be seen if this new design can wow fickle shareholders and get coffee drinkers nationwide to loosen the vise grip on their wallets.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mokas Candlelight Cupping

I felt very fortunate to attend the inaugural candlelight cupping at Mokas in S Lake Union tonight. The event was orchestrated by Alex who's been rewriting the coffee program top to bottom in the store. It's held in conjunction with the monthly artwalk and in addition to meeting the cafe's new baker and current exhibit's artist, I also caught Sarah briefly. Visiting from Lincoln's Cultiva was Jon. Those were the coffee players (the event was lightly advertized), so on to the details.

Alex shut the lights and shared some of the inspiration for cupping in the near-dark before describing the mechanics.  It's a strange night here in Seatown- coming off a hot day, strong winds were blowing cool breezes through the space and flickering the candles. For a first out of the gate event, this was a pretty ambitious cupping. If I remember right, 15 coffees hailing at least 7 different roasters, covering all 3 major growing regions were on hand. Everything from a serviceable Sumatra from Vita to the ripe-tomato-y 49th Tanzania to the slap across the chops Vivaces to the Roasters Guild Coffee of the Year was on display. Other than listing the growing region, the coffees were cupped blind with the who's-who revealed at the end. Great job Alex and gang!

Here's looking forward to the next one in July...