Sawyer

The video is best for people who know nothing about coffee. Somehow I already knew everything in this video and most experienced coffee lovers will too.

It's neat to see good video of the coffee plantations and the washing process. Also seeing the original entrepreneurs like the Starbucks history, Peets, and hear them tell it was original and authentic.

But everything else was pretty introductory. They use arabica, not rubusta, pick the red cherries, the story of the discovery of coffee in Ethiopia, how fair trade came about, organic practices, etc. It seemed kind of long to take 3 hours to cover that info but maybe that's just my ADD.

You could probably read the Wikipedia article on coffee in ten minutes and learn the same amount.

I would have liked to see coverage of roasting. And I don't know when it was made but it seems dated and doesn't cover the new pour-over and light roast trends.

If you're new to coffee this video is a great 3 hours. If you're not new to coffee at least it has video footage and interviews with the 1st wave entrepreneurs.

Sawyer

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Cafe Du Monde coffee is roasted and packaged by Reily for Cafe Du Monde. It's a private label job. CDM is their (Reily's) in-house brand. So they're both the same company. Not sure how the flavors compare.

I'm not sure what the difference is, but I've seen the tin cans in Rouses, Walmart, Walgreens on Canal and Carrolton, and Winn-Dixie. I've even bought them a few times!

However, I enjoy French Market more so I tend to block everything else out at this point. I really need a cup of coffee to get into gear in the morning. It is the only way that I can get in harmony with my tasks and feel like I have a grip on things.

I think that it is really just a matter of perspective since I am one that puts high emphasis on things that make me happy. This is definitely one of them since it lets me get things done. A lot of people try and tell me that it is in my head. But I understand how caffeine works so they can't really tell me it is a placebo effect.

There are so many things you can learn about coffee, and the way it is made. I was cold brewing for a long time. And I can tell you, the effect the coffee has on me when it was cold brewed is different when it has cooked.

Everyones tastes vary.

Sawyer

I'll take a stab at answering this question for you. The "how" is much easier than the "why," but I'll give you what I can for both.

The best source on the history of coffee is Mark Pendergrast's Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.

I've also drawn on this 2010 article by Seattle Magazine's Sara Dickerman, the Burke Museum's 2009 coffee exhibit, this 1993 Seattle Times article by Sherry Stripling, this 2003 story in Pacific Northwest Magazine by Julia Sommerfeld, Seattle Emergency Espresso: The Insider's Guide to Neighborhood Coffee Spots by Heather Doran Barbieri, and "Seattle Coffeehouses during the 'Folk Revival' of the 1960s" by Don Firth.

If you don't want my words, here's the first chapter of the first edition of Uncommon Grounds.

You really should read the whole thing if you're interested in coffee. Here's a great timeline of Seattle coffee history, created in 2010 by Seattle Magazine.

Let's set the scene. It's early 1960s, and all Americans drink coffee.

Well, most of them at least. As early as the 1930s, a study found that 98 percent of American families were coffee drinkers — including 15 percent of children between 6 and 16 years of age and 4 percent of children under 6. The trouble was, most of what they were drinking was crap. Coffee was an early adopter of the mass-marketed, mass-produced food program. Beans were roasted, ground and boiled the same way across the country. As coffee companies merged and acquired each other, they competed on price — coffee was ubiquitous, and everyone drank the same black brew, so the only way to compete was by offering the cheapest stuff possible. After World War II, "coffee was perceived as an old-fashioned drink of the older generation, of businessmen and gossiping housewives," Pendergrast writes.

That started to change in the late 1950s and the early 1960s with the early sprigs of counterculture. Young adults were looking for something different than what their parents drank, and they turned to the beatnik coffee scene, which was inspired by European coffeehouses. In Seattle, the first of these is believed to be Café Encore, which was opened by Rusty Thomas in 1958 on upper University Way.

Others followed: The Place Next Door in 1959, The El Matador in 1960 (Yeah, they knew it was redundant — that was the joke), Pamir House, The Eigerwand, and others. From Seattle historian Walt Crowley, who hung out at the Eigerwand:

"Going to a coffeehouse was a statement. You weren't hanging out at Dick's or Burger Master with the muscle-car guys after the football game or at the soda fountain like the glee club. It was about rebelling and smoking with eclectic, potentially dangerous people."

University Way, known among locals as "The Ave." was the hotspot for Seattle counterculture. In 1965, the University of Washington welcomed a record Baby Boom enrollment of 26,000 students, and Seattle's newspapers lambasted The Ave.'s look and feel. They thought it another skid row, full of deadbeats and lowlifes.

It was also full of coffee houses.

The counterculture movement wasn't limited to Seattle, of course. Down in the Bay Area and out in New York City, there were all kinds of coffeehouses that doubled as music venues and places to gather away from the typical bar scene.

In California, Alfred Peet was laid off from his job at E.A. Johnson, a coffee importer for big roasters. Seeing the growth in these specialty coffeehouses, he decided to go into business for himself. On April 1, 1966, he opened Peet's Coffee & Tea on the corner of Vine and Walnut streets in Berkeley.

His home-roasted Columbian beans were a smash. He was marketing by the bag, through word of mouth, and in an era when Folger's and Hills Brothers ruled, his was the business that took off among hippies looking for the European flavor. (There were others before Peet, but his was the business that took off.)

Now, let's fast-forward through the late 1960s and the regulation changes that made importing coffee easier.

While ... General Foods, Procter & Gamble, Nestle and Jacobs fought for world supremacy in mass-marketed canned coffee, a renewed quest for quality was spearheaded by disaffected baby boomers. Many of them had hitchhiked through Europe or had been stationed there while serving in the military, and they had discovered the joys of espresso, specialty coffee shops and the cafe. ... Many had been directly inspired by a pilgrimage to Berkeley to inhale the atmosphere at Peet's.

Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker and Zev Siegel were three Seattle college students among this crowd. They had traveled through Europe together and landed back in Seattle together when they began working. Bowker occasionally drove to Vancouver for beans, and in 1970 it occurred to him that Seattle needed a place that sold good beans. He went into partnership with his friends, and Siegel convinced Peet to sell him the beans. They would start a small, quality roasting business in Seattle. That business was Starbucks.

Now, there were a lot of coffee shops in Seattle already, but beans were the real turning point. In 1971, the same year that Starbucks started selling beans in Pike Place Market, Jim Stewart opened Wet Whisker roastery and ice cream shop on Pier 70. It would later become Seattle’s Best Coffee. Joe Kittay opened The Good Coffee company, and as of 2010 he was still roasting beans in a humble Post Alley store.

At the same time as the bean companies started taking off, Kent Bakke began bringing La Marzocco espresso and cappuccino machines to Seattle from Italy. They weren't a hit. "They'd say, 'Ess-what? Oh, that nasty Italian stuff,' " he recalled. "It took about a year to sell the first machine."

Seattle's coffee culture grew through the 1980s. Zev Siegl left Starbucks, but the company continued to grow. It was the largest roaster in Washington when Siegel left, with all of six stores. (It had left the Market after the first year.) In 1982, Starbucks hired Howard Schultz, a new York salesman, as its new marketing chief. The following year, Schultz traveled to a housewares show in Milan, Italy, and was introduced to special coffee drinks. He was convinced that things like the latte, espresso and cappuccino were the way to go.

The owners of Starbucks weren't convinced, so Schultz started Il Giornale, a coffeehouse named after Italy's biggest newspaper. The new store was an instant hit when it opened in April 1986. Bakke's sales started to soar.

The following year, the founders of Starbucks were ready to cash out. Schultz bought Starbucks and abandoned the Il Giornale brand for the old company's name. He created a new brand and vowed to open 125 outlets in the following 5 years.

From there, Starbucks exploded. Following its IPO in 1992, Starbucks grew to 165 stores in 1992, 272 in 1993 and 425 in 1994. (I'll stop there, since that's our 20-year limit, and you know what happens next.)

So why did it happen in Seattle and not the Bay Area? To some extent, it did. Some of the founding members of Starbucks ended up buying Peet's, and you can still find Peet's across the country.

For me, I'd argue that Seattle provided a cradle for coffee to take off in the 1970s and 1980s — you had a combination of the expertise, beans, interest and drive all in the same place. Why did it then grow? You'd have to ask a sociologist about that. Maybe it's because Americans felt they deserved a little luxury. Perhaps it was part of the Yuppie effect. Perhaps it was all or none of this.

I highly recommend anyone visiting Seattle and interested in coffee culture to visit Cafe Allegro. It's really the last of the original counter-culture coffee shops.

They describe themselves as a "living-room-away-from-living-room" and I think this is exactly what Seattle-ites like about coffee. The recent fetishization of pour-over coffees is just an ancillary byproduct. You can blame that one on Portland.