Seattle’s Bean Scene
by Jason Shrum
If you did not know, Seattle is home to the very first Starbucks ever! Starbucks opened its first store in 1971 in the Pike Place Market, that is located in downtown Seattle. The original Starbucks location decided because the Market is a historic district with design guidelines, that the store retain its original look from the 1970's.
The founding fathers, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker got the idea from Alfred Peet (of Peet's Coffee fame). The store initially sold just coffee beans and coffee making equipment rather than the drinks they have become so famous for. After about 10 years, Howard Schultz was hired as Director of Retail Operations and came to the conclusion that they should be selling drinks, rather than just beans and machines.
However, there is so much more to Seattle coffee than just Starbucks. People in Seattle consume more coffee than in any other American city. An online study, from CoffeeWorks, stated that there are 35 coffee shops per every 100,000 residents; and that Seattleites spend an average of $36 a month on coffee.
With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that there are so many small coffee roasters surviving throughout the city of Seattle. All the roasters that you will find on a Road Dog’s Coffee Tour, also adhere to Fair Trade. Each cup of coffee that you consume helps farmers escape poverty. Most small-scale family farmers live in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen (or brokers) who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Fair Trade guarantees farmers a minimum price, and links farmers directly with importers, creating long-term sustainability. Through Fair Trade, farmers earn better incomes, allowing them to hold on to their land and invest in quality.
Coffee is not a trend, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Currently coffee is the number two commodity in the world behind oil. Want to learn more about coffee, Seattle coffee history, and just Seattle in general? Hop on a coffee tour and explore with us. All coffee tours visit 3 local coffee shops/roasters, as well as, local bakeries/pastry shops, and you will receive a Road Dog’s coffee mug and t-shirt. Cheers!