Barista Letters

Over the last ten to twelve years, I've been a coffee adict, no... make that an espresso adict. And I've had some interesting relationships with Baristas....mostly positive. The only reason I've ever changed stands is because my path to work has changed from time to time. Since I don't have permission, I'm changing the names of the stands. Also to protect K2 who is currently barista-ing her way through college (and a car payment) at one of the stands...

Dear Valley,

Always my favorite stand. Since 1995... you've always had the best coffee, the best prices, the best baristas and are now (thanks to road construction) the most difficult to get to! Occasionally, I have veered away but I always return. I loved P when she worked there, but I ended up knowing more than I wanted to: her goats, her kidney stones, her tattooed eye makeup. Sweet lady. "A" always made the best coffee, the most consistent and the best smile! Ended up buying the stand and is now K2's boss! K2 is now the stand manager and makes a dang good cup herself! Both A and P refused to laugh at me when I showed up at 6 am with my hair in a towel! [ahem- it was all for K2 who had to be at practice by 6 am.... since I was out and about, I swung by for coffee before I went home to get ready and head in the other direction]

Dear Jet,

Located across the street from a Boeing complex, you guys were unbelievably busy. But you had a system... you sent an order taking barista out, rain or shine, to cruise the line and take orders. She was like a drill seargent.... "What do you want?, how hot?, extra shot?, straws? Three dollars" By the time you got to the front of the line, your drink was ready and you were on your way. It got to the point that when you saw the car, you knew what my coworker and I wanted and we got through the line that much faster. I don't go that far north anymore, but you guys rocked the espresso world on a whole new level!

Hill,

You guys were SO nice. I visited you for a couple months when Valley caught on fire and had to be rebuilt. You put a dark chocolate coffee bean on my drink lid every morning. Sweet! But your espresso tasted like water. As much as I liked you, and as convenient as you were (close to former daycare providers house) I could never be loyal to weak espresso. Sorry it had to end, but it was inevitable.

Espresso Shop in Time Square

Sorry guys. Worst espresso I ever tasted, hands down. It was my third morning in New York and I was jonesing for the real thing... Seattle espresso. Best description of what I got .... It tasted like Yuban strained through a used gym sock... twice. As desperate as I was, I could not drink it. I'm withholding your name because I'm nice like that (starts with an "S", ends with "bucks") but seriously... That was swill! World class dreadful. Indisputably the worst cup I've ever had. I could go on and on.....

Best,

I never got to know any of your ever rotating cadre of coffee professionals, but y'all were awesome! That piece of dark chocolate resting on the rim of the cup... magical. Sometimes I ate it, sometimes I threw it in the bottom of the cup to melt... Wow. That's all I have to say about that.

Barn,

Whoa. Now I understand that y'all are a little bit more rural.... but there's some basic stuff you need to know. When I come through the drive in wearing a suit with my hair looking extra good, it's because I have a meeting with someone important. Telling me that I have "porn star" hair is not good customer service, neither is turning and yelling "Shelley! Come look at her hair!" Perhaps you don't get out much... perhaps you're accustomed to farmers and flower growers....I don't know. When I drove by last week and saw that you were out of business... well, it was sad, but it wasn't much of a surprise.

Chain saw carving place on the way to the island,

I know y'all are very rural, but no one else within 50 miles of Seattle makes a mocha by stirring coffee into Swiss Miss. A for effort, but y'all are gonna have to up your game! Either that or stick with the chain saw carving. That whale wasn't too bad.

Asthmagirl out!

PS ~ I've since given myself an intervention and reduced my addiction down to french roast in the home Krups. I still indulge in the occasional espresso, but I find I'm more flexible when I hit the road. I can tolerate a day or two of standard drip coffee and don't have to rely on strange espresso stands. However, coffee standards continue to rise and I've gotten decent drip in a number of places...Even when we went white water rafting last year, the guides brought dark roast and a french press. I love roughing it!