Eugene Cho

zoka’s or stumptown coffee?

Been working hard with a handful of volunteers to revitalize the space of Q Cafe.  We have a very limited budget but I think folks are going to be pleased with the new kids’ room, counter level work corner, benches, and more desks for laptops users and students, etc.  We’re only spending two weeks on the remodel so next week will be crunch time as we reopen the cafe on Monday, January 14.

But it’s not just the space.  We’re working on the quality of the “product”.  We want it to be a great community cafe where we feature great coffee and tea, free WiFi, an art gallery, and an all ages live music venue.

After some thought, we’re switching coffee suppliers and considering  Zoka’s or Stumptown Coffee.  Who would you choose?

Zoka is enjoyed by many here in Seattle and was recently named 2008 Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine.  Stumptown hails from Portland and are relatively new to the Seattle market but are making ripples with their “direct trade” practice as attested by the article in the NY Times

While we’re at it, I’d love to hear your answer to this question:  Who’s your favorite coffee roaster?

Filed under: , , ,

63 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    No better shots that Espresso Vivace.

  2. OK, Eugene, you may think you need to be partial to the PacNW, but I suggest you at least give your drinkers the option of some Intelligentsia coffee out of Chicago. And the second suggestion is Chestnut Hill Coffee Co from Philly. Why not have a variety?

  3. chrismarlow says:

    Love Zoka. Never had Stumptown.

    Zoka is easy to get in Seattle, ST not so much. I wonder if you serve ST then maybe you’ll get a loyal customer base who love ST?

    But I love Zoka :) I’m glad I’m not making the decision.

  4. steve lewis says:

    Hey Eugene . . . even as a Seattlite, I was going to suggest the same thing Scot did – do have a strong preference for a local roaster? Intelligentsia is amazing stuff indeed, and they do direct trade with farmers as well. (Trabant in the U-District used to sell it, but no longer) – don’t know if it would be cost prohibitive to have it quick shipped from Chicago, though.

    Zoka is obviously killer stuff . . . but are they perhaps too common in this market?

    Stumptown is really good too, for their trade practices and quality . . . although my only experience with the Seattle operation so far might suggest that they need to develop some consistency in their roasts. If you haven’t done so already, you could go to their 12th Ave place in Capitol Hill, where the roaster is – they do a free public cupping daily at 3pm.

    Another local place I’d suggest you look into is Victrola in Capitol Hill. Their roaster is at their Pike location – their Streamline espresso is consistently really solid. They also emphasize direct trade/relationship trade coffee (though perhaps not as vigorously as Stumptown – I don’t know).

    Another lesser known local roaster is Herkimer Coffee. I’ve only had it once, but pretty good.

    I also agree with Janet re: Vivace – I just don’t know if they do roasting for distribution.

  5. leochen says:

    I’ve only heard of Zoka and Vivaci. And I know Vivaci is not really an option since we would have to send them our barista for training. Never heard of the rest of them, so I’m assuming the Zoka name might attract more commoners like me or those who don’t know anything about Q.

  6. BUSH says:

    Bongo Java in Nashville is pretty good stuff. of course it would suck to ship it all the way to you guys. great coffee though.

  7. Ryanbd says:

    I would vote for Zoka – and, as you probably know, their roasting site is not far from you (?). We served it for a while at our church and the owner was happy to give us 1/2 off. At one point. he talked to me about wanting to have a cafe whose funds went solely to support charitable causes – i.e. the other Zokas would be enough to support this. I don’t know if he’s still open to giving a deep discount to worthy causes like Q Cafe, but I bet he’d be intrigued by what you’re doing. One of the main roasters is a Fuller student right now as well.

  8. Ryanbd says:

    BTW, thanks for going for excellence in the product as well as purpose. I’ve been around some charitable coffee that just wasn’t very good. I’m sure it’s the Seattle coffee-snob in me…

  9. toddhiestand says:

    One Village Coffee – their coffee is fantastic and they support great causes. Just my suggestion :)
    http://www.onevillagecoffee.com

  10. Jeremy says:

    Zoka’s roasterie is literally 2 blocks from the Q Cafe – that big green building at the end of the road looking toward the bridge. If you wanted to support local, they seem like the obvious choice. A side note: One of their award-winning roasters is a very good Christian guy.

    If you decide to look elsewhere, Stumptown is good, as is Intelli (as Steve mentioned above). Victrola is probably my #2 local roaster. I would also recommend looking at 49th Parallel from Vancouver – what Trabant is roasting these days. I am impressed with it as I use it at home. A new name I haven’t tried is Borogove Coffee – the shop is in Fremont called Stickman Coffee (new place right behind the Lenin statue). Dismas is a legend in coffee, former Zoka guy, and recently started his own thing.

    All said, I have a personal preference for Zoka, but 49th Parallel is making a strong case right now – I just wish they were local.

  11. Tess says:

    Stumptown is excellent coffee with a loyal following. Agree with Chrismarlowe who said you might draw many of them to your cafe if you offered it. Good solid company.

    As for Scot McKnight’s comments, I think it IS good that you’re looking at the Northwest for coffee. After all, isn’t that where the birthplace of Starbucks (love ‘em or not) and the coffee revolution began?

  12. Blake says:

    Personally, I think Zoka is the best choice for the café right now. They have a solid well-known name, they’re local, they’re responsible, and their coffee kicks butt. :-)

    All these things considered, I think Zoka would attract the most business to the café…which it seems is the main thing right now.

    Not to digress too far, but will the WiFi truly be FREE now (a la Zoka’s & Tully’s)? or will it still be free with purchase? I strongly suggest the first because it will get people into the café who may not buy anything up-front but more than likely will during their stay (I watch this happen all the time at other coffee shops that don’t ask for an up-front purchase). For this reason, our “free with purchase” policy actually rather irritates me both as a customer and as a LONG TIME cafe patron. If I go to a coffee shop with the intention of using the internet I’d like to choose at what point in my stay that I buy my coffee b/c I may not want one right away, but I KNOW I will later. Does that make sense? The “free with purchase” idea was great 4 years ago before free wifi became so ubiquitous. Now, I honestly see it as a limitation to the cafe’s growth because it gives people a reason to go somewhere else. I know it did that for me when I was unemployed and job searching. :-/

  13. Joe says:

    Zoka is pretty good… but you should also look into http://www.caffevita.com/ and also there’s a shop up in bellingham who has some really good beans as well… http://www.theblackdrop.com/moma.php and as for syrups and sauces and that yummines… Monin is the way to go.

  14. Blake says:

    Let me clarify my above statement about free WiFi: It isn’t just the requirement that a drink be bought, but also the prospect of being hasseled by a barista to buy a drink or stop using the internet. It can be kind of a turn off.

    The café just has so much to offer, and the staff is so awesome that I’d hate for something as simple as free WiFi to get in the way of people experiencing it. :-/

  15. e cho says:

    Yes, we’d like to partner with local roasters. While there are other great roasters around the country, one of the main things a cafe needs to consider is the Customer Service.

    Will a roaster/distributor be able to deliver on time, service our espresso machine and grinders, provide training and consulting, etc. Those are critical aspects as we try to revitalize the cafe.

    Blake: Free Wi-Fi means as long as you buy a drink at some point. Most customers understand that now since there’s no encryption any longer with Wi-Fi. But, I get what you’re saying.

  16. Dan Hauge says:

    I’m torn. I like the more ‘homegrown’ feel of going with Zoka, since they’re so close. But since Stumptown just opened up a branch in town, that name will have some ‘buzz’ (pardon the pun) and it may well be an opportune time to go with them.

    Heh–this is why I’m glad I’m not an ED :)

  17. Christine says:

    Both stumptown and zoka are great. I also want to second the vote for Monin syrups. The quality of syrup/sauce is as important as the quality of coffee.

    Can’t wait to see the new space!

  18. jessieroberts says:

    you should go with zoka’s!!

  19. young c-m says:

    Eugene, don’t know much about these coffee brands, but hoping they are fair trade coffees that are also organic and shade grown. That one would get my vote!

  20. Jennifer says:

    PE,

    I’m with Blake. Somehow I dont think the idea of “wifi is free as long as you buy something during your stay” has trickeled down to the baristas. Two times I’ve had the same experience Blake has, and if I were just a regular person (not attached to the church) I would have never come back.

  21. e cho says:

    blake/jennifer: i’ll make sure i forward the feedback to anu, the new cafe director. this is all helpful stuff.

    youg c-m: we want to support a fair trade and industry. the problem is the terminology ‘fair trade’ is often being abused. there’s a lot of controvery about its authenticity. you’ll likely get a chance to meet a brother at quest named arturo who attends several months a year. he’s a farmer and owns a coffee farm in his native country in south america. he laughs at the term ‘fair trade’ because most people have no idea what it really means. it’s become more a label unfortunately which is another reason why ‘direct trade’ – where roasters have a direct relationship with coffee farmers – is becoming a little more prominent. You can read this for more info:

    http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/origin/directtrade and if you have time, read that NY Times link…

  22. JB says:

    Not that you asked, but Vince and I both independently realized that the Q needs an “Open” sign for the North-facing exterior wall. Maybe just a neon one that you can light up in the window.

    Also, I’m wondering how/if it’s a good idea to tap into the work-at-home crowd with a designated time for them to gather at the cafe, or using the meeting area for a work-at-home networking meeting at a regular weekly time for QAers and Magnolites. Work at homers crave a little companionship that everyone else gets at work.

    Or what about using the meeting room with some no longer used but still good projector and screen for PowerPoint presentations and having it be rentable for client meetings (again, for the work-at-homers) for a nominal fee and you could provide coffee service for $x/person.

    “Q Cafe, your branch office.” Ok, it’s been used, but still.

    More unsolicited ideas available at any time, although if you asked, I guess they wouldn’t be unsolicited. Hmm….

  23. e cho says:

    JB: Open Office for the North window? Brilliant. Consider it done…

  24. timiekley says:

    Hey Eugene – I am a salesrep for a Coffee Company called, “One Village Coffee.” We are a for profit coffee company in Pennsylvania that gives back to the community in which the coffee comes from. Would you be interested in finding out more about our efforts? Our website is: http://onevillagecoffee.com My personal email is tim@onevillagecoffee.com

    Thank you for at least checking us out.

  25. Pat says:

    Of Stumptown and Zoka, I prefer Stumptown’s beans. I actually didn’t know Zoka roasted right there.

    I love the idea of Caffe Vita, but I’ve not really liked their actual product.

  26. katie says:

    donald miller would vote for stumptown. and who doesn’t love don?

    seems smart to go with something that’s new or different for seattle instead of an already very popular roaster whose shops are numerous throughout the city…

    but what am i saying? i don’t drink coffee…ask my sister in law :)

  27. johnc says:

    hey all, i’m from portland and stumptown is amazingly good. it’s a fully body blend, depending on what you’re after. i’ve got friends from california who always want to visit stumptown; can’t go wrong.

  28. Blake says:

    You know, it’s probably good that I’m no entrepreneur b/c I’d pick Zoka as the safest option. ;-) The main reason I like Zoka as the new roaster IS the popularity. Sure the have shops all over, but I see that as a good thing because the coffee is familiar to the picky coffee drinkers of Seattle. :-) I think this familiarity will bring people in, which is what the café definitely needs.

    I also really like the idea of reaching out to the work at home crowd. Jolly good idea! :-)

    About the new free wifi policy: I really think this should be advertised aloong with any other promo materials that go out regarding the space refresh. This will hopefully let anyone else who’s been burned by a negative wifi experience know that things have changed. :-)

    One more thing, what sort of promo/advertising is going to be done? Have you thought of sending out snazzy corey hage-designed glossy mailers to the homes/apartments/businesses within walking distance to let them know about the changes? The mailer itself could be a free drink coupon of some sort. :-)

  29. Carl says:

    I like Zoka, haven’t had Stumptown. It seems to me that an important question to answer relates to what our priority in coffee selection would be…..best tasting vs. product that resonates with our values( fair trade, direct trade, etc.) If we can can get both, great, but until we answer that one, we can go in very different directions.

    Personally, I would support selling a product that emphasizes fair trade practices plus environmental stewardship. Then just finding a good product that meets those qualifications.

    It looks like Stumptown and Intelligentsia fit the bill, I’m not sure about Zoka.

  30. Dismas says:

    Hello

    If you would like to consider a third party my partner at Borogove Coffee and would love to talk with you but, if your heart is set on Zoka or Stumptown you really can’t go wrong with either. I would advise you as I’m sure you have to meet with both companies visit stores and roasting operations taste coffee and go with your gut. Good luck.

  31. aaron says:

    ZOKA!!!!!!!!

    I have never been to stumptown. Even though I am not in Seattle any more, I am excited to hear Q may be serving Zoka!

    I remember a few trips to Zoka when I could not find a seat in the place!! I am not really sure what kind of business stumptown does… but Zoka is hard to beat.

  32. Kirsten says:

    I LOVE Lighthouse Coffee. Of course, I’m not sure of it’s Free Trade status, but it is De-lish. Can be sampled at Trophy in Wallingford Center or Essential Baking Co. YUM.

  33. Ben says:

    I’m a big time espresso addict. Viv has the best espresso shots. Zokas has great shots as well. I just went to Stump for the first time today and they’re all about on the same level. None of these places surprised me with their level of customer service from and end customer’s standpoint. Probably has a lot to do with the employees and the viability of making this a lifelong career. It’s pretty transactional so it’s tough to get the happy/cheery ones who also have the discpline and acquired skills.

    Based on the above, go with what then makes the most business sense. I don’t think you can cut down on the credibility/quality of any of the suppliers above, but sounds to me it’s really between Zoka and Stump.

  34. frankandsunny says:

    zoka?!?!?…may as well serve SBUX…sorry Roy…stumptown gets my vote…

    -fsh

  35. Joe says:

    also if you need a coffee products supplier… here’s a link to a local place in town… http://www.soundprovisions.net/

  36. leochen says:

    I can’t believe you’re still getting comments on this!! Can we just do Kona Coffee and Shaved-Ice? I don’t mind picking them up for you every few weeks.

  37. j says:

    SBUX…serve SBUX….serve SBUX….after all, Quest is receiving some sort of funding from them aren’t they…on one hand, you thank the money giver for their support, yet after getting the support, you stab them.

  38. e cho says:

    j:

    no, quest church hasn’t received any funding from starbucks.
    they’re a great company to work; not necessarily the easiest to compete against.
    there is a good starbucks right across the street from us.

    sorry you woke up grouchy today; go get some good coffee. peace.

  39. I am glad to hear that Q Cafe will be switching to a new roaster. While both Zoka and Stumptown are fantastic roasters, I would definitely go with Stumptown. However, if other roastaries are still open for consideration, I would definitely consider Victrola Coffee Roasters. I’ve found their roasts to be the most consistent (from my own espresso machine) and the best tasting.

  40. j says:

    pastor Eugene,

    i actually had a great cup of coffee this morning. Thanks. It was SBUX. As for my comment concerning SBUX funding….please check qcafe.org-> support -> donor ….the result is SBUX (grant match).

    I am sure there is some sort of licening deal which may prevent Q serving a great cup of SBUX. I am just suggesting a different direction of coffee and i find other brands far more inferior as far as the depth of flavor, the aroma and amount of caffeine . It is my assumption that there maybe a rally for local business support. However, as a consumer of really good coffee, you are correct in that supply chain and vendor management will be your utmost concern. However, if propeller-heads can wait in line for 48 hrs or longer during the day-after thanksgiving sale for a cheap 1gb flashdrive, i am sure your patrons can wait extra 5 mins for stratigically set time to ensure there is enough coffee for everyone. Besides, that would be for the store manager to effectively forecast and ensure on time/real time delivery of coffee from a roaster who buys from arturo’s cousin.

    on a serious note, any thought on possibility of roasting beans on your own? i am sure it will be costly and possibly require some level of additional commitment but it will be a very interesting coffee shop, unlike anyother coffee houses around there and potentially adding additional employment opportunity for locals.

    would look forward to Q in Seoul Korea or anywhere else in the world.

  41. Dustin Cross says:

    Nathan Reasoner at Zoka’s is a great guy and will provide tons of help with Q Cafe. Nathan’s expertise, passion, and availability are one of the main reasons that our church plant in Lynnwood will probably go with Zoka when we open up our cafe.

  42. BK says:

    J,

    You lose your credibility to most people with your last post. Starbucks is a great company but their espresso and beans are average at best. Ask any coffee person and they’ll tell you that at Starbucks, you are paying for the experience – not the espresso.

  43. Andy Wade says:

    As far as taste, I can’t answer this burning question. I live in Hong Kong and our choice basically boils down to Starbucks or Pacific Coffee (a Seattle native). “Burning” and “Boiling” are apt descriptions of what we get here. However it seems to me that if direct trade is truly important than so should the issues of global warming and the consumption of non-renewable resources to transport the product to Q. From the perspective of transportation Zoka seems the winner. If one looks at direct trade the balance tips to Stumptown. Perhaps what’s most amazing to me is that response to this post far outstrips responses to other posts! The choice has to swing in favor of practices that align with our faith or we risk becoming “posers” in the faith – but comfortable posers with a nice cuppa java!

  44. Just a reminder…. Stumptown was the 2006 Roaster of the Year.

  45. j says:

    BK

    it appears you lost your credibility as well. please come out of your little shell, have a sip of your double tall hazel nut latte skinny and try to follow along. suggest you to ask those around you and ask if they have ever visited SBUX. I am sure most will tell you that they have on multiple occasions. Ask them what is their favorite drink in SBUX…i am sure they will give you, without hesitation, a list of their favorite. Who in the right mind will pay grossly overpriced cup of coffee just for an experience alone.

    Paying for experience?? That sounds like something straight out of a marketing material. Unless you are one of those hippies on university ave, have a pipe and have all the time in the world. Most patrons do not order, wait, get coffee, and sit in their lounge chair for “experience”. Most are too busy to figure out if they paid right amount for an “experience”. They are their for a good cup of coffee, regardless of method of roasting as well as where the beans came from. If you want to experience the difference of the coffee…first look for the oil content floating on top of the coffee. That will tell you if your coffee grinds fresh. No coffee bean oil means bad coffee. Second, try a chocolate with different coffee….each sip of different flavored coffee with chocolate will touch the different part of your taste bud. The experience you are talking about, should includes these mentioned tasting experience on every occasion, but now, do you really have time???? unless the experience you are refering to is about staring at the cute barista.

    When was the last time you went in to a coffee shop and started asking the quality of beans, origin of each coffee bean, method of picking beans, drying beans, pack and storing beans and method of roasting? In your mind, you are in their for a warm cup of coffee to warm yourself up as well as quick fix of caffein or sugar. Or it is a meeting place and most are having coffee so without realizing, you just ordered yourself a cup of coffee..

    As much as Q cafe is non-profit coffee house, with many amenities that most enjoy, at the end, you have to think about the profit margin. Once you are profitable, than you can think about where to use the money. It is great to try to do a charity work by bringing in local roasters to the mix but please bringing them in uder the condition that the their coffee beans are actually pretty decent and can be obtained at a significantly lower price. When was the last time some one say “I need a quick cup of ZOKA!”

  46. e cho says:

    blake/jennifer: don’t know if you’re still reading this thread or not but after talking w/ some of the baristas, i wanted to respond to you.

    our policy will still be free wifi with purchase. it doesn’t make sense to us to have folks come, sit for a few hours, plug their gear into their outlets, and then walk out after a few hours. i don’t know if that’s what you meant but having a true FREE wi-fi policy. if that’s the case, then, we don’t have true wi-fi.

    but in years past, we did have an encryption code required for wi-fi users for different reasons. so when they came in, they needed to basically make a purchase to get the password. the wi-fi is now open and anyone can use it and not necessarily have to make a purchase at the beginning of their patronage.

    but it makes sense to us that if a customer will come and enjoy the benefits of our space, they can meet us half way and order a drink – at some point. i’m sure that there’s some other issues that you may have had and anu and the staff are going to work out those kinks.

  47. Joseph says:

    Seriously, I can’t believe this lame post Eugene has generated so many responses. :) In many ways, it confirms that the Northwest in the Coffee Capital of the World! Happy New Year.

  48. Jennifer says:

    E,

    I think its totally reasonable to expect that people should buy a drink or two sometime during their stay. My point was that its not totally reasonable to expect that the drink purchase happens in the first 5 min. Or…maybe its just a style issue – my experience was that the barista was rather aggressive and rude in her approach. Something like, “You need to leave now, you cant use the internet unless you’re buying something.” Maybe the baristas just need to be trained to approach people and say, “Can I get a drink started for you?” If the customer says no, they can explain the policy.

  49. e cho says:

    jennifer: for the purpose of other readers, i completely agree with you. the baristas will need to be nicer. from the other perspective, baristas get frustrated when folks will stay for hours and then just leave. make sure you come back to check out the new feel.

  50. Blake says:

    J:

    I used to work for Howie at a downtown sbux and I can tell you for a fact that sbux definitely sells the experience…BIGTIME!!!!! There is constant talk of creating that “3rd Place” for customers.

    As for “When was the last time some one say ‘I need a quick cup of ZOKA!’,” I actually said that myself this weekend.

    I guess in many respects it comes down to a matter of personal choice, and I can respect your choice of sbux over others. I don’t choose it myself if I can help it, but I can respect your choice.

    For Q, the choice of a good new bean is about more than just taste and price, its about what goes into producing and growing that bean… the whole picture, including that the people involved are treated justly and compensated fairly. In that category, sbux is FAR from the top dog.

    PE: I’m in agreement with Jennifer. The café certainly has the right to be compensated for internet use. No doubt about that.

  51. j says:

    Blake,

    I know very well that SBUX tries to sell the “experience” but put yourself in a consumer perspective. Trust me, you are not the only one who have worked at SBUX. I have a very intimate knowledge of store operations as well as corporate direction of SBUX. At the end ask one next to you and ask do they really care about the SBUX version of experience. With so many people in Seattle hooked on caffeine (possibly another form of addiction), most go in there to get a quick fix. It is fantastic that SBUX has changed the mentality and direction of what coffee house should be. With knowing or without knowing, many coffeee houses now replicate what SBUX has done to it’s store. Case in point, go in to Q Cafe…you will find some resemblance to that of SBUX. Plush sofa, nice decor, and modern amenities. However, now that SBUX has changed the perception, from old little hole in the wall serving folgers to that of what we now see, and have made increadible amount of money along the way, they are now packaging a cup of coffee with “experince” and charging you over 5 bucks a cup. I do think that is justified…hell no. I am mad as hell. However, i still go back to the store, like many of us do. Because they have a rigorous training for it’s barista’s to know all the drinks, how to make them…including how much of pressure is needed to pack grinds before extracting espresso. Well, i guess that is an old new since they all changed the machine where all they do is push a number. It can guaranee that double tall hazel nut latte at Seattle will taste the same as the one at NYC or LA.

    You mentioned personal choice concern what cup of coffee one should consume. However, the forum here is “which coffee co. will be the supplier at Q cafe”. Once the management at Q cafe decides on who the supplier is, there is no personal choice. You go in and order a coffee….it is whatever they decided and you have no say in the matter. Only choice you have is to go to Q or not to go to Q. As part of the patrons of Q, i wanted to make a suggestion to use SBUX due to massive consimer populism. Or possibly use couple of different suppliers and let them undercut each other.

    Q management needs to think in a direction where this is a real business opportunity. It is a matter of survival. I understand that Q is created to support the area community. However, Blake, have you read where the business is at. There is an issue of sustainability. The bottom line, it is not making enough money to cover all expenses and have a left over to fulfill it’s mission. With sustainability in the toilet, who cares about the whole picture at this point. Many fortune 500 companies can explore and make changes to be a responsible companies because they have the luxury of financial backing. However, in the case of Q, it needs to sustain pofitability while competing with local coffee house. In fact, as E Cho pointed out, there is a SBUX right accross the street. So the question is, what differentiates Q in consumer perspective to attract the patrons while remaining profitable…that is the homework for the store management to think about before it heads to just a number in statistic.

    By the way good luck finding your favorite ZOKA coffeehouse out side of Washington, that is if you travel at all.

  52. e cho says:

    can we keep the discussion civil? there’s no need to attack folks. i would hate to start deleting comments.

  53. j says:

    e,

    I guess that comment is directed at me. Will try to remain civil. However, unfortunately, I have no tolerance for those who just follows along and agrees with what is provided/given to them. And being part of the concensus rather than questioning the thinking. I am concerned about Q and the direction your coffee team is going. I would like to see your store be successful both socially and economically. And usually, the changing of coffee is due to sustainability of business. I am not sure this is the case or not for Q but, I am sure your team have already, but please do look at the profit margin and cost of doing business as well as finding the right roaster.

  54. Blake says:

    j:

    Please allow me to extend an “olive-branch” of sorts on behalf of all (or at least myself) the anti-sbux peeps that have commented on this particular post. I think what we’re running into here is one of the biggest problems in any form of written communication: lack of non-verbal communication. Neither of us can hear the tone in the other’s voice or see the expressions on our faces in order to discern how to take something that is said.

    To that end, I meant no malice and I’m sure that several others here (including yourself) probably didn’t either with initial comments. Every single one of your points is perfectly valid and your opinions appreciated. Many of us are simply not the biggest fans of sbux coffee. Pure and simple. I myself used to be, but not anymore. After I quit sbux 4 years ago due to the poor job fit (I’m a horribly crappy multi-tasker, which doesn’t work so well for a downtown Seattle store), I began volunteering as a barista at Q and was trained how to make coffee the real way (sbux was button pushing by then) by Leah (then the cafe manager). After tasting Tony’s coffee and several others that roast locally I simply came to prefer those other roasts over sbux. Granted, I became much more biased against sbux as a whole once I learned more about where coffee comes from and the social justice issues involved, but it was mostly on the basis of taste.

    I totally understand the importance of Q choosing a coffee roaster that will help the business (it is a coffee house after all) and don’t want to sound ignorant of that fact since I became a loyal patron within months of the cafe’s opening. I was also unemployed for about two months this fall and spent nearly all of my job-hunt time at Q. There were days when I was the only paying customer… all day. Not pumping myself up too much, just letting you know that I understand the situation (at least, that’s my humble intention).

    So, as I said in my opening, here’s me extending that olive branch of peace. I’m sorry for the offensive ways in which many of our comments were obviously taken.

    What do you say? :-)

    Cheers,
    Blake

    PS. The exclusivity of Zoka to WA is one thing that I love about it. :-) It’s local, it isn’t huge, and it’s unique. If I found it down near my parents house in my native southern-Cal I’d be happy to find it, but at the same time disappointed. I’ve been accused of being a weirdo in the past, so maybe that’s just me. ;-)

  55. jnaegeli says:

    I’d go with Stumptown–good coffee, and isn’t it owned by Christians, or did I make that up? There’s also Camano Island Coffee Roasters, which is 100% fairly traded, organic and shade-grown, but I don’t know if they do espresso…

  56. j says:

    blake,

    i am sure the intention of creating this site by E would have been to have an open discussion and see the different view of each subject. i as a new blogger to this site, wanted to point out the obvious and bring a different perspective. it would not be a meaningful site if everyone agrees with what everyone else says/thinks without questioning and validating their own inner belief. not only on the issue with coffee (unfortunately, i am an addict as you can tell). I am merely providing additional perspective to all without being called grouchy by E in a “civil” manner. (which by the way, i am still waiting for an explanation concerning the grant matching supposedly being received from SBUX…i am sure some are also curious about this as well as it appears most readers are anti-SBUX….correct me if i am wrong)

    on the business front for Q, i wanted to point out that changing coffee is not just about changing the coffee. It will have a business consequences. If there is an action, there is a reaction. So, Q coffee management team better think twice before deciding on the roaster as it may have potential financial risk involved in it. Word of advice: Diversify your portfolio….do not count on one and only supplier/vendor for your coffee. business is business and they may bite you when you least expect it.

    as for E…you see, i am providing you a pretty decent inside scoop and challenging your team take the business to another level rather than just pondering upon who will be your next supplier.

    as for you, Blake….i accept your peace offering and i would also like to extend to you a “coffee branch”. I think coffee branch would be a bit more appropriate for this.
    SoCal, yeap….never seen Zoka but another option is coffee bean & tea leaf. i think they taste ok. not as flavorful as what you get up there in seattle..black coffee that is…taste little dry….and they do use powder instead of syrup. But hey, if these celebs like it, i am sure their will be hords of converting following along thinking it is the best thing in the world. who knows, after a cup, they may actually look as good as some celebs…

  57. tacomacoffeelover says:

    “PS. The exclusivity of Zoka to WA is one thing that I love about it. :-) It’s local, it isn’t huge, and it’s unique. If I found it down near my parents house in my native southern-Cal I’d be happy to find it, but at the same time disappointed.”

    blake,

    you should check your facts for sure. zoka roasts some great coffee, but i’d hardly say they are anything “exclusive to WA.” by simply visiting http://www.zoka-coffee.com you get to the japanese side of the business, which is huge for zoka. they have five cafes in tokyo! further, zoka has a full time sales person who lives in kansas city to manage their many mid-western accounts. again, non of this is bad, but they certainly do stretch far, far outside of seattle or the pacific northwest.

    –tcl

  58. Blake says:

    j: Good stuff, a coffee branch is much more appropriate. :-) I’ve been to Coffee Bean and tea, leaf and do think it tastes okay. For my part, I thank you for your insights. I’m always looking to become better educated, though sometimes I don’t do my homework before saying things. lol. :-P I need to get better at that.

    TacomaCoffeeLover: There I go again. Not doing my homework first. Thanks for checking me. ;-)

  59. [...] barista champion Last week, I was bored and wrote a short post asking people’s feedback about  Zoka’s or Stumptown Coffee as we change coffee roasters [...]

  60. kd says:

    try borogove coffee…served at Stickman Coffee in Fremont…

  61. Leo says:

    I don’t know if anybody’s still following this thread, but today at work, out of total random-ness, a co-worker asked me if I’ve heard of Stumptown and how great the coffee is… that you can finally get it at Whole Foods, and that there was an article on Cooking about it. I responded by telling her that I know a Cafe that will start serving their coffee, and she go SOOO excited and wanted to know where to find this place. Well, I guess it must be pretty good coffee.

  62. Mica says:

    Stumptown is the best. If you want the best go with Stumptown.

  63. kathy brady says:

    Zola tea and coffee is definitely our favorite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Morning hike. My features over at @miir are hosting a book.giveaway + their world.class  tumblers. "Hot off the press! Eugene Cho, founder of @onedayswages, has a new book titled Overrated that will challenge you to actually change the world. We've got two signed copies to give away. Like this post AND tag a friend for your chance to win both copies and #MiiR tumblers." Good morning from Seattle!

#MorningFerryRide 
#NoFilter I feel healthier just looking at fruit. #pikemarket Lunch date with Minhee. Her love languages include good conversations and good sushi. This is why I always take the window seat.

my tweets

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,009 other followers