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How Did Coffee Get Its Start in Seattle?

How did coffee get its start in Seattle? Learn more about Seattle's rich coffee history and how coffee got its start here.

In Seattle, coffee is sacred. This city became defined by its local roasters and cafes on every street corner. People here truly care about their coffee and a day is not complete without grabbing a cup (or four) to enjoy and get us through the day.


Photo by Gourmet source

How it All Began

During the late 60’s and early 70’s, coffee houses began to pop up all over the city. Seattle’s cold and rainy months combined with the bohemian culture of this time period made for the perfect place to start serving the hot beverage. The Last Exit was created in 1967 in the University District as a very popular gathering spot for poets, students, and artists. Some years later in 1971, three coffee connoisseurs did something that would jump start the coffee culture in Seattle. Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl wanted to share their love of high-quality beans. In order to do this they pooled their money, ordered coffee in bulk from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Berkeley, California, and then opened up the nautical-themed Starbucks Coffee on Western Avenue. In 1976, these roasters moved to Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market location, which is referred to as the original Starbucks location.

The creation of Starbucks paved the way for coffee today, but in the 1990’s we started to see an increase in more independent roasters and coffee shops popping up around Seattle. Even with corporations like Starbucks or Seattle’s Best Coffee on every corner, the growing coffee consumer culture has taken an increased focus on speciality coffee, which allows local roasters to thrive in the eyes of people who know and love freshly roasted coffee.

Flat white coffee at Market Lane Coffee in Prahran

We are thrilled to be working with 20 talented, local roasters who have devoted their lives to the labor and love of coffee sourcing and roasting. You can find a variety of coffees from all of these dedicated craftsmen and women here. Next time you’re in Seattle be sure to stop by and tell them you’ve been sent by the Bean Box team!

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