Seattle and it's Coffee

Let's just start off saying these people take their coffee seriously. One of our days in Seattle consisted of hanging with our Orlando tranplant friend Brad and he brought us up to speed on the Seattle coffee scene among other things. On our tour of the city we stopped by Victrola. According to Brad, their are two places to get great coffee in the US, Intelligenstia out of L.A. and Victrola! Stumptown still seems to be a favorite to some in Seattle, but not Brad. Acording to our knowledgable friend stumptown is expanding and the quality has suffered slightly. I can't comment on this considering I did not try stumptown coffee when it was only local. OF course compared to most Fl coffee I would consider Stumptown superior.
I am an espresso advocate but as true with most restaurants/coffee proprietors/and general businesses I base a lot on the simplest thing on the menu or the simplest service that they provide and how well they do it. Can you produce and excellent burger or simple entree, can you make a perfect drip, is your most basic product the best it can be? This usually answers a lot of questions for me in terms of how a company views it's products and how they treat most customers.
I can tell you right now people in Seattle care about their food, wine, beer, and coffee. The level of quality and thought behind what they are willing to intake is right up there with the top cities in the country.
We visited Pegasus, the oldest coffee house in Bainbridge, not a bad showing. The only people going to Starbucks seem to be tourists. Having several coarse ground french presses from various purveyers, Victrola seemed to be superior. Of course taste is subjective, and people have their routines of visiting the same place every day depending on where they are in they are in the city. Some make the extra effort to go to Victrola, some do not. Granted I can't name a place in Orlando that roasts their own beans everyday, has a visible roasting room with a giant black and gold roaster the size of a half ton truck, 100lb canvas sacks of raw beans from all over the world with a staff dedicated to just roasting the coffee beans perfectly. That just doensn't happen here. We have small organic coffee/tea houses that don't come close to the level of what we are talking about. On the Orlando scale they are good, but it's hard to compare. I hear Portland has a good showing with Albina and I'm sure there are many more around the country that do as well but I can't comment on them if I haven't been there.
Coffee is as complex as wine, spirits or food. I'm sure this i why coffee, tea and spirits are part of the Court of Master Sommelier's program. As an introductory level sommelier we focused mainly on wine, beer and sprirts in our training classes. Wine and service of wine above all. The certified somm test incorporates more, as does advanced somm, then of course the master somm goes even further. After talking to one of our master somm instructors who spent a year on tea service, flavor and varieties it was clear that this profession is never ending. Their is never a point where anyone can say "I know Everything". Coffee plays a role in so many individual's everyday lives, whether it's a caffine boost to get you going or the pure enjoyment of a perfect brew. Cupping Coffee is it's own craft. I guess you have to decide what you prefer and nothng else matters.

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