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Farewell, Dr Illy . . . and Thank you!

  News has reached us that Dr Ernesto Illy, the founder of Illy Coffee (as-we-know-it), has died at age 83.   I met Dr Illy only once–back in the early 1990’s, when specialty coffee equalled Starbucks, at least in Seattle.  At that time, if there was one other company that stood out for its fanatical integrity around coffee, […]

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Is this the end of the $tarbux barista?

I am firmly of the belief that we are in midst of dramatic change in the specialty coffee industry – whereby we will see an end of the ‘average’ coffee house. The 3rd Wave cafe has created a gap between themselves and what used to be good…or  good-enough. They’ve set the bar so high that you […]

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Seattle Cafe Crawl – 10 Hours/14 Cafes

We recently had the privilege of hosting a group of guys from Fratello Coffee. One purpose of their trip was to visit Slayer and witness some break through in brewing technology and experience the ability to develop new characteristics in espresso brewing techniques. Day two’s purposed was to educate them on some of the great […]

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Third Wave Roaster Cafes: Am I competing with my supplier?

  A tour of Seattle cafes reveals that some prominent wholesale roasters are both coffee suppliers and cafe operators. This is especially true in the emerging Third Wave segment. Notably, Stumptown, Caffe Vita, and Zoka roast coffee as well as operate their own cafes.    The dual role of these companies raises a question: Should […]

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