Coffee Walk While Learning Starbucks

I like talking long walks on Sunday. It rests me a bit and rejuvenates my connection to the neighborhood.

Today I’m listening to the Acquired podcast about the history of Starbucks with Howard Schultz while I walk. And I’m trying to find new local coffee roasters.

I prefer to get locally roasted coffee because it’s roasted closest to when I can drink it and I really think that’s the biggest difference in how it tastes. And I can connect with the local businesses. So I plotted a walk to Printers Row Coffee and then to Kapéj Cafe. Sitting in Kapéj as I write this.

Printers Row is a classic modern roastery - campy into a corner storefront with happy helpful baristas and gleaming equipment. The light roast was just what I want - bright and not too sweet. Bought a bag. A man and his five year old daughter were there with me and they laughed with the baristas.

Kapéj is someone’s accumulated dream. It’s clear the owner has slowly expanded their space to hold more and more of the local people. Random art and hand-typed quotes on the wall. They roast coffee and label it by hand and it’s not focused on variety but just the kind the owner likes. Bought a bag. I’m sitting at a table that someone stained recently and a woman walked past me and we talked about how lovely it feels in here.

As I listened to Howard Schultz talk about how Starbucks is the third place and how the experience of buying a handmade coffee is what the company is all about, I think about why I prefer these places over Starbucks. I don’t think I’ve ever had that experience at their stores. I believe that it’s what he dreams of, though.