Holiday Drinks at SBC - Candy Cane Mochas and Gingerbread Lattes - Frozen or hot!

I thought I'd write a bit about the holiday drinks available at Seattle's Best Coffee right now.  (Seattle's Best Coffee is fully owned and operated by Starbucks Coffee Company). I flew out of town over the Thanksgiving holiday time frame, and dropped by a Seattle's Best Coffee at Sea-Tac Airport.  There, I tried the frozen Gingerbread Latte.  It's definitely pretty to look at and comes with cute little mini gingerbread men sprinkled on the whipped cream.

Even though this looks like a great drink, it wasn't that great.  It was very sugary, and didn't have some of the fun spiced flavors of the Starbucks version of the Gingerbread Latte. While that beverage wasn't my favorite, I loved the peppermint bark shown above.  I wish Starbucks offered that same peppermint brownie!

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The Seattle's Best Coffee in Renton: A cute company-operated cafe.

IMAG6870 Exterior Renton SBC 2Sep2013
IMAG6870 Exterior Renton SBC 2Sep2013

If you happen to be in Renton, Washington, I recommend that you drop by the Seattle's Best Coffee there.  (Seattle's Best Coffee is wholly owned and operated by Starbucks).  It may not be obvious that it is company-operated, as it connected to a Fred Meyer's store, but it is a great little company-operated store.  I dropped by today, and my experience was great.  I met an SBC partner who started with SBC in 1999!  Ericka, it was fantastic to meet you today! One curious thing about this store is that it has a walk-up window facing the Fred Meyer's, so you could order your coffee, and do your shopping at Fred Meyer's, and never have to go around, and in the main entrance.  You can see the walk up window in one of the photos below - it is just under the clock.

There are many ways that this is a one-of-a-kind Seattle's Best Coffee.  It is the only remaining Seattle's Best Coffee in Washington State with a lobby.  New SBC locations are following the drive-thru model, as I have mentioned in this previous blog post here.  Since this is the only Seattle's Best Coffee with a lobby in Washington, it has unique food offerings.  You'll find some familiar items, such as Ethos water, and Tazo bottled iced teas.  I tried this store's coffee cake and loved it.  Here's my coffee cake and Americano from today's visit:

IMAG6878 Coffee cake and Americano at SBC - 2Sep13
IMAG6878 Coffee cake and Americano at SBC - 2Sep13

By the way, as I visited today, the store got busier and busier.  When I walked in, not a single person was sitting in the outside seating area, but when I left, several tables were occupied.  If you want to sit outside, you certainly can:

IMAG6871 Patio seating Renton SBC 2Sep13
IMAG6871 Patio seating Renton SBC 2Sep13

This Seattle's Best Coffee is located at 365 Renton Center Way South, in Renton, Washington. The phone number is (425) 430 - 9810.

Here are the rest of the pictures from today's visit! I hope you get to drop by this store someday. Everyone was very friendly!  (Amazingly, Ericka indicated to me that she has heard of my blog, and checks it now and then.  I was blown away that she had heard of me.  This was indeed my first trip ever to this store.)

IMAG6884 Renton Lobby SBC - 2Sep13 copy
IMAG6884 Renton Lobby SBC - 2Sep13 copy
IMAG6879 Renton SBC facing espresso machine and walkup window 2Sep13
IMAG6879 Renton SBC facing espresso machine and walkup window 2Sep13

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy reading through my previous Seattle's Best Coffee store reviews.  And, I hope you will take a minute and "like" the Seattle's Best Coffee Facebook page (this is my unofficial page for this blog).  Thank you so much!  (You can subscribe by putting your email address in the right rail of this blog.  I won't overwhelm you with email.  This little blog only gets updated about once every four to six weeks!)

The Story of Seattle's Best Coffee - As Told by a 1992 Pike Place Market Cookbook (@SeattlesBest)

IMAG6324 Seattles Best Coffee History Lesson
IMAG6324 Seattles Best Coffee History Lesson

I noticed that in my kitchen, I have a 1992 Pike Place Market cookbook.  I opened it up and started reading the descriptions of the stores in the Market. (Many of which no longer exist).  I don't know about you, but I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the history of Seattle's Best Coffee.  I thought super fun to read the story and history of Seattle's Best Coffee as told through the lens of the company in 1992 - that would have been long before they were purchased by Starbucks. and dating to a time when they had to have been an extremely small business. It's amazing how much has happened to Seattle's Best Coffee over the years.  It truly makes my heart ache a bit that this year, Starbucks closed the Post Alley location of Seattle's Best Coffee.   That's a Starbucks decision that I am still not quite comfortable with.

I took a few photos of the Post Alley Seattle's Best in September 2012, and I wish I had taken more.  And there are two more photos of the Post Alley Seattle's Best which I took in January 2012, during a snowy wintery day.

Here's the Seattle's Best story:

Open since 1984, SBC, Seattle's Best Coffee, is an ideal Market meeting place because its foamy lattes, indoor and outdoor seating, and relaxed European atmosphere.  The place attracts both locals and tourists alike, perhaps because of its welcoming neon coffee-cup sign, or perhaps because of its central location at Post Alley and Pine.  If you get a seat at the back counter, you can take full advantage of Seattle's clean, bracing air, and get a good view of the sky, the top of the Olympic Mountains, and the tips of totem poles in nearby Victor Steinbrueck Park.

SBC traces its history back to 1968, to a young optometry student in Los Angeles who love the smell but hated the taste and nerve-shattering effects of coffee.  Nonetheless, Jim Stewart needed a job while attending school, so he went to work at a specialty coffee and tea shop, where he learned that high-quality coffees not only tasted good but contained less caffeine than tin-can coffees from the supermarket.

Today Jim is known as "Bwana Kahowa," or Mr. Coffee, in Africa, one the many places he visits (along with Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia) in search of the highest-grade coffees.  He likes to touch the raw beans, shake hands with the people who grow them, and witness how they're handled from picking basket to shipping bag to ensure the best-quality beans.  "We look for the small producers who use the old methods and practice coffee handling as an art," Jim explains.

Once SBC beans find their way back to Seattle, they're roasted in small batches daily on Vashon Island in the "German-style northern European roast," a lighter roast than the full city roast favored by other coffee purveyors in town.  SBC's Pike Place Market location, with its distinctive red bumbershoots handing upside down from the ceiling, sells espresso drinks, whole-bean coffees, and an extensive line up coffee brewing, grinding, and serving accessories.

IMAG6325 Pike Place Market Cookbook - 1992 edition 2
IMAG6325 Pike Place Market Cookbook - 1992 edition 2
IMAG6326 1992 Pike Place Market Cookbook
IMAG6326 1992 Pike Place Market Cookbook

Two Amazing Orange County, California, Seattle's Best Coffee Stores: Irvine (has a La Marzocco) & Lake Forest.

IMAG5759 Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee 26June2013
IMAG5759 Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee 26June2013

There are two Seattle's Best Coffees in Orange County which are just must-visit gems.  They're lovely stores, with friendly employees, and you'll get a fantastic beverage.  Interestingly, both are operated by the same franchise owner. I'd previously found a rather ordinary Seattle's Best Coffee in Garden Grove (also Orange County, California), and so it made it all the more delightful to find the two gems of stores - one in Irvine, and the other in Lake Forest.

The first amazing Seattle's Best Coffee was in Irvine, at Culver and Walnut:

Seattle's Best Coffee - Irvine location 14450 Culver Drive, Suite D Irvine, California 92604 (949) 653 - 0828

When I walked into this store, the first thing that struck me was that they're using a La Marzocco espresso machine for their espresso beverages!  Of course, I immediately asked about.  I met some amazingly enthusiastic baristas who said that this Seattle's Best franchise has been operating since the 1990s.  When the franchise owner originally opened up this SBC franchise, the La Marzocco was standard, and at this point, they're "grandfathered" in to have this machine.  New Seattle's Best Coffee franchises must have standard SBC-issued equipment, meaning automatic espresso machines.

Here's the La Marzocco:

IMAG5763 La Marzocco at the Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee June 2013
IMAG5763 La Marzocco at the Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee June 2013

Isn't that a thing of beauty?  By the way, my latte came with a heart on it - no lid, and latte art.  I talked briefly to one barista who was heading out the door, who said she'd been at this store for seven years.  This franchisee must really know what he is doing!

This store was fairly busy, but just so you know, there is both indoor and outdoor seating, Seattle's Best Coffee for at-home use available to purchase, merchandise, and some nice goodies in the pastry case.

Just a few more pictures of this great store - I hope you get a chance to visit!

IMAG5764 Seattles Best Coffee Irvine interior view
IMAG5764 Seattles Best Coffee Irvine interior view
IMAG5765 Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee - Interior 26 June 2013
IMAG5765 Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee - Interior 26 June 2013

The second amazing store was the Lake Forest, California Seattle's Best Coffee:

The Lake Forest location's address is as follows:

Seattle's Best Coffee 22621 Lake Forest Drive (Lake Forest Drive & Muirlands Drive) Lake Forest, California (949) 830 - 5282

This is a fairly new store.  I found an online site which indicated the grand opening was May 1, 2012, for this Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee.  As I already mentioned, both of these locations are operated by was franchisee.  I met the store manager, Jennifer, who definitely loved her store, and readily answered my questions.  It's a cute location, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.  I noticed some really delicious looking treats in the pastry case, and Jennifer opined that her store had a special arrangement to get some special bakery goodies in.  My carrot cake and coffee were delicious.  Take a look at this store!

Hope you enjoyed these store reviews. :)

Say "hello" to Seattle's Best in Lake Forest:

Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee Lobby Seating June 2013 - IMAG5781
Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee Lobby Seating June 2013 - IMAG5781
Lake Forest Starbucks June 2013 IMAG5792
Lake Forest Starbucks June 2013 IMAG5792
Lake Forest Starbucks Patio seating June 2013 IMAG5793
Lake Forest Starbucks Patio seating June 2013 IMAG5793
Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee near register 27June2013 IMAG5785
Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee near register 27June2013 IMAG5785
Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee IMAG5776
Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee IMAG5776
IMAG5775 Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee June 2013
IMAG5775 Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee June 2013

A Look at the Seattle's Best Coffee in Garden Grove, California. (Okay, a little underwhelming of a store.)

IMAG5749 Interior Seattles Best Coffee location in Garden Grove California June 2013
IMAG5749 Interior Seattles Best Coffee location in Garden Grove California June 2013

If you happen to be in Garden Grove, California, and you are craving Seattle's Best Coffee, there is a store not too far from you. The Seattle's Best Coffee address is as follows:

9922 Katella Avenue Garden Grove, California, 92841 It is inside the Fresh Choice Marketplace grocery store, and is a franchised location.  By the way, it is kind of on the edge of Anaheim and Garden Grove.

My experience was underwhelming.  I found the location pretty easily.  The store is essentially a counter top inside a grocery store.  There isn't a lot of merchandise, or actual whole bean packaged coffee for sale.  If you are craving a S'mores Frozen Mocha or other sweet and fun blended beverage, and you happen to be in Garden Grove, this is your place to go!  The service I got was friendly, but there was nothing about the person who helped me who seemed particularly passionate about Seattle's Best.  I bought a S'mores Frozen Mocha, and she took my money and made it.

There's limited seating.  The grocery store has a small number of tables adjacent to the Seattle's Best, but this isn't the place to go for a coffee date or a meeting.  Actually, I saw very little food available also.  I wish I had taken a photo of the pastry case, but it was fairly empty.  I arrived on June 26, 2013, at about 12:45 p.m.

There you have it!  There is an SBC in Garden Grove.  Hope you enjoyed this store review!

IMAG5748 Exterior Seattle's Best Coffee in Garden Grove California June 2013
IMAG5748 Exterior Seattle's Best Coffee in Garden Grove California June 2013
IMAG5750 Garden Grove Seattles Best Coffee June 2013
IMAG5750 Garden Grove Seattles Best Coffee June 2013
IMAG5751 Smores drink Garden Grove Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG5751 Smores drink Garden Grove Seattles Best Coffee

The Deliciousness of the Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha - Iced or Frozen, at Seattle's Best Coffee

DSC07069 Menu Mocha Chocolate Mocha SBC 01 June 2013
DSC07069 Menu Mocha Chocolate Mocha SBC 01 June 2013

On June 1, 2013, I stopped by the Seattle's Best Coffee in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.  I decided to try the Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha, having been enticed by a sign for it:

I had such a good time during this visit.  I surprise myself, but I somewhat adore what Starbucks is doing with the new business model for Seattle's Best Coffee.  On this visit, I met the store manager, Valerie Floyd, a 9-year Starbucks partner.  She was super excited about the SBC drive-thru experience, and said that she'd recently returned from a trip to Dallas to open up about ten stores down there.  She began her career many years ago, and then switched to the Seattle's Best side.  She had been a manager of a now-closed SBC cafes in downtown Seattle.

I got a customer voice receipt this visit, and Valerie got me started on a punch card too!  I didn't realize it, but Seattle's Best Coffee has Customer Voice receipts just like the Starbucks ones!

My drink was delicious.  Mint whipped cream is amazing.  I loved the chocolate chips on top.  I ordered the "frozen" version of this drink, which I highly recommend you do! Here's what my delicious drink looked like - so refreshing on a hot Seattle day! (I know that many parts of the country don't think of 70 degrees as hot, but in Seattle, we do! ;-))

DSC07072 Delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha - 01 June 2013 - SBC
DSC07072 Delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha - 01 June 2013 - SBC
DSC07073 SBC Mocha Mint Frozen drink
DSC07073 SBC Mocha Mint Frozen drink

Just as a reminder, if you're driving through Seattle's SODO neighborhood, here's what the Seattle's Best Coffee looks like:

DSC07081 SBC on 4th and Lander 01 June 2013
DSC07081 SBC on 4th and Lander 01 June 2013

And look for this sign, directing you to the drive-thru:

DSC07076 SBC DT sign - 4th and Lander
DSC07076 SBC DT sign - 4th and Lander

Try the Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha!

****

****

Much later in the same day, I test drove a new Honda Fit at the Honda of Fife dealership, in Fife, Washington.  I am kind of in the market for a new car, though I don't know if that will really happen or not.  While I was at the dealership, I walked past an auto-Seattle's Best Coffee machine in their lobby!

IMAG5304 SBC - Machine at Honda of Fife - 01 June 2013
IMAG5304 SBC - Machine at Honda of Fife - 01 June 2013
IMAG5305 SBC - Machine - close up - 01 June 2013
IMAG5305 SBC - Machine - close up - 01 June 2013

I immediately grabbed my cell phone to take a few photos of it, and the saleswoman looked at my very strangely.  I tried to explain that I have a blog about Starbucks, but still she seemed to think it was odd that I was taking a photo of the lobby coffee machine.  I didn't get a chance to try it!  I asked her how long she's had it, and she said that it's been there for a couple of months.  Interesting machine!

Seattle's Best Coffee: The Red Box

6501 - SeattlesBest auto coffee machine Albertsons Burien Feb 2013
6501 - SeattlesBest auto coffee machine Albertsons Burien Feb 2013

Seattle's Best Coffee has just launched an instant coffee machine. It's definitely a red box!  You can find Seattle's Best Coffee red boxes inside of other businesses like grocery stores, or large department stores like Walmart. I recently stumbled upon one inside an Albertson's grocery store. Actually, it was back in February this year that I stumbled upon this machine, but I know there are more out there. I ordered something named something like a 'Mint Mocha.' One thing I distinctly recall, it was too sweet for me. Of course, one thing about a big red box is that you cannot tell it that you'd like to have that beverage, 'half sweet please.'

I think it would be a better option for something like just basic coffee. I will say that the display screens will do a great job of keeping you entertained as your beverage is being made! The screen changes often, telling you exactly what the machine is doing. And, you can pay with cash or with a card.

The jury is still deliberating on this machine!  I am going to try and find another one, and try a few more of the products from it.  The 'mint mocha,' though, is not recommended.

I'd love to know if you have tried these too!  I will report back on this again some time!

6507 SBC auto coffee machine Feb 2013 Albertsons Burien
6507 SBC auto coffee machine Feb 2013 Albertsons Burien
6510 SBC auto coffee machine Feb 2013 Albertsons Burien
6510 SBC auto coffee machine Feb 2013 Albertsons Burien
6513 SeattlesBest Auto Coffee Machine display Feb 2013
6513 SeattlesBest Auto Coffee Machine display Feb 2013
6516 My drink SBC machine Feb 2013
6516 My drink SBC machine Feb 2013

Seattle's Best Coffee Launches Cute Mini-Sized Red Drive Thrus!

IMAG3387 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee dt with the Starbucks hq peaking out at a distance
IMAG3387 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee dt with the Starbucks hq peaking out at a distance

Seattle's Best Coffee (a subsidiary of Starbucks /fully operated by Starbucks) is launching little tiny drive-thru only stores all over the country.  I understand that there will be about 300 of them, from what I have heard - look for one near you! Before I go any further, I want to say that I had BLAST experiencing this.  A total blast.  I write this article sitting at home, smiling.  Today is  Saturday, and I was out with a good friend, and we were returning home to Seattle from something we'd both just been to in West Seattle.  My friend was driving her car.  This is an important little piece of information because normally, I don't get to go through drive-thrus at all.  At the moment, I don't have access to a car, and I haven't for the past couple of months.  And even before that, because of some mechanical problems with my old car, I would not use a drive-thru.  So this was a special occasion for me:  It's the first time I've been through a drive-thru in quite a while.  My last drive-thru experience might have been the shipping container Starbucks which opened in December 2011.  And I think  I may have only used the walk up window during my visit to the shipping container store.

In fact, I'd previously planned to take the Link Light Rail to the SODO station and walk to the new Seattle's Best Coffee drive thru, but this was much more of a treat to experience this spontaneously with a friend in a car.

My friend and I were driving northbound on Fourth Avenue South.  We saw the little drive thru, and pulled in and first parked so I could take a few photos.  Here's the what the store looks like as you approach from Fourth Avenue South, heading northbound:

IMAG3364 24Nov2012 South wall of the new Seattles Best Coffee DT sodo neighborhood
IMAG3364 24Nov2012 South wall of the new Seattles Best Coffee DT sodo neighborhood

I walked up to the walk up window and ordered an "Iced Birthday Cake Latte."  This was surprisingly good.  It was very sweet with lots of vanilla flavor, and had fantastic toppings.  The curls on top tasted like shaved white chocolate.  And the sprinkles were fun too.  I can see how people get hooked on these sweet drinks!  Trust me, it wasn't a true "coffee" experience but it was a delicious experience.  I had tons of fun ordering, and since I didn't know what to get, the helpful partner (all the people working in company-operated SBCs are called "partners")   in the red apron suggested this beverage as one of his favorites.  He was super nice.  (I think he said his name was Sam.)  And then I took some more photos from the front of the SBC drive thru:

IMAG3375 - 24Nov2012 Iced Birthday Cake Latte drink at Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3375 - 24Nov2012 Iced Birthday Cake Latte drink at Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3371 - 24Nov2012 West wall and walk up window of the new Seattle's Best DT in the sodo neighborhood
IMAG3371 - 24Nov2012 West wall and walk up window of the new Seattle's Best DT in the sodo neighborhood

By the way, this SBC drive thru is so close to the Starbucks Support Center (Starbucks calls their headquarters the "SSC," which stands for the "Starbucks Support Center.") that you could see the top of the Siren peaking out at us.  (It's most obvious in the very first photo in this article).

Then the two of us went through the drive thru.  My friend and I both ordered vegetable pockets.  They were pretty good.  My friend thought the inside texture was a bit too 'doughy' for her, but there were still good.  When I was at the walk up window, I did inquire about the breakfast sandwiches.  For a long time, SBC has offered a very nice basic egg and cheese sandwich that I like much better than the Starbucks breakfast sandwiches.  It somehow tastes fresher.  Those are still available.  There is a variety of food and drink items available.  The guy working the drive-thru appeared to be having a blast.  I snapped a cute photo when my friend leaned forward to grab some money!

IMAG3398 - 24 Nov 2012 Rose and I are at the drive through new Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3398 - 24 Nov 2012 Rose and I are at the drive through new Seattles Best Coffee
IMAG3362 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee DT menuboard sodo neighborhood
IMAG3362 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best Coffee DT menuboard sodo neighborhood
IMAG3361 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best DT menuboards
IMAG3361 - 24Nov2012 Seattles Best DT menuboards
IMAG3402 Veggie pocket from Seattles Best Coffee dt 24Nov2012
IMAG3402 Veggie pocket from Seattles Best Coffee dt 24Nov2012

  If you want to visit this little Seattle's Best Coffee, the address is 2990 Fourth Avenue South, Seattle, Washington, 98134.

This store's grand opening was November 14, 2012.

(By the way, I don't recall where I heard that there would be about 300 of these new concept drive-thrus, so if anyone has more definite information, please let me know.  I do think it's cool that they are planned to be all company-operated stores!)

I realize this little Seattle's Best Coffee blog is very quiet!  Please leave me a comment and "like" the blog!

Thank you!

Free Coffee from Seattle's Best Coffee! Black Friday Giveaway

Black Friday Free Coffee Giveaway
Black Friday Free Coffee Giveaway

Who doesn't like free coffee?  I certainly do!  Free is a fabulous price tag.  In honor of the hardworking folks who will be working on the day after Thanksgiving, Seattle's Best Coffee will be giving away free coffee.  It's a coffee break courtesy of Seattle's Best. The way it works is that you have to go to the Seattle's Best Facebook page to participate.  Look for the link that mentions Black Friday Coffee Break.  First off, you have to "like" the Seattle's Best Coffee page.  No problem.  I did that a long time ago! :)  There are 3 ways to get your free coffee - you have to pick one of them:

  1. Follow the link to request that a sample of coffee be mailed to you - it's a small sample of Level 3 coffee.
  2. Go to a Seattle's Best store on the day after Thanksgiving, and receive a free 12-ounce brewed coffee.  If you click on this one, it will give you a directory of Seattle's Best stores everywhere - a very handy list!
  3. Print a coupon for $2.00 off your next purchase of whole bean coffee at your local grocery.

Since there have to be at least a few readers out there who want to save a little bit on their coffee, I thought I would pass this along.  For me, I will be dropping by my neighborhood Seattle's Best in downtown Seattle, and enjoying free brewed coffee.

Enjoy!

(For those out there who love Twitter, you can follow Seattle's Best coffee on Twitter too.)

Denver Airport - Seattle's Best Coffee

IMAG2859 Exterior Seattles Best Cofffee SBC Denver Airport 30Sept2012 Early morning
IMAG2859 Exterior Seattles Best Cofffee SBC Denver Airport 30Sept2012 Early morning

There is a Seattle's Best Coffee in the Denver Airport!  I thought I would mention it just in case you're craving a coffee or espresso beverage, and passing through the Denver Airport.  I dropped by on September 30, 2012, early in the morning.  I think I was there before 6:00 a.m.  I was half asleep, and hungry.  I saw the Seattle's Best and took a few photos.  I will say, this wasn't my best SBC encounter.  I was hungry and wanted a breakfast sandwich, and so I was disappointed to learn that this Seattle's Best does not have a warming oven, and hence, doesn't offer any warmed breakfast sandwiches.  I have to admit, that I went on my way, and didn't actually get anything from this SBC.  Sorry to not have a better review of this store. According to the Denver Airport website, this store is in the "Jeppesen Terminal" on the west side, level 5.  I hope that helps you find it!

Here's what you're looking for:

IMAG2861 Seattles Best Coffee SBC Denver Airport 30Sept2012
IMAG2861 Seattles Best Coffee SBC Denver Airport 30Sept2012

Enjoy your coffee at the airport!

The Seattle's Best Coffee Mint Chocolate JavaKula

2 - 4 - 5424 Inside the Post Alley Seattles Best Coffee my Mint Java Kula
2 - 4 - 5424 Inside the Post Alley Seattles Best Coffee my Mint Java Kula

I have a little story to tell.  Some of you might remember that I mentioned that I did an afternoon of volunteering with Food Lifeline back in July.  Actually, I volunteered again at Food Lifeline in August, and I'm scheduled again in September.  I mentioned the July volunteering briefly in this blog article here about the Seattle's Best Red Truck.  I was with my good friend Abbey.   She is wonderful.  As I was hurrying to take photos of the Seattle's Best Red Truck, Abbey was standing around drinking the little sample beverages that Seattle's Best people were passing out.  Honestly, I was so preoccupied with taking pictures, that I don't think I actually drank anything. The big Red Seattle's Best Truck baristas were sampling the "Mint Chocolate JavaKula."

And then later, I was out with Abbey and other friends again for our regular Friday lunch routine.  We often drop by Collins for lunch on Fridays.  From there, it's a very short walk to the Seattle's Best Coffee located on the corner of 2nd and Cherry in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood.  As we left Collins, Abbey turned to me (and the other friend with us) and said, "Can we go to Seattle's Best now? There is something I want to get."  Of course, we said, "Sounds Good!"

Abbey ordered a Mint Chocolate Java Kula.  I ordered the same thing.  I figured that if Abbey was this enticed by it, I would be too.

Holy Moly. That is good.  Holy Moly.  I think I like it better than any Frappuccino that I've ever had.  Mint whip cream pretty much will curl your toes. That is delicious.  It's not too heavy, and just the right amount of chocolately-ness, and it's 100% delicious.  Abbey explained to me that she discovered it when were visiting the Seattle's Best Red Truck, and she knew she had to have it again.

Get yourself to Seattle's Best!

On that day in August, when I was at Seattle's Best, I had tweeted a photo of my beverage.  Here's the photo from the 2nd and Cherry Street Seattle's Best Coffee location:

Mint Java Kula 17 August 2012
Mint Java Kula 17 August 2012

I decided that I had to try this beverage yet again to see if it really was so very very very very yummy.  I dropped by the Seattle's Best Coffee location in Post Alley (inside Pike Place Market) and YES, it was just as good again.

Here it is one more time, and a couple of photos from the Post Alley Seattle's Best Coffee:

2 - 4 - 5424 Inside the Post Alley Seattles Best Coffee my Mint Java Kula
2 - 4 - 5424 Inside the Post Alley Seattles Best Coffee my Mint Java Kula
2 - 6 - 5421 Inside Seattles Best Post Alley
2 - 6 - 5421 Inside Seattles Best Post Alley
2 - 2 - 5422 Mint JavaKula promo sign
2 - 2 - 5422 Mint JavaKula promo sign
2 - 5 - 5425 Receipt Seattles best
2 - 5 - 5425 Receipt Seattles best

By the way, it seems like a JavaKula is a little cheaper than a Frappuccino too, which is a very nice added bonus.  I may go get one again today!  That's my little Mint Chocolate JavaKula story.  Thank you for reading it!  And if you do visit Seattle, be sure to visit the pretty Seattle's Best in Post Alley.  When I started this blog about 9 months ago, the very first photo uploaded with the Seattle's Best Coffee store at Post Alley, closed in the winter with snow around it.  It's still a beautiful picture to see!

Last but not least, be sure that you are following Seattle's Best Coffee on Twitter, and they have an official Facebook page too.  Please "like" this little blog!

There is a Seattle's Best Coffee at SeaTac Airport!

4 - 14 - 1966 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Iced coffee sign exterior SBC
4 - 14 - 1966 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Iced coffee sign exterior SBC
4 - 13 - 1964 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Sign showing SBC D concourse
4 - 13 - 1964 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Sign showing SBC D concourse

There is a Seattle's Best Coffee at SeaTac Airport!  I had been meaning to mention this for quite some time, and I thought I'd share a few photos.  You'll know just what and where to look for, if you want to try the Seattle's Best at SeaTac.  There are a few convenient signs here and there indicating that the Seattle's Best is in the D Concourse.

The exterior of the store is bright, and easy to find:

4 - 16 - 1967 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee outside
4 - 16 - 1967 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee outside
4 - 14 - 1966 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Iced coffee sign exterior SBC
4 - 14 - 1966 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 Iced coffee sign exterior SBC

  There is a long hallway of seating adjacent to the register area of this store.  One nice thing is that you'll probably be able to find a place to sit.  Above the tables hang a variety of pictures.  Somehow, my one favorite is of the guy opening his cabinet and finding all coffee cups.  I can relate to that!

4 - 15 - 1969 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee seating area copy
4 - 15 - 1969 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee seating area copy
DSC04518 SeaTac Airport Seattle Best wall poster
DSC04518 SeaTac Airport Seattle Best wall poster

I tried the iced caramel coffee on my visit to Seattle's Best.  It was definitely good.  I like SBC iced coffee, as it is prepared with a cold brew method.  However, somehow the drink seemed a little sweeter than what I am used to.  I don't know if the SBC beverage recipes call for more pumps of syrup/ sauce than their Starbucks counterparts.

Of course, the very best part of being at the airport is looking out a window and seeing this sight:

4 - 11 - 1965 SeaTac Airport view of plans on 17 June 2012
4 - 11 - 1965 SeaTac Airport view of plans on 17 June 2012

Here's are just a few more photos! You can buy whole bean at the airport location too.   (Though it seems like an odd place to buy whole bean coffee since most people aren't going to want to tote around more than they already have with them.)

4 - 18 - 1976 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee Whole Bean display
4 - 18 - 1976 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee Whole Bean display
4 - 10 - 1971 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 condiment area2
4 - 10 - 1971 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 condiment area2
4 - 12 - 1973 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Pastry case
4 - 12 - 1973 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Pastry case
4 - 17 - 1974 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee Mint Drink Poster
4 - 17 - 1974 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee Mint Drink Poster
4 - 19 - 1979 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee MenuBds
4 - 19 - 1979 Sea Tac Airport 17June2012 SeattlesBest Coffee MenuBds
IMAG1980 receipt
IMAG1980 receipt

The Seattle's Best Coffee Red Cup Showdown Truck stops by the Bite of Seattle!

Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck Sampling Event 20July2012 - 5155
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck Sampling Event 20July2012 - 5155

Today (July 20, 2012), I was at the Bite of Seattle with two colleagues, and I stumbled upon the Seattle's Best Red Cup Showdown truck!  It turns out it was just there for one day only, passing through on its way to Ohio.  I was disappointed that the truck wouldn't be there for the weekend, but apparently they have to get on the road, to get to the Ohio State Fair next. I was actually at the Bite of Seattle to participate in a Food Lifeline event, which is a fundraiser in partnership with Tom Douglas to raise money for Food Lifeline.  My friends and I were leave the Bite of Seattle, and there it was!  A HUGE Seattle's Best truck!  People in red Seattle's Best polo shirts and caps were giving out sample bags of Level 3 coffee, and there were sample cups of iced caramel lattes, and some kind of mint mocha drink too. And there was a prize wheel that you could spin too.  Prizes included coupons, Seattle's Best gift cards and more.  The prize wheel looked like a lot of fun but there was quite a line for it, so I didn't get a chance to spin it.

I did manage to snap a few photos of the big Seattle's Best Red Cup Showdown truck, and it's definitely worth sharing the pics here!

First, if you want to catch up with the Seattle's Best Red Cup Showdown truck, you can find it at these state fair events:

Ohio State Fair - July 25 - 27

 Wisconsin State Fair - August 3 - 5

Illinois State Fair - August 9 - 11

Iowa State Fair - August 13 - 15

I hope you get the chance to run into Red Cup Showdown truck!  This was definitely good luck on my part, and I got a kick out of seeing it up close and personal.  You can follow Seattle's Best Coffee on Twitter too.

Seattle's best red cup event prize wheel 20July2012 5154
Seattle's best red cup event prize wheel 20July2012 5154
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Sampling beverages 20July2012 - 5156
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Sampling beverages 20July2012 - 5156
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Fair Schedule photo taken 20July2012 5158
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Fair Schedule photo taken 20July2012 5158
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Fair Schedule photo taken 20July2012 5159
Seattle's Best Red Cup Truck - Fair Schedule photo taken 20July2012 5159

A Close up Look at the New Seattle's Best Coffee Concept Drive thru in Illinois

2 - 4 - Front of Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 4 - Front of Seattles Best Coffee drive thru

One of my regular readers (over at my other blog) recently sent me a series of photos he took while out on a visit to the new Seattle's Best Coffee concept drive-thru store.  This is a great opportunity to get a much closer look at the store that I wrote about in an article last month.  Here's the March 19, 2012, article about the new store.  By the way, I am eternally thankful for sending me these great photos! Here's the address of this Seattle's Best Coffee:

101 W. North Ave Northlake, IL 60164

(708) 562-0535

I have to say, there really are lots of things about Seattle's Best Coffee that I find fun and exciting.  Those who know me, know that I am not a fan of the drive-thru but I still love all the whimsy, and fun, and variety of products available at a Seattle's Best.  By looking at these photos, and based on my experience, it looks generally speaking that the food and baked goods at a Seattle's Best are pretty good quality.  I kind of like that it is a business that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Below are the menu boards from the drive thru.  One thing to point out is that the cookies and baked items are baked on site.  That's certainly interesting in light of Starbucks' recent experimentation with baked in-store items too.  Also, it looks like from these menu boards, that the stores tend to "feature" some very sweet espresso-based beverages.  You can buy a "Birthday Cake Latte" and a "S'Mores Mocha"!

2 - 1 - 4 drive thru menu drinks Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 4 drive thru menu drinks Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 5 drive thru Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 1 - 5 drive thru Northlake Seattles Best Coffee April 2012
2 - 2 - 2 Frozen drinks Seattles Best Coffee
2 - 2 - 2 Frozen drinks Seattles Best Coffee
2 - 3 - 5 - Snack drive thru menu Seattles Best Coffee Illinois
2 - 3 - 5 - Snack drive thru menu Seattles Best Coffee Illinois

One more thing I wanted to point out was the simplicity of their "loyalty" program.  Seattle's Best Coffee has a basic punch card.  You buy 10 drinks, the 11th one is free.  There is something to be said for a non-complicated loyalty program.  Funny thing is, I don't recall seeing these punch cards at my local Seattle's Best Coffee here in Seattle.  I will have to go take a closer look.

2 - 8 - 13 Seattles Best Coffee punch card
2 - 8 - 13 Seattles Best Coffee punch card

Here's are the rest of the photos.  My friend who took these really got some great photos!  Though it appears this store mostly has a drive thru business, there is a limited amount of interior seating too.  My understanding is that this is not a franchise store, but rather a company-operated location (meaning that the employees are partners.)  Hope you enjoyed all these pictures!   Please let me know what you think!

2 - 10 - 17 Red Verismos Seattles best coffee Northlake Illinois
2 - 10 - 17 Red Verismos Seattles best coffee Northlake Illinois
2 - 5 - 10 - Snacks at new Seattles Best store
2 - 5 - 10 - Snacks at new Seattles Best store
2 - 6 - 11 cold case Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 6 - 11 cold case Seattles Best Coffee drive thru
2 - 7 - 12 Seattles Best Coffee drive thru interior
2 - 7 - 12 Seattles Best Coffee drive thru interior
2 - 9 - 15 Interior seating Seattles best Coffee Illinois
2 - 9 - 15 Interior seating Seattles best Coffee Illinois
2 - 11 - 21 Seattles Best Coffee new store Northlake Illinois April 2012
2 - 11 - 21 Seattles Best Coffee new store Northlake Illinois April 2012
2 - 12 - 23 exterior seattles best coffee northlake illinois April 2012
2 - 12 - 23 exterior seattles best coffee northlake illinois April 2012

Seattle's Best Coffee Opens New Drive thru Concept Stores

New SBC drive thru
New SBC drive thru

I saw in the news today that Seattle's Best Coffee is opening a new drive thru concept store!  Today (3-19-2012) marks the opening day of the first one  in Northlake, Illinois.  I am not a huge fan of the drive thru, but I thought this looked kind of cool.  The official announcement about it is here.   I definitely think that SBC needs more stores, because when you're shopping for SBC items in the grocery store, you don't get any sense of the fun things that are actually offered in the store.  Maybe more people will get to try the cold brew coffee that I mentioned earlier.  I like this picture of it (taken from the Starbucks newsroom):

As I previously mentioned, the official announcement is here:

This blog is a very quiet blog compared to my other blog, but by chance do I have any readers who have gone to visit this store? (and who could send me more photos?)  By the way, it does not appear that this new store in on the Seattle's Best store locator yet, but if I get more photos, and an exact address, I will post those at a later date.

What do you think of the new concept drive thru store?

Seattle's Best merchandise at the coffee gear store

2 - 2 - 1459 Seattles Best magnets 20Feb12 coffee gear store
2 - 2 - 1459 Seattles Best magnets 20Feb12 coffee gear store

I recently had a visit to the Starbucks Coffee Gear store located inside their headquarters.  It is open to the public, Monday through Friday normal business hours.  The address is 2401 Utah Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134. The overwhelming majority of the merchandise at the Starbucks Coffee Gear Store relates to Starbucks in some way, shape, or form.  As many people know, Seattle's Best Coffee is a subsidiary of Starbucks.  I was pleasantly surprised just a couple of Seattle's Best items inside the coffee gear store.  The two Seattle's Best items I found were a cap and some magnets.  Here's they are:

2 - 3 - 1457 Seattles Best Cap 20Feb2012 Coffee gear store
2 - 3 - 1457 Seattles Best Cap 20Feb2012 Coffee gear store

I thought it would be fun to point out these two things here on this site.  I wouldn't mind seeing a few other fun merchandise items at the Coffee Gear store.  It might be fun to see a playful t-shirt with the Seattle's Best Levels on them, or coasters with the SBC logo.

If you want to read the longer article that I wrote for my other blog, click here.

The Seattle's Best Iced Coffees in a can: featuring Iced Vanilla Latte

010 canned iced coffees in the grocery store seattles best copy
010 canned iced coffees in the grocery store seattles best copy

I'm just curious what others think of the Seattle's Best Coffees that are available in grocery stores?  Have you tried them?  The three flavors are Iced Latte, Iced Vanilla, and Iced Mocha.  I definitely like the Vanilla one the best.  I'm actually a big fan of vanilla as a flavor just generally speaking, and for me this one has the right amount of sweetness.  It's not too heavy, and to me anyways, it doesn't have a canned chemically flavor.  It's been a while since I had the other two, and so I might have to re-visit them at a later time.  That'll have to be a future blog article. I went to my local QFC grocery store and found them on the top shelf:

Actually, I do have to point out that I genuinely like this packaging.  I like the top of the cardboard containers.  The design has a number of circles and in each one of them there is an image: One has an image of the Space Needle, and another has a snow flake, and several circles have words like, "milk," "sugar," and "coffee."  It's very cleverly done.  Even if I didn't like the drink, I'd like this aspect of the packaging:

026 Iced vanilla latte Seattles Best
026 Iced vanilla latte Seattles Best

When I started this blog, I warned that I might only update it about twice a month.  That still might be the pace that I work at for this site.  Hopefully, Seattle's Best will find some good things soon for me write about.

So have you tried the iced coffee drinks, and what do you think?

Seattle's Best Coffee in Tokyo

DSC_0957 copy
DSC_0957 copy

There is a Seattle's Best Coffee in Tokyo!  One of my regular readers, Kaori, said that she was out and about in Tokyo, and walked past this business which is a Seattle's Best Coffee combined with a "Pike Place Bar and Grill."  The restaurant/coffeehouse caught her eye, and she immediately thought of this blog.  She says she didn't even know there was a Seattle's Best Coffee in Japan, but she had her cell phone with her and took the three attached photos.  (Some of you may know Kaori from her popular Starbucks blog, BuckedByTheStar.) This unique store has its own website here:

Seattle's Best Coffee and Pike Place Grill

Kaori wrote me that she was very close by the Tokyo Tower when she spotted this Seattle's Best, for those who are looking for a landmark.  Per the website for this unique store, here's the address:

105-0011 東京都港区芝公園2-3-27 PR-EX 1F 1F PR-EX, 2-3-27, Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku Tokyo, 105-0011 tel: 03-6435-6633 (PIKE PLACE bar & grill) tel: 03-6435-6600 (SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE™)

I'm not sure entirely what the Pike Place Bar and Grill is - I'm not familiar with that restaurant.  But in any case, if you're in Tokyo, now you know where to go to find a Seattle's Best!

Here are the pictures.  Enjoy!  Some day, I hope to visit Tokyo.

DSC_0956 copy
DSC_0956 copy
DSC_0953 copy
DSC_0953 copy