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!)

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

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!

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!

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

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