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July 09, 2009


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That is just too funny. The real question is, IF Howard stops into Occhio, will he get coffee right away, or have to wait 4 minutes for it to be brewed, or will he have to persuade them that he doesn't want an Americano?

oh ok

I bet they offer him a french press


@oh ok - I am going to find out what their coffee is like and whether they have some on the brew! I just google-mapped it, and Occhio appears to be a fairly short walk from my office - about 8/10 of a mile or a little less (It appears to be half way between me & the SSC).

I just called and they're open until 5 during the week, but open late tonight because of a game! Perfect!!!! I can walk quickly over there after work today and try their coffee!


Do it Melody and report back! :-)


Will do! And it is a beautiful sunny Seattle day for a short walk to go explore a new coffee house! :-)

Sounder Commuter

I have actually burned through 2 punch cards at Occhio and will continue to rack up punches. The sign is awesome and the coffee has way more flavor than Starbucks!

Sounder commuter


What did you drink commuter? Drip? I really think that's a bit dramatic either way. Although some knocks on Starbucks may be valid, Starbucks coffee is certainly not bland and flavorless, so no reason to act like its Budweiser to Bass Ale, or Kia to BMW. Seriously.

I still don't really understand the phoenomenon of people coming onto this site that dislike Starbucks in every way, regardless of the issue (I'm not specifically referring to you Sounder Commuter since I know nothing about where you're coming from). If you people hate it as much as you do, with all do respect, why would you waste your time blogging about it?


Melody, your first post made me LOL. Though you may not have intended it as such, you set up the perfect slap in the face to Howard. The sad irony is that he would probably not get that in Occhio's store, but his own! :/

Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

To be fair, he said nothing about Stabucks Coffee being bland or flavorless, just that this other coffee has MORE flavor.


Melody???? Where are you???


Howard is certainly welcome at Trabant Coffee as well. Lots of SBUX baristas and corporate folks come here for the coffee. And we have Clovers too!


Hi I just got back from Occhio!! Wow that was fun! The business is run by the cutest married couple ever. As the two of them talked to me for a full 45 minutes, you could see the adorable pink and red hearts evaporating up over their heads.

I was the only customer in there for about 45 minutes, and so they took the time to lavish me with attention. I told them I wanted to test them out because I'd heard from both Twitter and Starbucks Gossip about the Howard sign! They laughed and said they'd gotten several phone calls about it, and had no idea it would get them so much attention. But they say they do get Starbucks employees dropping in now and then.

I asked what was on the brew, and John Gascon (one of 3 business owners) said he'd just started brewing Columbia El Jordan, a single origin bean from Stumptown. All their beans come from Stumptown.

So we talked for just a few minutes and then the coffee was ready. It was a fine basic coffee. Reminded me quite a bit of Starbucks' Bella Vista offering earlier this year - a definite sparkle to it. I'd get bored with it, if it were all they offered, but John says they change the daily brew about once every 2 weeks, but will do any coffee as a french press.

The real treat while I was there was the cold brewed coffee!! Wow! People on MSI come on all the time suggesting that Starbucks offer a cold brewed coffee, and I vote those threads down thinking, 'that doesn't sound very good' but my goodness, what a treat! Maybe I should rethink that! (Link in name for this post is to an MSI thread on cold brewed coffee).

At Occhio they use Stumptown's Ethiopia Wondo coffee and cold brew it for about 18 hours. It is amazing - strong blueberry notes in it, and not too powerful, but yet so flavorful! With a little sugar, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That is worth making another trip back there on a hot day! I'd rather have that than an ordinary Iced Coffee.

One of the 3 business partners is an artist, and did the Howard Schultz drawing.

What a friendly wonderful experience. The two of them were truly passionate about coffee. Erica Gascon (another busines owner) persuaded me to buy an Occhio t-shirt. I said I wanted one with the Howard Schultz likeness, and they said they'd work on getting some of those made since the sign has been a hit!

Friendliness of employees: A+
Quality of coffee: A+
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes!

Please pardon typos - no time to check for them.


Melody your very first post made me crack up too! I have a question for you: what does a "cold brew" entail? I've never heard of this! It sounds amazing.


This is so funny. I love howie jokes!

Pat Nerr drinks there too but pays...

Cold Brew coffee used to be called "Toddy Coffee"... You might recognize a Toddy maker... it's a large white tub that sits on top of a carafe... the coffee is filtered through a thick, white, cotton filter and the final product is a thick, rich, concentrate. You then can pour that over ice or add some hot water to drink it hot...

it removes the acidity from coffee and gives it a smooth taste... worth a try. Glad to see that Occhio is returning this kind of coffee culture to Seattle in the SODO neighborhood... Lord knows Starbucks ain't. I'll add to the thread that Occhio is good and the service is great. Just the place to go if you want truer coffee experience. The fact that they use Uncle Howie's picture is hilarious... he drinks for free... funny. Cheap bastard would prolly go there to save a buck for himself...

Starbucks Gossip webmaster

Good report, Melody. Thanks for it.


I promise you, competition is good! It only ensures that we work harder to improve our quality! I hope Howard goes over there. How neat would that be? (Although unlikely.)


Hey Cam, I think he should go try the cold brew coffee. Obviously the la marzocco they use is not the enticement, but he should try something totally different because what if Starbucks wants to test a cold brew coffee? I'd love to be there for that! LOL.

@WebmasterJim - you're welcome. I have the owner's business card, and his last name is "Gascon" not "Gason" - I think you have a typo in your blog entry.

coffee in exile

cold press coffee is the only iced coffee worth drinking, in my oh so humble opinion. super bold taste but smooh; the only problem is that it has to brew at least 12 hours, which means that partners will have to be on top of pars and on top of making up the batches to brew overnight.


My manager makes cold brew coffee for us sometimes in the back of the store :) It's a rare treat.


Oh my this cold brew coffee sounds amazing... I can't believe that I've never heard of it! I agree that it might be difficult to implement at Starbucks because of the brew time. I'd love to make some at home, though; it sounds like quite a treat!

The article was pretty funny... it is so interesting to see the personalities that show up in independent coffee stores. That is not to say that Starbucks stores don't have personalities -- it just seems like other places have more leeway in that area.


Yeah Melody!!!!! That was an awesome report! I loved reading every word of it!!!!

Nice to see people reporting on other stores/cultures here too so Starbucks employees and visitors can see what competition has to offer outside the world of green aprons!!!!

Thank you so much Melody!


Nice report Melody. This place sounds like several high quality independents in my city.

Regarding Starbucks...The last couple of days, I've been on a french press kick. Instead of just drinking the PPR that's on the brew during the 'all day marathon', or drink the offered Americano...I've had french presses of the new RED Africa blend and the Arbian Mocha Sunani. Once you pour the coffee press into your cup and let the flavor settle for about 60 seconds then drink, VIOLA! Some of the best tasting bold coffee you have ever tasted.


vincent, I think you mean "Voila" ... a viola is a musical instrument :)


Kenya and Gazebo are perfect cold brew coffees. Sidamo is also amazing this way. Stay away from Espresso Roast, French Roast and Italian as the smoothnes of those gets lost. While the other three's bright, crisp notes are highlighted. When brewing cold press you can also throw in some fruit to complement the coffee- oranges, grapefruits, limes, mangos. Try it!!


has anyone noticed any difference in the taste of brewed coffee with fresh grinding?

Dunkin' Dough Nut

Melody, I always thought you 'sounded' like a nice person but now I also know you're a fair person and objective on rating independents, so your posts will be credible in the future to me: You are not just a Starbucks clone/fanatic. You really DO look for and appreciate great coffee. By the way, I made a phone call from So. Calif. to their store yesterday just to say I admired their 'guts/spunk/moxy'..whatever.


Sorry if I sound stupid but how does Starbucks make the iced coffee? Apparently not cold brewed but is it just regular brewed? It does taste different at different stores.


Tarraza (SP?) is brewed with a full batch in it on a half batch brewing. It's evenly divided between two pitchers then filled with ice to the top. It's then stirred and dated for 8 hours.

Barista from 2005-2008

This cold brew sounds delicious! Tell me, anyone here tried Greek coffee? By Greek coffee, I mean the stuff that is made with a briki or whatever that pan is called. You can make it sweet, medium sweet, etc.


Posted by that_girl: 'I think you mean "Voila" ... a viola is a musical instrument :)'...

Yeah, that's what I meant, the dislex kicked in.

Herman M

Why do people often sound surprised that Starbucks folk would go to other coffee establishments? Personally, on my off day I never go into a store. I hit any number of local places, the odds of being asked something work related are much, much lower.

Some of them have great coffee, some really bad. But each has its own community and I enjoy being a part of each of them. And, as I said, no one asks we to work. ;-)

Barista: I have several ibriks and a hand cranked mill that I use to make coffee on occasion. The ibriks were given to me by a colleague from Algeria years ago as a birthday present. Delicious, but only if you remember the sugar. While there are minor differences, you will find that coffees such as "Turkish", "Greek", and even "Cuban" are all plays on a similar theme. Grind the coffee extremely fine, add sugar and water, boil, pour off the top into a small glass. I particularly like doing it for company.


SBC has had cold brewed coffee for a while now. They sell the cold brew pitchers and the whole deal.


Well I see that this company uses Stumptown beans. I love starbucks for the lattes, but Stumptown is the only coffee I can drink black.


Barista Bob had to know he'd be banned for his anti-Semitic remark (which I've deleted) -- and he has been.


Webmaster, I guess BaristaBob won't be writing a column for you. In the recent open thread, he was volunteering his services to you as a "5 year disgruntled barista". ;-)

@Cheeky - All Starbucks Iced Coffee is "double strength" brewed (see post below you also). So if you want Kenya as an iced coffee in a Clover store, the barista measures out the amount of grams of beans for a grande size beverage but programs the machine to brew 8 ounces of water for it. It works! I had an Iced Gazebo at lunch today.

The thing with the cold brew is that the flavor was very smooth. Very hard to describe.

@Herman M - The "cubano" has sugar mixed directly into the freshly ground espresso for your shot. This can only be done with a manual machine. I've had a cubano shot at 1912 Pike Place and it does add noticeable sweetness to it! Wonderful!


Hey here is a link* with a pic of Howard Schultz that this original funny story is based upon:


(*I can't take credit for finding that link/pic. "SlayerEspresso" called my attention to it.)

The art impresses me!


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I love it! Most lil kids want tolcohace milk and yours want tolcohace peppermint lattes from Starbucks.! :) If I ever become a mom.. I'm gonna be like you. <3


thanks for the quick responce,i dont have a frnech press handy so i always use two jars.i use a tea(round ball)filter when transfering the cofee but once i seperate the coffee concentrate from the first jar there is always still a bit of mudd at the bottom as if it were turkish coffee.


Thanks for this video, now I don't have to go out and buy a Toddy brewer. I have a qtsouien though what ratio of water to coffee do you use for hot coffee? Is it a 3 to 1 ratio just like the Toddy brewer?


Hey, Nate. Nice video. Thanks for walking us hortugh the process. I have a Toddy, and my instructions say to add a final total of 12 cups of water to the pound of coffee (and dilute it to 4:1). I find that it gets pretty frickin' close to the top, and even overflows a little (which is terrible, considering what a mess coffee grinds can make), so I have been using a large stainless pot to mix it in prior to brewing, (and, as per the Toddy's instructions) doing the 2 cups of water, (more)

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