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.

IMAG8271 Gingerbread Frozen drink at SBC Nov 2013

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!

Then, just yesterday (on December 10th), I had occasion to drop by the Seattle’s Best Coffee in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.  I immediately thought it was very cute how SBC had made it look like their little drive-through only store was adorned with a bow and ribbon.

IMAG8475 SBC - outside of building with a bow on it - 10 Dec 2013IMAG8474 SBC - outside of building with a bow on it - 10 Dec 2013

 

 

While visiting this drive-thru SBC, I decided to try the frozen Candy Cane Mocha, also a seasonal holiday beverage available now at Seattle’s Best Coffee.  It has a nice minty flavor, and I like that the whipped cream comes with little tiny pieces of candy canes on it.  The candy cane topping was delicious!  The mint wasn’t too sugary, and had a nice complementary flavor to the candy cane topping.

IMAG8478 Candy Cane Frozen Mocha - 10 Dec 2013

^ I definitely give that two thumbs up, and would order it again.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the signage for the holiday drinks.  (Again, the photos were taken at the SBC drive thru).  Hope you enjoyed this quick trip to SBC!

IMAG8476 Signage for holiday Candy Cane mocha - 10 Dec 2013IMAG8473 Signs for holiday drinks at SBC 10 Dec 2013

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IMAG6870 Exterior Renton SBC 2Sep2013If 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 - 2Sep13By 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 2Sep13This 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 copyIMAG6879 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!)

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IMAG6324 Seattles Best Coffee History LessonI 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 2IMAG6326 1992 Pike Place Market Cookbook

 

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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:

IMAG5759 Irvine Seattle's Best Coffee 26June2013Seattle’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

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 viewIMAG5765 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 - IMAG5781Lake Forest Starbucks June 2013 IMAG5792Lake Forest Starbucks Patio seating June 2013 IMAG5793Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee near register 27June2013 IMAG5785Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee IMAG5776IMAG5775 Lake Forest Seattle's Best Coffee June 2013

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

July 2, 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 […]

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The deliciousness of the Mint Chocolate Chip Mocha – Iced or Frozen, at Seattle’s Best Coffee

June 2, 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 […]

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Seattle’s Best Coffee: The Red Box

April 21, 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 […]

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Seattle’s Best Coffee launches cute mini-sized red drive thrus!

November 24, 2012

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 […]

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

November 8, 2012

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 […]

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Denver Airport – Seattle’s Best Coffee

November 5, 2012

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, […]

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