[By Tina Koyama in Seattle] Seattle is known for two things: rain and coffee. As a Seattle native and lifelong resident, I’m here to tell you that the whole rain thing has been exaggerated (well, maybe not this year). But coffee is a reputation we deserve. After all, where would urban sketchers go during all those months of continual drizzle if not for the more than 200 coffee shops within Seattle’s 84 square miles (2.5 shops for every 1,000 citizens)?
Urban Sketchers Seattle has gathered several times, always in the rainy months, at the mothership of all coffee shops: the Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. To call the Roastery a “coffee shop” is misleading. You can’t get an ordinary tall latte there. This place is all special: All the coffees are limited-quantity, doubly priced Starbucks Reserve coffees. The cups are nicer than at an ordinary Starbucks, the coffee bags are prettier (they come with a fancy little clip on top), the tables (“custom designed for the space and manufactured by hand,” says the brochure) and chairs are more comfortable. My husband says that even the baristas have better haircuts.
The huge space is filled with copper piping and transparent pneumatic transfer tubes filled with coffee beans being transported along “the journey of the bean.” When you’re washing your hands in the unisex restroom area (how European!), you can look out over the inner workings of the small roasting equipment. Whatever your opinion might be about Starbucks, you have to admit that the Roastery is amazing.
Overwhelmed as I always seem to be when I’m there, I try my best to hone in on manageable compositions in the enormous and intimidating space, but it’s challenging, to say the least. Shown here are a few sketches I made during various visits, usually with USk Seattle, since 2014 when the Roastery first opened. You can almost see where the caffeine kicks in and my lines start to get jittery!
We’ve all heard the joke about how Seattleites don’t tan; we rust. But at least we’re wide awake.