Seattle: The First Starbucks Store

Suanne and I must have a cuppa every morning. For some reason, we had never really liked the coffee from Starbucks. If we wanted coffee, we would head to Tim Horton’s.

While we were still in the Pike Place Market, we thought we make a visit to the first Starbucks outlet. This is (almost) where the it all began, where the first of trillions of cups were served. For coffee lovers, I guess visiting the first Starbucks is like a pilgrimage.


I said this is “almost” the first Starbucks. The actual first Starbucks is located just 500 ft from this shop. In many ways, this outlet can be considered as the first Starbucks. You see, when Starbucks were first opened in the earlier location, they only sold coffee beans and equipment for about 11 years. It was only after they moved to this location that the first cup coffee was brewed.

It goes without saying that Starbucks is now the biggest coffeehouse on the planet. But guess you would not have guessed it was started by three teachers.


The Starbucks logo is a green circular logo with a kind of a mermaid on it. This store sports the original all brown logo. Besides the colors, do you know what is the main difference between the original and the current one? Well, the original logo has the mermaid with exposed breasts. The current one is more modest and I think the reason it was changed was because when Starbucks went international, the original logo could be kind of sensitive in many other countries. That’s my theory.


The store was packed — many of whom are tourists who just wanted to have a piece of history. Right up front is a bronze plaque proclaiming this is indeed “The First”. The store was terribly crowded — I was not surprised.

BTW, anyone knows the origin behind the Starbucks name? Sounds like it’s named after a sci-fi movie or something.

Anyway, although Starbucks is the king of the hill in the world of coffee, Seattle is equally famous for their other two brands of coffeehouses … Seattle’s Best and Tully’s Coffee. If there is a coffeehouse capital in the world, I guess that would be Seattle.

OK, here is another theory of mine. I think coffee consumption is the highest in places where the weather is cold, drabby, and damp. There is nothing like a nice hot aromatic cup of coffee on a cold day.


We got ourselves a Frap and a cup of latte. For the life of me, I could never order a cup like some people do. For me, it’s easier saying I wanted a medium latte.

You experts tell me … why don’t Starbucks just size their drinks small-medium-large? Why confuse people with sizes like venti, grande and what’s the other size?

Tim Horton’s is still the best for us.

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  1. Eric

    Fantastic Pics the mother ship!

  2. MoMo

    I like Starbucks the most because it is the strongest coffee I can find so far. I am guess that’s one of the reasons why Starbucks is the king of the hill in the world of coffee.

    I drink coffee not for waking myself up besides taste, just like most adults. I did the test. I find that Starbucks can last me 4 to 5 hours of high energy. I don’t feel sleepy until night. Other brands? 2 to 3 hours if I am lucky. Usually 1 hour of being awake.

    I tried to switch before. I failed miserably. I would have a cup of non Starbucks in the morning and then ran to Starbucks for a cup of coffee hours later because I simply couldn’t stay awake. Especially there’s no sunlight during winter in Vancouver,I really need strong coffee to make me sober all day.

    If anyone knows any brand even stronger than Starbucks, please let me know. It doesn’t have to have retail stores. It can be just a brand of coffee beans or ground coffee on the supermarket shelf.

  3. Chris

    I vote for Timmy’s anytime though had a bit of concern when they fired that poor single mom for giving away a 16c timbit! Glad to see she got rehired but hope the overzealous manager got reprimanded as well for, er, having his knickers in a knot!

  4. carla

    The name “Starbucks” was developed by an ad agency which the company hired. They asked for a “catchy” name that would be easy to remember.

  5. StyleDish

    I use to be a frappucino addict and then when I read a grande frapp with whipped cream has the same amount of calories as a big mac…I stopped. I also started to go to the local coffee shops and found good ones like JJ Beans and love Cafe Artigiano.

    Also Starbucks isn’t doing so well. Maybe it’s the effect of the US economy downturn but in its history, the last 2-3 quarters they’ve started to see a drop in their sales.

  6. RobynT

    Starbuck is a character in Moby Dick. I heard that’s where the name came from and that’s why their logo is a mermaid. I also heard that the guy who came up with this either left or was squeezed out of the company before it got big. I think I read it in the latest Mental Floss (trivia magazine).

    I prefer Seattle’s Best to Starbucks, but I admit I often go to Starbucks since they are everywhere! I’ve been meaning to try Tim Horton’s but haven’t got around to it yet.

  7. seaghost

    Ever since you started the Seattle blogs, I have been hoping you would do something on Starbucks as I am a barista there. 😀

    RobynT is correct. It’s named after the character in Moby Dick, Starbuck.

  8. monkey

    I am enjoying your documentation of the family’s Seattle adventures. Thanks for this, as I know your experiences will come in handy when I organize a trip there.

    I prefer Timmy’s coffee over Starbucks. Starbuck’s coffee tastes burnt to me and needs to be more mellow in flavour.

  9. robinchambers

    I worked for Starbucks for six years. The “Mermaid” is a “Siren” taken from the book Moby Dick, as well as the name, after “Captain Starbuck” Seattle’s Best is now owned by Starbucks. Starbucks has a stronger flavor because it is roasted longer,if it taste burnt it is probably because the espresso machine in not calibrated correctly.

  10. imey

    do you know why Seattle is the chosen place of starbucks coffee??

    1. Ben

      Hi Imey: Chosen? Sorry, I am not following your question. Ben

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