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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

May 21, 2010 at 2:27 PM

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Weekend Wrap: Coffee Strong raises money to help G.I.s, Starbucks gives away summer event tickets

Posted by Melissa Allison

  • The comic strip Betty took a few swipes at Fair Trade coffee this week, saying it doesn't taste good even if it's doing good. Of course, there are questions about whether Fair Trade is as good as its marketing.

  • Caffe Vita coffee is fueling three guys who left Seattle this week on a mission to document the American urban farm movement. Called Breaking Through Concrete, the project will take a photographer, writer and videographer through 15 cities before ending in Grayslake, Ill., on July 4. The material will go into a book to be published next year. You can follow the trip on Caffe Vita's blog and at

  • Coffee Strong, a coffeehouse just outside Fort Lewis that is run by the non-profit G.I. Voice, is trying to raise $6,000 to advertise its services to the roughly 10,000 soldiers who will return there from Iraq and Afghanistan over the next three months. The coffeehouse is staffed with G.I. rights counselors and makes referrals to mental health counseling services and veterans benefits advocates. "We need your contribution to ensure that any soldier who needs help will get it, and many are denied services due them. Together we can save lives and make sure that no one falls through the cracks because nobody is there to listen," G.I. Voice and Coffee Strong Executive Director Seth Manzel said in an e-mail to potential supporters. Donations are being taken on its web site.

  • The G.I. coffeehouse also has a Facebook page with nearly 1,000 people who like it, far less than Seattle's biggest coffee company. In the Facebook switch from fans to "likers," Starbucks' following dropped dramatically from last summer to 1.9 million, once again putting it behind Coca-Cola.

  • is stoked about the Nekisse beans that recently arrived at Seattle's Fonte Coffee Roaster from southern Ethiopia. Rather than charge $12 a cup like one New York cafe, Fonte will sell the coffee at its usual prices -- $2.69 for a 16-ounce cup of drip coffee or $2.85 for a personal French press. The beans can be bought at the downtown cafe (and by June 1 online) for $24.50 a pound or $12.50 a half pound. Fonte's roaster, Steve Smith, estimates the supply will last through August, depending on demand.

  • Duane Kapovich, who works at Starbucks' 7th and Pike store in downtown Seattle, will throw out the first pitch at the Mariners game tonight, launching a five-week promotion in which the company is giving away free tickets to summer events after 2 p.m. on Fridays. It's one ticket per person while supplies last, which was 5 or 10 minutes this afternoon, when shops gave away Mariners tickets. Give-aways on future Fridays are for (May 28) free tickets to the Seattle International Film Festival, (June 4) free tickets to the Seattle Art Museum, (June 11) free child's ticket to the Seattle Aquarium and (June 18) free tickets to "Burn The Floor" at The Paramount Theatre. Kapovich and his son, Barrett, are serious fans, having attended the groundbreaking for Safeco Field and the July 1999 opening game, when the Mariners played the Padres as they are tonight. Maybe it has something to do with Barrett's birthday: April 3, 1989, the day Ken Griffey Jr. debuted in the Major League.

  • Starbucks' lobbying efforts pale next to the banking industry's, but its spending more than doubled to $180,000 in the first quarter from $80,000 a year ago. It's on track to spend roughly the same on lobbying as it did last year.

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