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Coffee City

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

December 7, 2010 at 2:56 PM

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Lynnwood cafe bought, renamed; dozens more coffee shops still for sale

Posted by Melissa Allison

photo.JPGThe recession has put a lot of Seattle-area coffee shops on the market, and one was bought this fall by former banker Steve Cousins.

The old Sip Coffee at 16108 Ash Way in Lynnwood reopened this week as Starling Coffee, a venture that Cousins, who was laid off by Seattle Savings Bank (now Seattle Bank), financed by converting his IRA into a self-directed 401(k). By putting the business inside the 401(k), he avoids the massive tax penalty of withdrawing retirement money early. Sounds like something a banker would know about, eh?

Cousins also did his due diligence at Sip, spending a month hanging out in the cafe and watching how the business worked.

It took about a month to remodel, and Cousins chose Bellevue roaster Kuma Coffee, whose owner, Mark Barany, is among the first in the country to disclose how much he pays for his green coffee beans.

Starling offers Kuma's Red Bear Espresso Blend and a single-source espresso that will rotate each month. This month it's from Ethiopia.

Consultant Sarah Dooley trained Starling's baristas, including Courtney Keane, who's in the photo above taken by Barany.

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