Seattle’s Caffeinated History


Our Urban Espresso

The Urban Espresso is a blend created for the urbanites on the move. Created in 1998, this blend was made to delight and surprise the average coffee drinker. The smooth and spicy blend keeps you satisfied and content all day. The creators wanted something to offer their customers that was unlike any espresso they had tried before. Created in one of their first coffee shops located in Mukilteo, Washington, the Urban Espresso has become a staple to many Seattleites daily lives. Read the Urban Espresso Blend inspired story below and discover how coffee was started and came to be in Seattle.

The History of Seattle’s Espresso

Where is the line drawn between art and business? Is it intent? Commitment to craft? The road that brought espresso to its place of prominence in Seattle cuts between both houses. Coffee is nothing new. It wasn’t even “new” when the Northwest transformed it from business as usual into a sort of social art. Coffee was already centuries old when it fueled America’s cowboys. It is, next to oil, the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world.

As with so many staples, there are those content with the utilitarian version and those who strive for something better. At the cusp of the coffee movement, espresso was still derided as “nasty Italian stuff” by most Americans, who were happy enough with instant crystals. Then came the artists. Much of what makes Seattle’s coffee scene unusual is the willingness of people here to shun the ordinary. At the head of that group are those willing to work, take a risk, and drag the extraordinary into the light.

There was visionary and entrepreneur Dave Olson, who opened the first true espresso bar in Seattle, Café Allegro. Five or six years before that, even, Jim Stewart was purchasing green beans to roast and sell out of an ice cream and coffee shop in Coupeville, on Whidbey Island. Across the Sound, Northwesterners were developing a more nuanced love of coffee. Experimentation yielded dramatic flavor differences, and the promise of something special.

Meanwhile, in his Seattle restaurant, Kent Bakke was tinkering with an inherited espresso machine that seemed more like a ticking time bomb, coaxing out maybe a half dozen cappuccinos on a busy day. While local roasters were perfecting the art of the roast, Bakke was determined to deliver the equipment for the next step in the game. A trip to Italy brought that dream closer to home. Seattle today is as famed for superior brewing equipment as it is for above par brews. Even the engineers here refuse to leave “well enough” alone.

Our Inspiration for the Southpaw Blend

It is a business, sure, and a successful one at that. But behind and beneath the business, from the farmer to the barista, is a commitment to perfection that could only be called art.

Brewing Guide

Below are some basic recipes outlining what we found produced the best cup with this coffee, however we encourage each home brewer to experiment and modify these recipes to suite their own tastes.

French Press Brewing Guide

Coffee: 40g
Grind: Medium coarse (Slightly finer than sea salt)
Water: 600g 93°C/199°F
Total Brew Time: 15 Minutes
Yieldes appx. 2 cups


1. Preheat the French press by filling it with hot water
2. After heating the French press, dump the water out and fill with ground coffee.


3. Pour all of the hot water over the ground coffee. Start the timer and stir for 30 seconds.
4. Secure the top with the filter pulled up. Wait for the coffee to brew.
5. When the timer reaches 5:00 remove the top, stir briefly, and secure top back on.
6. Wait an additional 10 minutes. Press the filter down and decant the coffee into mugs to serve or another vessel.