From the Road: Pilgrimage to 1st Starbucks

— by Caroline on Crack


Made a special side trip to the sight where all the magic began: the first Starbucks store ever.

When it first opened in Pikes Place Market in 1971, they only sold coffee beans. But thanks to Howard Schultz, who joined the company in the ’80s and who was inspired by the cafes of Europe, they started selling customized coffee drinks.

Pikes Place Starbucks displays the original company logo — a bare-breasted siren which looks lifted from an antique wood block carving.

The coffee drink prices were cheaper, with my usual grande iced caramel macchiato costing 60 cents less. Unfortunately, tastewise, the drink wasn’t remarkable. Not as much syrup and the coffee was kinda weak. Hm.

At this location, of course there’s loads of memorabilia for the freaky Starbucks fan….like me. I had to buy a coffee mug with the original logo on it as well as a gift card that you can only get at this location that displays the interior of the store.

The store itself is the only Starbucks I’ve ever been in with that laidback independent coffeehouse feel — decorated with wood shelves and loads and loads of boxes stored out in the open.

Tourists swarmed around the storefront, taking pictures in front of the original logo displayed on the window while a trio of musicians played to the passing pedestrians.

I felt ridiculous making a big deal about it all — it’s a coffee shop for chrissakes! So I refused to pose in front of it like it was Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

But to see that they kept this Starbucks in its fairly original state of uncorporate undress was a novelty worth beholding.

Pikes Place Market
Seattle, Washington

1,137 miles from L.A.