Tacoma’s Marsha Glazière uses her artist’s sensibilities to capture the ambience, architectural character, motifs, furnishings, curb appeal, and distinguishing personality of 120 Eclectic Coffee Spots in Puget Sound. Her new book features 41 paintings of those that inspire her most, text, photos, maps & recipes.
If you enjoy the Pacific Northwest, then you will love this book, and the opportunity to visit the coffee shops highlighted in this collection of write-ups of coffee shops located from Bellingham to Olympia and east of Lake Washington.
And, if you are adventurous, join in the eclectic Coffee Spot Safari contest. For details visit the artist’s website.
Below we have included an excerpt of the book’s introduction:
It is very hard, if not impossible, to live in the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Puget Sound region, and not become seduced by, and ultimately become part of, the pervasive coffee culture that thrives in this part of the country—come
rain or shine.
Eclectic COFFEE Spots in Puget Sound represents my journey into the realm of coffee establishments around the Sound. It is filled with my own paintings and photographs along with impressions of what I observed taking place in various coffee spots around the region. As an artist, my goal in creating this book was to celebrate the visual and eclectic nature of a particular Puget Sound coffee spot, perhaps its ambience, its architectural character, the motif, furnishings, or curb appeal, whatever its distinguishing personality might be. My book does not
seek to focus on the characteristics of the coffee but rather on the place where we imbibe.
Coffeehouses, as we know them today, date back to 17th century Vienna and were special gathering places for people to share thoughts and conversation. But in 16th century Ethiopia, where coffee beans were first discovered, gathering together to share coffee with others was a custom in which green coffee beans were roasted right at the table, ground with mortar and pestle and then brewed. [I have actually seen this practice taking place in an Ethiopian restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida.]
In her book Coffee…discovering, exploring, enjoying, author Hattie Ellis writes, “Coffee gives people energy, and the cafés bring them together—a potent combination that has whirred the wheels of political, creative, and philosophical revolutions.” There have been many famous coffee drinkers (and cities) for whom (and where) coffee has been a focal point of daily life and inspirational thought. Some famous coffee drinkers include Balzac, who had his own blend, Goërte, Jean Paul Sartre, Napoleon, Beethoven, and Voltaire, who was known to drink fifty cups a day.
Some historians conclude that Arabian public establishments for sharing brewed coffee and conversation have been around for about five hundred years. The early popular coffeehouses of London (circa 1650) had a democratizing effect on male patrons by accommodating all social classes, but at the same time excluded women. They also provided an alternative to the pub. These coffeehouses were known as Penny Universities, since two-pence could buy one cup of coffee, as well as access to intellectual exchange, literary expression, and news of the day. They became excellent places to congregate and conduct business.
In our increasingly-fast-paced world of electronics, hyperactivity, and constant change, gathering with friends, even coffeehouse strangers, perhaps fulfills our deep-seated desire for community. Whether we engage in conversation or focus on a book, our laptop, or e-reader, or on the artwork being exhibited, being anchored in the company of others may be as satisfying as a cup of coffee itself.
My own transcendent experience with coffee began in the 1970’s. One of my family’s rituals on Saturday mornings was to eat breakfast at the Athenian in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and then meander through the many fabulous produce and craft stalls. We would explore the various shops located along the market’s charming, cobble-stoned street. On one such excursion we detected a wonderfully inviting aroma beckoning us to a shop called Starbucks.
That was in 1976 and that is where I learned that coffee did not necessarily come in a vacuum-packed tin, but rather roasted beans to be ground, brewed and savored with great intention…. forever.
Since that time, coffee itself has become a ritual for me.
In 1996, I took an artistic sabbatical, traveling from Northwest Washington to Northeast Florida. Experiencing the wonder of Big Talbot Island and other beautiful sights along the Florida coastline transformed my artwork, synthesizing years of figurative imagery and architectural abstraction with the inspiration of nature. More and more, my paintings focused on the natural environment, always subject to artistic interpretation. When I returned to Seattle in 2004, the subject of natural landscape evolved into that of urban landscape. I became fascinated by the manmade environment—bridges, buildings, and freeways.
I can’t actually pinpoint the moment when the muse struck to create a book depicting coffeehouses. As a coffee lover, I have had my share of lattés in numerous coffeehouses and, as an artist using a visual language, I have been able to reflect the world in which I find myself a part. Being immersed in a mega-culture of coffee consumption, I could not help but be influenced by and inspired to paint about my coffee going experience. However, it took at least a year for this book to incubate and ultimately command my attention.
My first step was to research books in print about coffee and coffeehouses, to see whether in fact, a similar art /coffee book existed. What I found was a multitude of books about the growing and roasting of coffee beans and the various properties attributed to coffee. The culture of coffee consumption has provided many a backdrop for books of fiction as well, (“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford is a recent example) but there were no books that specifically addressed coffeehouses in Puget Sound.
As the coffeehouse phenomenon took hold in Puget Sound, so did the desire to seek the perfect coffee spot to take a coffee break with our friends, kids, neighbors, school mates, and colleagues along with our books, electronic devices and pets. Without a doubt, each coffee establishment in the Puget Sound region offers its own distinctive and savory environment.
During my eclectic coffee spot exploration, I discovered an amazing, overwhelming at times, treasury of coffeehouses, coffee concessions, and coffee kiosks. I tried to confine my survey strictly to coffee purveyors, but increasingly found that many of these popular establishments are serving wine, beer, and cocktails, offering live music and facilitating special events, thereby extending their hours and embellishing the coffeehouse visit.
Throughout Puget Sound, coffee spots promote the quality of great coffee, engaging conversation, and the opportunity for human connection. Seattle is unique in that there are so many neighborhood villages where people stroll or bike regularly, expecting to connect with other people. In the smaller cities and towns around Puget Sound, coffeehouses are most often found in the downtown areas, which have always been the hub of everyday life.
eclectic COFFEE Spots in Puget Sound offers a glimpse into the multitude of unique and wonderful coffee establishments that have taken root and flourish throughout Puget Sound. I wanted to give a representative sampling of these places, taking into account both geography and character. Over the course of three years, I found that several coffee establishments I had visited were closed, had relocated, changed names or were now home to another type of business. Yet because of their unique visual appeal and history I have included some of them in the book.