the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Reminiscing on a [culture is good] entry: the café


The Starbucks phenomenon has been completely lost on me.  Never been there, never patronized the place.  I made a joke in an audio post about going to Dragonflight (SF/gaming convention) at the University of Seattle with Cimmorene and finding that the locals preferred Tully's.

Reading this post, I remembered two places I used to go to while attending college and university.

Pangea in Walla Walla (yes, it is a real town in southeastern Washington) was a coffeehouse with a decidedly bohemian feel.  It was painted with Impressionist mural designs and was a general hangout for "Whitties" (Whitman College students).  I don't drink coffee, so I remember getting loose-leaf herbal tea in big soup mugs with infusers that looked like plastic scoops you'd find in powdered drink mixes.  There were a few board games to play, but they often had themed nights– one was simply a drum jam session.  I remember some girls coming up to me later and flirting with me, I think, by saying that I looked like I had a really good time that night– I can't remember if I brought my own drum or not.  This was 1994, if I remember right.  I couldn't find the place when I came back for my honeymoon (yes, really) four years later.

D&M Coffeehouse was in Ellensburg, when I was attending Central Washington University from 1997-2000.  It didn't have the same laid-back feel the Pangea did, but I went to listen to a Guitar Performance major friend of mine.  The first time was just him, and he was alternating between classical guitar tunes and folk songs– one of them was an Ani DeFranco tune.  I remember he had put a sophisicated pickup on his guitar (I believe it was a classical design) that picked up sound from the neck so he could stay close to the pure sound classical guitarist demand but have amplification for folk tunes.  The second time he was performing with a group playing a sort of folk rock.  I remember his girlfriend explaining to me at that performance that the mandolin she had was tuned just like a violin was.

I have never been to Paris.  I know that the French have a much more relaxed approach to dining and cuisine, which is expressed somewhat in lunchtime at the café.  I remember when Cimmy bought a copy of this book and reading about how dining was more of a social event, or a relaxing part of the day.  I remembered this when watching PBS travel shows– I think it was Rick Steves' show and hearing once again how a leisurely lunch, sometimes at a café, was an important part of the day, and that it was never rushed.

Well, I guess I will go ahead and put in this audio post I referenced.  I worked for school food services during much of my undergrad time, and so I do understand how positively awful diner-style coffee can be, even if I never drank it.  I suppose that is part of the reason why people started going so nuts over Starbucks, because it was not that nasty sludge I took care of many a workday.  Enjoy, please.

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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

12 thoughts on “Reminiscing on a [culture is good] entry: the café

  1. Pangea sounds exactly like the little cafe in my grad school town–I miss that here in DFW. Despite that, I'm now making it my business to check out alternatives to Starbucks around here… Oh, no, another distraction….


  2. I would so go to drum night, even now. Funny how getting married causes your old haunts to vanish, eh?


  3. All the Starbucks around here look like little bus depots. There's no homey feel to them and they all look alike and serve the exact same food….and….and….


  4. Y'know, the funny thing is, McDonald's made such a big deal about serving coffee drinks, as you might remember, including the other Seattle variant– "Seattle's Best Coffee" (also referenced in the audio entry). Would it be a surprise, then, that the two have fit so well together? Pardon me while I roll my eyes, hehe.


  5. I know…can't you see me rolling mine ??!!!


  6. Would it surprise all of you to knwo that Seattle's Best, is actually owned by Starbucks?

    Seattle's Best Coffee®, a subsidiary of Starbucks, is a specialty coffee retailer and wholesaler based in Seattle, Washington, USA. (
    So when comparing McDonald's to Starbucks… none is needed because it's the same!


  7. Well whattya know. Didn't know that, but it makes perfect sense. Not too surprised at all.


  8. I chalk it up to the kids moving on to something else or just the general shelf-life of the small business, in that some keep going, and others keep failing.I do have a few new haunts 🙂 Not quite as exciting and no drum nights, but it's not too bad.


  9. i think people are beginning to see that $5 for a cup of coffee is too much! starbucks are going away here in mn slowly… although i will have to admit it's getting harder to find niche cafes around here when you need that burst of coffee.


  10. Starbucks for me is sort of like Wendy's; something to have while on the road now and then, but not bother with otherwise. I liked a summer iced coffee they had, but mostly here we refer to those places as "Burnt Seattle," because we aren't fans of the way they do their beans. Plus, they are not as fair trade as they claim to be. I can do a large organic fair trade cup at home with cream and sugar for about a dollar, still expensive, but much tastier for a treat anyway.


  11. The places you describe remind me of Royal Oak, Michigan, and also Ann
    Arbor, and also a couple places near Red Bank, New Jersey.Having visited Ann Arbor, at least, I guess that's a fair enough statement. I'm also reminded of a "hole in the wall" Korean place a friend took me to when we were in Seattle. Then there are the little Mexican restaurants I go to that are generally so similarly small they aren't catering so hard to the gringos and I can have something like a seafood or goat meat soup.Granted these aren't coffehouses but any establishment that is humble and very locally run is enjoyable for me.


  12. I don't like Starbucks.Thats all.


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