While in Seattle for a hot minute during Starbucks Coffee College, I stopped into The Crumpet Shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market, where I tried Marmite for the first time on top of a crumpet. Marmite, a savory spread made from yeast extract, is famous for its polarizing flavor; in fact, its marketing slogan is "Love it or hate it." Although I was told I'd have a strong reaction after trying the English export, I was left feeling surprisingly ambivalent. Marmite has an extremely concentrated umami flavor reminiscent of an ultra thick soy sauce, with the pronounced aftertaste of a really stinky cheese. I'm not particularly fond of the aftertaste, but otherwise find it pretty palatable. If you've tried it, what do you think of it?
This past weekend, I had the privilege of flying out to Seattle to visit Starbucks headquarters and learn more about the company's practices, from coffee bean to cup. Fittingly, my journey started with a drop-in at the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market, the bean boutique where it all began.
Although the store moved a block south in 1977, I imagine its look didn't depart too much from the way it appears today. I didn't stay long, but left with the takeaway that even Starbucks, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, had humble beginnings when it began as a coffee roaster in the Spring of 1971.
Peek around inside the store when you keep reading.