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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 2, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Talking about coffee at the Burke Museum

coffee090109m.jpgSept. 1, 4:33 p.m. [Click image to view larger]
I had my first café con leche in my teens and indulged in cortados –Spanish for macchiatos— through my twenties. These days I have drip coffee every morning and a latte once or twice a week. I like coffee, but I know little about an industry that touches so many lives, from the farmers who grow it to the baristas who serve it, and is so much part of Seattle’s lifestyle.
To fill that gap of knowledge I visited the exhibit “Coffee, the world in your cup,” at the Burke Museum on Tuesday. “Seeing this gives you a better appreciation every time you sit to have a cup of coffee,” said Nancy Evans, who just moved here from Maryland and ended up at the museum after making a wrong turn on I-5. Since they were close to the UW campus, her friend suggested a walk and they just stumbled upon the exhibit. She raved about it. “Every Seattleite who loves the coffee culture should come see this,” she said.
A wall with several dozens of 125-pounds coffee sacks from all over the world towers over visitors in the center of the gallery. In the section about farming I was drawn to the red color of the cherries in a depulping machine used to extract the coffee beans from the cherries — I would have never associated red with coffee. Next to the machine there were different types of coffee plants and at the aroma station you could smell different roasted varieties.
Leslie Rinnan was at the exhibit with longtime friends Joyce Ford and Karen Jeffers. They share fond memories of the coffee houses around the U-district back in the 60s. “We’ve had lots of coffee together,” said Jeffers. Having visited Turkey in the past, Rinnan enjoyed the video about the origins of coffee in Ethiopia and the culture of the coffee houses in Turkey. “It’s the idea of people getting together to talk,” she said.
I had a great time sketching, learning and talking to everyone. Only the cup of coffee was missing!
If you go
This is the last weekend you have a chance to visit the exhibit before it starts touring through other museums around the country. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., also on Labor Day. Visit this link for more information.

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