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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

May 28, 2009 at 6:02 PM

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Coffee Club of Seattle meets in the coffee club that is Seattle

Posted by Melissa Allison



COURTESY OF MICHAEL ALLEN SMITH

Coffee Club of Seattle's new chief organizer.

In some ways, Seattle itself is a great big coffee club. But if you want to get official, the Coffee Club of Seattle will accept your reservation for any of its four or five monthly events. Be warned that you're competing with about 600 other people who get e-mail about the gatherings, many of which are filled within hours.


The guy sending the e-mails is self-employed computer programmer Michael Allen Smith, and he tries to keep the groups between 15 and 25 people to encourage conversation and not overwhelm any coffee shops.

Smith moved to Seattle from San Diego a couple years ago and took over the coffee club meet-up in January. He tries to schedule four or five events a month, about half of them casual get-togethers at local coffeehouses and the rest educational fare like brewing demonstrations, coffee cuppings and roasting tours. Recent meet-ups have been at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Makeda Coffee and Trabant Coffee & Chai.

Smith drinks four to five double espressos a day, plus tea. He also likes a good French press and rarely orders a drink with milk, although he made an exception on a trip to New Zealand, where the milk comes from grass-fed cows.

He got into coffee during college (Ohio State) and began home roasting in 1998. He knocked that off after moving to Seattle, where "they can do it much better than me."

Besides scheduling meetups, Smith also has a couple blogs devoted to coffee -- CoffeeHero.com and INeedCoffee.com -- and a few that are not, including CriticalMAS.com (they're his initials, and it has nothing to do with bicycles), DeepFitness.com and DigitalColony.com.

You can sign up for Coffee Club e-mails here. The group usually meets on Sundays at 2 p.m. and occasionally during weekdays. So far, most of the meet-ups are free.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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