Blame Germany for my love of coffee. My first cup of coffee was at breakfast in a village near Trier a few decades ago.
I had one cup. I drank it black. The taste was wonderful.
I guess I have been looking for that same taste ever since.
After living in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-seventies, I have eaten at or have had take-out at quite a few restaurants, bakeries and fast-service food places.
I had an idea that I would go into the coffee business a few years ago and did a lot of coffee tastings and talked to a number of coffee growers and distributors.
The restaurants where I have eaten, for example, Piazza D’Angelo Ristorante, have great tasting house coffees.
However, the worst-tasting local coffee has been from a long-time favorite fast-service food business … McDonald’s.
I was a manager at McDonald’s a few decades ago. The training was exceptional. You had to be certified through testing in every phase of your training. And, the coffee was good.
Today, McDonald’s coffee is my least favorite coffee because of taste.
I had the opportunity to work at Starbucks a few years before I worked for McDonald’s. I did not get a great feeling about their training until I left my position as a barista and became a regular customer.
There was a time when you had to make a dash for the door at Starbucks because they wanted to share a lot of information about their coffee while you were in line and in a rush to get caffeine. That spoiled me.
Although all the stores are corporate-owned (according to corporate employee in recent telephone call), the inconsistency in coffee offerings and knowledge about their coffee by employees is distressing. Each store manager has some input into which coffees to be brewed for sale and the time of day for selling those coffees.
The Terra Linda and Point Richmond stores have exceptional managers and employees. The workers are friendly and knowledgeable.
Peet’s Coffee … is just consistently good at every store that I have visited in Marin.
The new kid on the block reminds me of the old Starbucks … that new kid is Equator Coffees.
The times that I have visited their stores in Mill Valley have impressed me tremendously with their friendliness and the employees’ knowledge about their products.
Equator Coffees is the coffee that I am drinking when dining at Piazza D’Angelo’s in Mill Valley … delicious.
There are numerous other restaurants that have great tasting coffee and unfortunately, the coffee may be the only thing that taste good at their establishments because of the inconsistent food taste and table service.
In case you haven’t heard, Taste Marin is having a one-day dining event in Marin County.
Our event is titled “I Am Taste Marin” to acknowledge the San Francisco Bay Area culinary consumers who travel all over the North Bay, East Bay, San Francisco and the South Bay seeking great food and drink experiences.
We have signed-up quite a few people and are looking for quite a few more … 100.
We will have 100 culinary consumers eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at 100 restaurants and food and drink vendors in Marin.
Each culinary consumer will eat and write about their experience, with photos, and Taste Marin will post the experience, with their byline, on our Taste Marin blog.
We are looking for that diamond in the rough, that little-known artisan or that well-known restaurant to be known as the best bet in Marin for culinary consumers.
The date of our event is Wednesday, May 27.
Sign-up to participate here: i am taste marin.