This past weekend I was at Qwest Field to check-out the Sounders rout the New York Red Bulls 2-0. It was a great game, although I missed the first score because I was in the middle of ordering an extremely salty, relatively tiny but expensive hotdog and complaining to the lady behind the counter about the exorbitant prices and the fact that I was a captive audience. Checking the price listing, I saw they had drip coffee for $5.00 but no espresso. When I asked them about espresso, they pointed me to an espresso cart that I had walked by without really noticing.
Well, at least they had an espresso cart, but then I wondered, if they were selling drip for $5.00, than how much more would they add to the prince of espresso drinks? Shockingly, the prices were actually very reasonable considering the location, captive audience and all that. They actually had 16oz lattes for only $5.00. Ok, I can buy that, no problem.. The second surprise, which in some way was not really, was that the espresso cart was serving Café Appassionato espresso.. and not Starbucks. I say that it was not much of a surprise because I know that Appassionato does have their Seattle Seahawks special blend, that also includes the Seahawks logo on the coffee cup. Of course this was soccer match, not American football, so none of the Seahawks football nonsense here… and I was glad that they were not serving Starbucks at all.
I kind of felt bad for the lady manning the cart especially since she was pretty much solo… which is not the way to run an espresso cart in a sports stadium in America. Even though the line to the cart was relatively short when I went to order my latte, it took quite a while for me to get to the front of the line to place my order. And this was during the first half while the teams were still playing. Later, I returned during the half-time period and there was a really, really long line that snaked around the ‘food court area’ at Club Wells Fargo club level I highly doubt that she was going to be able to serve in the line everyone before half-time was over and there were still more joining the line. And I’ve been there… sort of… and I know how busy it can get for her because a couple of summers back I volunteered to run one of the espresso stands at the Seattle Mariners baseball stadium and even though I had help, I remember how busy we were especially in-between innings or breaks.
I don’t quite remember how coffee beans were neither packaged nor labeled but I do remember that the espresso machines were pretty much straight-forward and relatively easy to use. Just about anyone could make a somewhat ok latte or other espresso machine after being given a 15 minute ‘how-to’ session as I was. No doubt in the hands of a skilled barista, the machines could produce liquid black gold.
Well my latte wasn’t liquid gold, and the barista was certainly not highly skilled or she may have at least known the blend of espresso beans she was serving. She gave me the generic answer a barista would use if unsure and didn’t want to admit, “oh yes, this is the Appassionato house blend…” ok, whatever. But to be honest, she was a nice lady and also for the fact that we were at Qwest Field and not on Capital Hill, I’d say that my latte was ok enough that I could actually buy another next time I go to watch
football soccer at Qwest Field. Oh, even better, I declined the 16oz option and opted for the 12oz cup instead and she charged me $3.50 instead of $5.00. Now at Qwest Field, that is actually a great bargain!