Starbucks at 328 15th Avenue East in Seattle: The photos

One store that I mention over and over again is the Starbucks at 328 – 15th Avenue East, in Seattle, Washington.  It started out as an experimental store called, “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea” and initially lacked the Starbucks branding.  Once in a while in the news, there would be stories of the “stealth Starbucks,” and this was it.   On February 1st this year it changed back into a Starbucks, returning the branding and the logo to both the exterior of the store, and the interior.  Now even the paper cups are standard Starbucks cups.  Nonetheless, in many ways, it is still very unique and still to some degree, an experimental location.  It is still one of the only Starbucks where you might easily find a coffee cupping in progress.  It still has a manual espresso machine.  It still has unique pastries.  And it is one of the few locations that offers beer and wine.

This Starbucks has changed quite a bit since opening day.  I was the second person in the door the day it opened as 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.  Initially, there was no soft seating anywhere in the store.  I really wish I knew where all my early photos of the store from that day are.  It was before I had a blog so I didn’t worry about taking pictures.  I can’t seem to find a single photo showing the old seating.  The original seating was a lot like vintage, hard theater seats.  Though it has been through a lot of change, I definitely have quite a soft spot for this store.  It was the first of the two “experimental” locations.  The other experimental location is the “Roy Street” store, also in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood.

Here’s the contact information:

Starbucks store #5184
328 – 15th Avenue East
Seattle, WA
(206) 323 1568

Though the Starbucks siren hangs outside, it is still such a remarkable store that I thought I would do a whole series of photos of it for my readers.  This blog post is a bit of the sequel about coffee cuppings and processing methods.  Here is this gorgeous photogenic store:


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  • kara86ster

    Interesting store, I’m not sure what to say, the tables and chairs look different too. I wouldn’t say its a Starbucks just by looking at it the first time. But, its good for us to know about its history… =)

  • purple1

    Beautiful store for sure. Thanks Melody. I still continue to be amazed at the redesign of stores in your area. Last night I was at my local SB and saw the DM there and had a conversation with him about the renovations of stores. There apparently is a store near us that I do not frequent often that just went through a major renovation and even added a drive through. Have to go there soon. From what he described it sounds very nice. I also asked him if he thought we would ever get a wine/beer option and he did not think that would often for many reasons.

  • Cd

    This store really is unique and beautiful. I’m not from Seattle and have an observation I would like to question.

    It may have been because I was a “tourist,” but when I visited this store it felt more like a destination than a regular coffee shop – kinda like the original market store (but obviously different). It felt like it was there”for show”.

    Strangely, when I contrast that with the Heritage store, I feel the Heritage store feels more grounded and third place-like. I realize it is in a major tourist area and serves a lot of tourists, but the Heritage store also serves locals and just had a different feel.

    What are your thoughts Melody. Is 15th Avenue third place-like or is it more of a coffee lover’s destination?

    (great photos btw)

  • AmazonV

    I loved this store as 15th ave, I am glad it’s kept some of its uniqueness!

    Thanks for all the updates photos :)

  • Camspi

    Great memories at this store! Its a jewel in our company! Mostly because of the wonderful baristas there! I got to pull a shot from that espresso machine!

  • Chgo.


  • @amgorder

    i loved 15th ave coffee and the from the start!! esp the employees. back to the hipster, tatted coffee loving fools it should be

  • Pencil to Paper

    Wow, I just LOVE the interior of that Starbucks! I really am going to have to make a trip to Seattle one of these days and tour all of these awesome locations. Thanks for sharing the pictures! For now I’ll continue to live vicariously through them! :)

  • Melody

    @Chgo – You summed up the store in one word!
    @amgorder – I thought it was such a great concept too. The store has stayed very special to me, but I miss its very beginning. Such excitement over a store that was so nostalgic, and all about coffee.
    @pencil_to_paper – We will totally do some Starbucks touristing if you ever make it to Seattle.

  • TV James

    My daughter and I made a special trip up to Seattle just for the purposes of visiting 15th. Ave. Coffee & Tea. I was bummed when it turned back into a Starbucks.

  • kitenarie

    That store is utterly beautiful. Manual espresso shots? That’s the one thing I miss from my very early days as a barista at the ice cream shop. How lucky you are to live so close to all these beautiful stores!

  • Sebastian

    This is a very nice looking store, but it’s so odd to see that this is Starbucks…sometimes this is even too old fashioned to me, personally. :)

  • denise r

    eclectic, for sure!
    @chgo: LOL! I was thinking the same thing in some of the pics, almost log-cabin, then suddenly a switch, and…not so much. I do like the wood, tho. but yeah, ‘rustic’ in many places:)

    BUT, the manual espresso shots would have me in a minute!!! There’s such a difference in manual shots (generally BETTER, I mean) I remember the 1st automated-shot I had at Sbux…. the partners and I were all commenting….yeah, you need 2 automated shots = 1 manual.

    Thanx for the tour Melody!

  • Chgo.

    Looking at the real long table, I sure hope nobody does any writing while sitting at that table. That table doesn’t look as if it has smooth surface on it. It’s an interesting condiment area to say the least. All that rusted corrugated metal, and what appears to be an old tin ceiling on the wall, and all the garbage cans gives that condiment area a look I can’t quite describe. I have to admit i like it though.

  • Rachel

    I think you meant to write “stealth Starbucks”, not “sleuth”. :)

  • Melody

    @Chgo You’re so right. When the store was brand new, I thought the community table looked so cool. But this was an “experimental” store, and I haven’t seen any store since with such an unfinished table. I’ve heard partners complain that you cannot keep that dang table really clean because it’s so unfinished the food crumbles fall into its tiny cracks! And from personal experience, it IS not so level, and a little awkward at times.

  • Melody

    @Rachel – You’re right – Let me fix that! hahahah! Stealth!

  • Kate

    wow! that store looks awesome! i love the old wood tables and that is a awesome lookin condiment bar! i have to say i am jealous!

  • Chgo.

    @Melody and Denise – Would you believe the Park Ridge Clover store you 2 visited had a line out the door today. Truly a success story.

  • Pencil to Paper

    @Melody—I would LOVE that. I will definitely make it up there one of these days. I think I’d love it there!

  • CABarista

    The starbucks I was in in Toronto had a lot of this feel to it. It made me so jealous! All the wood and pictures of coffee, scales of loose beans…it just felt warm! When I’m not so tired I’ll blog about it!

  • LatteRose

    I really like this store – the antique touches and the lighting.
    (I believe I have a photo or two that shows the old seating somewhere here…)

  • denise r

    @chgo: I would!!!! believe that about the Park Ridge store…..and, as we’ve often discussed, imagine what could happen at the Harlem & Lake River Forest store??? @CD: this is for you, too! There are plenty of stores in the perfect places (ie: people, mostly) that WOULD support a Clover, for sure. (or, 2 Clovers;)

  • Nathan

    Why is it that this store was converted to a Starbucks?

  • Dorothy Stewart

    Melody, I love your blog and your tweets. You know so much about Starbucks (and coffee and other things too). I don’t know how you manage to do everything you do, but we’re all better for it.

    Keep up the good work. I need to get to Seattle soon!


  • Mara Mercer

    I have to admit i like it though. the partners and I were all commenting….yeah, you need 2 automated shots = 1 manual. I loved this store as 15th ave, I am glad it’s kept some of its uniqueness!

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