Bye Bye Torrefazione Italia


Walking to work this morning after a long weekend, I was surprised to see that the Torrefazione Italia on Olive Way between 6th and 7th is closed.

If I’d been reading Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly, I would have known that Starbucks, which purchased TI in 2003, was closing all 17 TI cafes because they “felt the brand would perform better as a co-brand in grocery stores and other foodservice operations” (“Starbucks Shifting Torrefazione Italia To Co-Brand“). Heck, if I’d been paying attention I would have noticed that the PI ran an article about the impending closing of all four Seattle locations in June (“Starbucks to shutter Torrefazione cafes“) and that one of our Chicago correspondants reported on the TI closings in his city in July (Fuzzy Gerdes, “Arrivederci“).

I used to go to the Olive Way locations on a fairly regular basis. (I’ve even got a mostly stamped coffee card in my wallet — Damn! Only three punches away from a free cup.) I wasn’t a big fan of TI and their bland, “upscale” Italian decor, but for a chain they made a decent cup of coffee, especially compared to Starbucks. Scuttlebutt on the eGullet forum is that some/all (?) of the Seattle TI’s are going to be reopened as Italian-style caffes by the son of the original owner of TI, Emanuele Bizarri. A sign on the former Olive Way TI promises the advent of a new “Caffe Senso Unico” in the near future.

5 Comments so far

  1. Scotto (unregistered) on September 28th, 2005 @ 11:44 pm

    i’m sure their coffee was better than starbucks (i can’t say for sure, because i have yet to ever let a drop of starbucks coffee pass these lips), but i always thought torrefazzione’s coffee was bland and the atmosphere pretentious. i used to live near the pioneer square location, and i’d always choose zeitgeist, even knowing they were going to scald my brew every once in a while. ah well. “in other news, starbucks continues to devour all in its path in order to prepare the way for its unholy master, cthulhu.”

  2. Cat Nilan (unregistered) on September 29th, 2005 @ 6:42 am

    I worked for a while near Pioneer Square and I got my morning coffee from the TI until I discovered Zeitgeist — better coffee and nicer atmosphere. But since I’ve been working downtown, TI had been the best close choice (with Starbucks as about the only other option). Although on a nice day I’ve been known to walk up the hill to Bauhaus, for a real cuppa.

    I wondered how long TI would last after Starbucks bought them out. Know we know.

  3. TonyD (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2005 @ 9:53 pm

    TI wasn’t my favorite coffee, but it wasn’t a bad shelter in a storm, and a darn site better than the other corporate coffee. It will be missed.

  4. Cat Nilan (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 6:27 am

    Yep, my feelings exactly. There’s a real dearth of good coffee shops in the Pacific Place/Westlake area. I’ve got a business meeting on my schedule that was supposed to be at TI — and now I guess we’re rescheduling to the closest Starbucks.

  5. Liberal Larry (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    I guess I’ll have to go back buying my coffee from the corporatist whores at 7-11.

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