COFFEE PEOPLE "Good CoffeeNo Backtalk." featuring The Black Tiger Mocha

My startled introduction to this Portland chain of coffee shops came one morning during my junior year of high school. I wasn’t so much into coffee back in the day, but a Finals-induced all-nighter left me frail and weak, and in need of caffeination. I walked into Coffee People, and asked the barista, “What’s the strongest thing I can get for three bucks?”

She paused, and then responded, “The Black Tiger Mocha.”

So marked the beginning of my love affair with Coffee People, which originated in Portland, Oregon, in 1983 (although it can be traced back to 1976, when its original store was known as Coffee Man.) The first Coffee People outlet still exists on the trendy Northwest 23rd Avenue (Trendy Third), directly across from a Starbucks outlet. In fact, Coffee People continues to be the greatest competitor of Starbucks in the Portland market, with 24 retail locations (compared to Starbucks’ 153 locations. Good lord, they’re ubiquitous.)

Coffee People markets the standard coffee shop offerings: ordinary cups of joe, lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and of course, the obligatory hot cocoa (not everyone’s about coffee, after all.) Additionally, they sell coffee-flavored milk shakes made with ice cream, and a small selection of smoothies. The aforementioned Black Tiger, however, will knock you on your ass. The beans pack a punch, with extra caffeine and a smokey, less bitter taste. The Black Tiger, by the way, is also available in iced form (see: double iced Black Tiger mocha with whipped cream.) So, grab a triple-shot Black Tiger Mocha, and you’ll be ready to take on the world!

7.8.07 ADDENDUM! Coffee Peeps, as the kids say, is now only found at PDX. Starbucks bought the other dozen or so locations sprinkled throughout Portland proper, closed them all down and are converting some into more Starbucks. Thanks, ass-hats, for making it harder for some of us to find good coffee.

Black Tiger is still available online and at the new Java Nation in Beavertron.

(company history obtained from coffeepeople.com) at least we still have stumptown.

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