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In Northwest, A Coffee Backlash


March 1995

In the area that popularized gourmet coffee, more and more people are trying to break the habit (Bill Richards, "Cafe Au Revoir? Some Say Coffee Has Become Too Cool," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 13, 1995, p. 1).

"It's overwhelming," said Michael Palmer of Chef's Corner in Portland, Oregon. "Unless you know the lingo, you can't even order a cup anymore. People can't be bothered by the whole thing."

Not only are people tired of the trendiness of specialty coffee, they are becoming increasingly aware of the effects coffee has on their health. "They're cutting things out of their lives that they feel are unhealthy, and caffeine is a drug," said Kate Allen, the editor of Coffee Talk magazine in Seattle.

Some coffee drinkers in Portland have even formed their own 12-step group called Caffeine Anonymous to talk about their attempts to quit. One member told the group that he decided to quit while waiting in line in a Starbucks Coffee. "We were all standing there twitching," he said. "Everyone was saying 'Come on, let's go, let's go. What's the holdup?' We were like heroin junkies."