Response Online


From the Managing Editor

Many cups of coffee were consumed in the making of this magazine


When I first moved to Seattle in 2008, I noticed espresso popping up everywhere, much like the colorful fungi emerging from the ground in our damp Northwest forests. From drive-through stands to countertop machines in teriyaki restaurants, the caffeinated liquid was a ubiquitous presence in the landscape I now called home.

At the time, I was teaching writing courses through the Milton Fellowship, hosted by the quarterly arts journal Image, in Seattle Pacific University’s English department. One day a student asked me, “Can we go get coffee during our class break?”

“Go ahead,” I said, clueless Midwestern transplant that I was.

Forty-five minutes later, the entire class came trooping back, each student with a uniquely labeled green-and-white latte cup in hand. Seattleites — including Seattle Pacific students — take their coffee seriously.

“... members of the SPU community are finding ways to engage the culture and change the world through coffee.”

Sure, I’m a regular coffee drinker, but in Seattle, saying I’m a coffee person feels like proclaiming a love of hiking to a bunch of people who have climbed Mt. Rainier. This city is the beating heart of the specialty coffee industry, from the Starbucks mermaid above the old Sears building marking the global giant’s SoDo headquarters, to the artisan roasters and coffee joints tucked in storefronts, strip malls, and churches for which the coffee hour is almost a sacramental practice.

It’s probably not surprising, then, to discover that many members of the SPU community are finding ways to engage the culture and change the world through coffee.

Take Kiri Horton ’12. The theology major worked as a barista while a student, and she is now manager of the Green Bean Coffee House in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The Green Bean is a unique feature of the neighborhood, a nonprofit, faith-based coffeehouse designed to be a community gathering place. With the motto “sit long, talk much,” the Green Bean plays host to open mic nights, crafters, and sticky-fingered toddlers who play at the train table.

Kiri told me she feels her job is a perfect blend of ministry and coffee — a way to make use of her major, while also celebrating her love of the bean.

On a recent Saturday, Kiri and her baristas collaborated with Response art director Leah Dankertson and photographer Matt Sumi to help create the perfect SPU latte for our cover. I think it’s a fun way to show how the learning symbolized by the Seattle Pacific torch can be applied in the most unusual places — even though the resulting drink may have tasted a little too strongly of the cinnamon we used in the stencil shape.

I invite you to grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in for stories that celebrate the coffee and people of our community.

Hannah NotessHannah Notess