On the Menu: Starbucks maintains famous presence on Marco Island

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a group of monks discovered a beautiful tree with red and green berries. The land was Ethiopia, and after the monks began to harvest the berries and the dry the fruit, they learned that a rejuvenation process was possible by adding water to the dried berries to make them edible again. Even after long periods of storage, the dried berries were flavorful once more after soaking and soon, the water that brought the berries back to life became a new beverage.

A pleasant and stimulating effect was also noticeable after eating only a few of the revitalized fruit, and soon, the new beverage was made even better by crushing and steeping the berries. Within only a few years, the monks began shipping their new discovery to neighboring monasteries and the coffee industry was born and began to travel fast.

During the early days of the 17th century, Portuguese sailors arrived in the old port city of Al Mocha. The Yemeni Arabs welcomed the sailors with a rich dark brew that all the locals were drinking, and the Portuguese mariners were excited by the same stimulating effect the Ethiopian monks discovered earlier.

Now, the beverage was more appealing, as the people of Yemen had developed a process of roasting the dried berries and rendering their favorite drink by adding boiling water to the baked and crushed berries that were now called beans. To this day, Mocha from Yemen is still considered by many connoisseurs to be the highest quality coffee in the world.

Less then 20 years after the Portuguese sailors arrived in Al Mocha, tasted coffee and brought the dried beans back to Europe, a caravan of a thousand camels was reported arriving at the Yemeni harbor, loaded with bags of coffee for export. Soon, demand for coffee became irresistible, and smugglers secreted little coffee plants out of Yemen and began coffee plantations in Ceylon. The coffee grew well, but it was soon discovered that the Yemeni beans were superior because they were grown at higher altitudes – about 9,000 feet above sea level – where the air was thinner and the sun stronger.

After the coffee plantations in Ceylon – now Sri Lanka – began to flourish, a small coffee tree was taken to France as a novelty for the royal court. An offspring of that tree was stolen and smuggled into South America. From that single stolen tree, grown in France, that came from Ceylon, which originated in Yemen, but was first discovered in Ethiopia, came all of the Coffea Arabica, or Arabic coffee trees, in Central and South America.

The Starbucks Coffee Company began in Seattle in 1971 when an English teacher, a history teacher and a writer got together and thought that the cold windy weather of the Pacific port city would be the perfect place to sell high-quality coffee to patrons seeking a cozy and aromatic haven in a unique environment.

The name “Starbuck” came from Herman Melville’s maritime adventure novel, “Moby Dick.” Starbuck was the first mate of the ship that hunted the infamous white whale, and as Seattle Washington was a seafaring port, the literary founders of the new coffee house thought the nautical name unforgettable and perfect.

Located at 740 North Collier Boulevard, in the Esplanade, the Starbucks Coffee Company is a partnership team of Al Mocha aficionados. All the staffers, or baristas, at Starbucks are referred to as partners, as the Seattle-based company strives to make the unique coffeehouse environment a special place to work and capture a career.

The Mocha that was made famous by the Portuguese sailors centuries ago is available seven days a week at the Starbucks on Marco, but there are breakfast and lunch selections on the Starbucks menu that brew real value when choosing a cozy and cost-effective breakfast, brunch, or lunch venue. With the culinary adventuress ready to share breakfast with her colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce, we chose to sample three of the breakfast selections.

For only $3.75, the first selection was a piping-hot artisan sandwich, with ham and cheddar cheese melted over an egg frittata. The second offering was a flavorful, fresh-bakery sandwich with an egg frittata, German-style smoked bacon slices, and Gouda cheese on a European-style bakery roll. The reduced fat coffee cake also for $3.75 is a great way to once again save on the calories and the green, and dine in the camaraderie of an inspired, classic coffee house.

We found the breakfast sandwiches to be piping-hot, the bread fresh and flavorful and the coffee cake all that was to be expected by a national brand coffee house. Our compliments to Shannon Snyder and Peter Curran for their patience and kind attention, and to all the hard-working Starbucks partners on Marco Island!

Starbucks of Marco Island is open seven days with the first of the aromatic brews ready at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For specialty information, call the Marco Starbucks at 389-571 or visit starbucks.com.

Starbucks specials include: fruit and protein smoothies for $ 3.95, a tall coffee and breakfast sandwich also for $3.95 and a spinach and feta cheese wrap for $3.95. Starbucks luncheon sandwich specialties feature turkey, egg salad, chicken salad and a roasted tomato sandwich, ranging from $4.95 to $6.95. Mixed green salads with hard-boiled egg slices are a Starbucks favorite for $4.95 and Starbucks Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie gives a sweet side to the coffeehouse that is the perfect pick-me-up for late afternoon, coupled with a fresh cup of the forever-classic Mocha.

A world favorite beverage might have begun in a land far away, but aficionados of the bean the Ethiopian monks gathered long ago, and the Portuguese sailors brought to Europe is always hot, ready and forever freshly brewed at the Starbucks Coffee Company on Marco Island.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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