In what many are calling an overwhelming victory for coffee enthusiasts, Washington State legislators have approved a bill that will make coffee the state’s official state beverage.
The bill marks the first time a state has granted coffee the distinction of beverage statehood. The only state that comes close is Rhode Island’s “coffee milk“, which is a milk-forward coffee-flavored concoction that was given the title in 1993.
“Twenty-one out of the twenty-eight states before Washington have given the title to milk, but Washingtonians have made their voices heard,” said Governor Jay Inslee. In recent months, a grassroots campaign known as “#WA4JAVA” has built up its base and elected leaders took notice.
“It’s about time coffee is recognized,” says Washington resident Rosalie Bergman, who is also considered the “#WA4JAVA” campaign’s unofficial leader. “Coffee is the reason this whole dang country is even a country, and Washington State wouldn’t be nothing if it weren’t for the sound ground.”
Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO and skim cappuccino drinker, has yet to make an official comment.
“I think it’s great,” says Olympia Coffee Roasting Company co-owner Oliver Stormshak, who runs several cafes in Washington’s capitol city. Stormshak personally witnessed a significant stretch of Capitol Way traffic disrupted when a group of “#WA4JAVA” boosters stormed the campus lawn, dumped grounds in the Tivoli Fountain, and marched to the city’s Marathon Park. “People were fired up,” Stormshak added, “and I can see why. Coffee is an important part of Washington’s economy.”
Espresso Vivace founder David Schomer told Sprudge that while he’s happy about the news, he would have preferred the distinction to go toward espresso. “Coffee is too broad a term, and it’s really espresso that changed the hearts and minds of coffee drinkers in the 80s and 90s here on the streets of Seattle.”
Espresso or not, this is an historic day for coffee, and a special day for the founders of Sprudge, who started this little website in the busy cafes of Seattle. Long live #WA4JAVA