Tully’s Coffee (chain, multiple locations)

Today, I’m getting back to my roots. I’m writing about a Seattle café chain from the first Korean branch of another Seattle café chain. I’m sitting in a café called Evansville. “Wait!” I hear all you astute Seattleites exclaim. “Dude, there’s no Seattle café chain called ‘Evansville’.” Good point! There isn’t. But they claim to be Caffé Vita of Korea (at least according to my attempted conversation in Korean), and use their logo, beans, and imagery all around the café. There are lots of shoutouts to Seattle too, including pictures and a traditional (green and yellow 1975-1995 logo) Seattle SuperSonics cap. But a Korean friend with connections to Seattle implied that they are using the Vita name illegally. Well, maybe not illegally because it’s a different country, but certainly without permission. I’ll try to find out more before I do the full review.

But today’s post is about Tully’s Coffee! Ah yes, Tully’s, the sad and difficult story of Tully’s. Tully’s, founded in Seattle around the time that Starbucks was booming there, desperately and unabashedly wanted to be the next Starbucks. Back in the mid-90’s, actually, I remember often hearing about Starbucks and Tully’s in the same sentence. Starbucks and Tully’s were very often seen across the street from each other all around town, a deliberate attempt by Tully’s to throw the gauntlet in the competition game, and also take advantage of Starbucks’s excellent choices for café locations. But, of course, we all know what happened to Tully’s Coffee’s aspirations. Obviously, Tully’s is not ubiquitous. If you’re from Seattle, you know of their recent woes and decline, including bankruptcy and recent salvation. If you’re not from Seattle, it’s not very likely you’ve ever heard of Tully’s unless you’re from Tokyo. And if you’re from Seoul, you might have seen Tully’s here or there, but you might have forgotten about it by now as their decline affected their Korean presence too. But here they once were, and to Tully’s I went, and so, therefore, here is my review.

Continue reading Tully’s Coffee (chain, multiple locations)