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Alaska Airlines Is Replacing Starbucks With Coffee Designed for In-Flight Drinking

Plus, Geno Smith’s favorite coffee order, and more news of the week

Hands hold up two cups of coffee on an airplane. Alaska Airlines
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

Alaska Airlines, the carrier commonly used by Seattleites because Sea-Tac International Airport is its primary hub, is changing up and hopefully upgrading its coffee offerings. This week the airline announced it would be replacing the Starbucks coffee it serves with a blend from Stumptown that the Portland, Oregon, roaster says is specially formulated for in-flight drinking.

Airplane coffee is often a necessary evil, something you drink when you need a shot of caffeine before you land. As the Washington Post notes, the coffee is brewed with water from the plane’s tanks, which is sometimes dirty (though Alaska’s water is notably clean). And a combination of factors, including the high altitude and the cabin pressure, diminishes passengers’ ability to taste flavors — so everything, including coffee, tastes kind of meh during flights.

With Alaska’s contract with Starbucks expiring, the airline issued a request for proposals from potential vendors and eventually settled on Stumptown, which produced a medium-roast blend that is supposed to evoke notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallow while being low in acidity, according to the Post. Since last year, the airline has gone through an extensive in-flight testing process that included brewing 200 pots of coffee and blind surveys from customers.

Stumptown will replace Starbucks on all flights, including Horizon flights, on December 1. Stumptown will also be replacing Starbucks in Alaska airport lounges.

Seattle is waiving fees for food carts and trucks

As part of a larger plan to give downtown Seattle a boost, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed an ordinance on Wednesday that will waive street permit fees for food trucks and carts until 2026. Axios reports that this measure could save a food truck up to $4,296 annually. The larger aim is that by increasing the number of food trucks in Seattle neighborhoods, it will increase foot traffic, “which can boost the sense of safety,” Axios writes.

The Haunted Soiree is back in Seattle

Halloween and cocktails go together like Halloween and candy, apparently. Not only is Seattle hosting pop-up Black Lagoon at Rob Roy, an immersive theatrical production crossed with a cocktail party called the Haunted Soiree is running until October 31 at Rainier Chapter House. Tickets range from $64 to $95, with the cheaper tickets getting you four mini craft cocktails and the more expensive options getting you more perks, like French chocolates. It sounds like a haunted house, only with drinks, and also burlesque performers — because it wouldn’t be Halloween if you weren’t a little bit scared, a little bit drunk, and a little bit horny. For ticket info go here.

Geno Smith is teaming up with Starbucks for a fundraiser

Seattle’s favorite quarterback is celebrating “Blue Fridays” with the city’s most notable brand. For the uninitiated, Blue Fridays are the Fridays before Seahawks games, and fans (a.k.a. 12s) celebrate by wearing even more Seahawks gear than they usually do. For the rest of the month, on Fridays Starbucks will donate $1.27 to Boys and Girls Club of King County every time a customer orders Smith’s favorite drink at a Washington State Starbucks. Smith’s favorite drink is... (drumroll) a caramel macchiato with oat milk!?! The amount is $1.27 for the 12th man and 7, Smith’s jersey number. Three and a half cheers for extremely specific fundraisers, I guess. Someone hook Geno up with some coffee advice.