Café Allegro is a coffeeshop in University District in Seattle. It is notable for being one of the first espresso shops in Seattle and for its place in the history of Starbucks as the place where founding proprietor Dave Olsen designed the Starbucks coffee product line.
The building in which Café Allegro is housed was built in 1909. The space was used for retail sales, a bank, and as a funeral home and mortuary until 1975 when it became Café Allegro and the first espresso bar in Seattle. Founder Dave Olsen chose the location because it was in an alley opposite the busiest entrance to the University of Washington campus.
Howard Schultz, the CEO during Starbucks' international expansion, said that "Café Allegro was a prototype for what Starbucks later became, although its style was more Bohemian and it did not sell coffee beans and merchandise or cater to an early-morning, urban, coffee-to-go clientele".
Nathaniel Jackson, who had worked at Cafe Allegro since 1975, and Chris Peterson, who had begun working there while a student in 1985, bought the cafe from Olsen in 1990.
Schultz said of Olsen, "Dave Olsen is right at the heart of the memory of Starbucks... Dave is a rock, part of the foundation of the company" because under his supervision Schultz "never had to worry about the quality of the coffee".
Dave Olsen founded, owned, and managed Café Allegro for eleven years as his only coffeeshop. He purchased coffee by the pound from Starbucks, and co-developed an espresso roast with them which was darker than most other roasts but still lighter than the darkest roast. That espresso roast remains the standard Starbucks espresso offering. In the mid 1980s, Starbucks ownership and corporate governance changed, and Olsen became more involved in their activities. On Monday 18 August 1987 Olsen became the head buyer and roaster of Starbucks.
- "History". cafeallegromusic.com. 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Schultz, Howard; Yang, Dori Jones (1997). Pour your heart into it : how Starbucks built a company one cup at a time (1st paperback ed.). New York, N.Y.: Hyperion. pp. 81–85. ISBN 978-0-7868-6315-0.
- Schultz, Howard; Yang, Dori Jones (1997). Pour your heart into it: how Starbucks built a company one cup at a time (1st paperback ed.). New York, N.Y.: Hyperion. pp. 100–104. ISBN 978-0-7868-6315-0.