Starbucks “Capitol Hill” Edition is the 3rd collaboration between Starbucks Reserve and Field Notes Brand, following the Roastery Edition from 2014 and the “Coffee Origins” Edition from April 2015. It’s named after Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, where Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room is located, and the rainbow colors of the set can easily be attributed to the neighborhood’s counterculture and LGBT communities.
Capitol Hill, just like the previous Roastery editions, was made to be an exclusive, in-store item at the Starbucks Roastery. It came out in late 2015, either late November or early December. I was in Seattle in late November and had just missed it! Judging from the fact that the Roastery still had the first two editions in stock then, I felt it’d be safe to wait for another chance to visit in the future, instead of relying on the secondary market. And my patience paid off. During my recent trip to Seattle in July, I was finally able to get my hands on Capitol Hill. Fortunately, they still had a bunch left, albeit in a drawer (they’d just forgotten to restock the shelves). The first two editions were surprisingly still available as well.
I’m glad to say, I like Capitol Hill more than I thought I would. There are many details in it to appreciate as a Field Notes fan, so I will list most of them here, with my thoughts mixed in.
Disclaimer: The neon colors were nearly impossible to photograph. I tried to represent all five colors as faithfully as I can but know that the magenta book and the salmon book were especially difficult and that they can look different from what my pictures may suggest. The salmon one is definitely more fluorescent and lighter in real life.
Things to note
Capitol Edition is a 5-pack, with 3.5" x 5.5" memo books in 5 different colors. I have no way of verifying all the branded Field Notes ever made but I have never seen a 5-pack before. The 5 colors are, as best as I can describe: salmon, magenta, yellow, light green, and navy blue. You might describe them differently but this is how I see them. All are very saturated colors, with salmon and green being neon. They hurt my eyes. It’s interesting that they went with 5 colors, instead of 6, which is the typical number of colors in a pride flag, and we’ve seen a few 6-packs of Field Notes before, e.g. National Crop (Spring 2012) and Workshop Companion (Summer 2015). Maybe 6 would’ve pushed it over their desired price point?
Covers are embossed with a polka-dot pattern, meaning the dots are raised up. Again, I’ve never seen this in Field Notes before. I haven’t written anything on the inside covers yet but when I do, I’ll have to watch out for these dots! Why polka dot though, I am not sure. Perhaps another reference to the Capitol Hill neighborhood? The embossing is done around all the text on the front and back cover, by the way.
White staples. An excellent choice for these fun, bright colors and the white text. The previous Starbucks edition, Coffee Origins, is also bound by three white staples.
The body paper is the white Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 60#T, which is the thicker version Field Notes is starting to use more these days. I really like this variation because it makes the memo book more substantial, and I can even use fountain pens in it.
Covers are made with Sappi McCoy Silk in 100#C. We’ve seen the same paper in the covers of Coffee Origins and Unexposed. If it weren’t for the embossed dots all over, Capitol Hill would feel identical to Coffee Origins texture-wise. Both have the same slightly rubbery, semi-glossy finish. Based on my experience, these covers are quite durable, and I like how pliable they feel. I should note, on the topic of texture, the inside covers of the salmon and the green books have almost powder-y feel to them. They’re definitely not as glossy as their front covers are, or as the insides of the other three colors in the set are. I am not sure if that difference is a function of the paper or the inks (the salmon and green ones are the most neon of the set), or if it’s unique to the set that I opened.
Even though Unexposed has the soft-touch coating on top of the same cover stock, Capitol Hill feels very close to Unexposed in spirit because they both feature fluorescent colors and the same gray reticle grid. Except, the text on the inside covers of Capitol Hill are a bit easier on the eyes than the ones in Unexposed. *shudders*
The magenta is very, very similar to the color of XOXO 2013 edition. The colors used, as printed on their back covers, are Pantone 246 for Capitol Hill and Pantone 2395 for XOXO'13. The XOXO cover is matte though. I’m actually glad that they’re so similar because I like the color and wouldn’t mind more of these medium “pink” Field Notes. Another color that I love from the set is the vibrant navy blue. Hard to describe it but it looks like there’s a hint of purple in it, too. A unique color in Field Notes so far in my opinion. My least favorite is the salmon one, the one unfortunately packaged on the very front.
Wrapping it up
Capitol Hill draws several similarities to Unexposed and Coffee Origins but its embossed polka-dot covers, white staples, and thicker body paper make it a rather unique edition. I like the inspiration behind it, too. I may not love fluorescent colors but not all are that harsh on the eyes; it has some standout colors after all. I’ve been using the magenta book for a few weeks now, and the embossed dots and edges are starting to wear down nicely, with the white of the base paper showing through. Overall, it’s a great, fun edition worth a visit to the Roastery if you’re a fan of Field Notes and are in the area. Especially if you like bold colors and wouldn’t mind running into a camera everywhere you turn. It gets crazy packed with tourists there.
- Starbucks “Capitol Hill” Edition, November, 2015
- Item number: FNSBR-03
- Price: $19.95 per one pack of 5 memo books
- Edition size: unknown
- Cover paper: Sappi McCoy Silk 100#C, printed with Pantone 805 (neon salmon), 246 (magenta), 109 (yellow), 802 (neon green), 2735 (navy blue) soy-based Saphira inks
- Cover embossing: by Nu Wave Die Cutting & Finishing, Chicago, Ill.
- Body paper: Finch Paper Opaque Smooth 60#T in “Bright White”
- Reticle grid inside: Pantone “Cool Gray 2” soy-based Saphira ink
- Belly band: white paper with black ink
- Packaging: shrink-wrapped
- Staples color: white
My Favorite “Practical Applications”
- #14. Brunches Brunched
- #16. Pour-Over Tricks
- #22. Metaphorical Fires Extinguished
- #28. Cleanest Dives
Were you able to get your hands on this Capitol Hill edition? Which color is your favorite?