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Want coffee? Ask the Delocator

Xtine enjoys a mocha at San Fernando's House of Brews

Mission College multimedia instructor Christine Hanson – who prefers to be called by her artistic name Xtine – recalls that it started with a yen for a cup of coffee during a visit to New York.

“Here I was in SoHo, this community with such an artistic spirit and an identity as a hip, creative place...but I could not find a coffee house other than Starbucks,” she said.

From small disappointments, revolutions can be born.

Xtine realized that the small, independent coffee house was in danger of going the same route as the independent bookstore: toward extinction. That’s when she decided to create “Delocator” (, a website dedicated to helping people find neighborhood coffee houses – alternatives to the big-chain java shops.

She explained how Delocator works while sipping an iced blended mocha at House of Brews, an independent San Fernando coffee house that appears on the Delocator site.

Just punch in your zip code and Delocator gives you the names and addresses of independent coffee klatches within a five-mile radius of the zip code.

In addition to finding a coffee house, you can also recommend one and include your personal comments about it.

In the first two weeks after Delocator was launched, visitors recommended nearly 3,000 independent coffee shops to the site, said Xtine. There are more than 4,000 now. She estimates that over 70,000 people have visited the site.

[ Click image for Delocator site ]

And its fame continues to grow. To date, articles about Xtine and Delocator have appeared in the New York Times, Orange County Register, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, USA Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Chicago Tribune and several others. More recently, Xtine was a guest on National Public Radio, discussing Delocator.

Xtine takes pains to explain that she has nothing against Starbucks in particular. (In fact, she revealed she once worked at a Starbucks.)

“It’s more anti-corporation than anything else,” she said. “Delocator gives people alternatives to the ‘plastic’ or ‘pre-packaged’ coffee house experience.”

– BY EDUARDO PARDO / Photos: Lydia Chung