When I first discovered the Hear Music Coffeehouse, located in Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, I was thrilled with the concept that combined two of my favorite things to do – drink coffee and listen to music – all in one trendy place. As the sign above the Media Bar inside reads: “Drink. Listen. Burn!” Opened in 2004, this Santa Monica location was the first of three Hear Music Coffeehouses currently in operation.

With a venti Mocha Frappacino in hand, I began browsing the CD racks in the music store section. There are plenty of new mainstream releases, titles from the past and independent artists, as well as many CD compilations produced just for Starbucks. Every CD can be listened to in-store by scanning the barcode at any listening station.

The selection of over 15,000 albums was vast, but I came prepared with a list of songs and a mission, to burn my own masterpiece. Since my 5-going-on-50-year old computer is on life support and incapable of the latest technology, I was overjoyed with the concept of burning stations that allow you to create a custom disc in minutes.

Well, it took me about 45 minutes, but after all, there are one million tracks to choose from. I found all but two songs from my list and several others I forgot about, resulting in a 12-song CD that I named My Compilation.

Yes, you get to name your creation and even choose the cover’s artwork. The first seven songs cost $8.99, with $.99 for each additional track.

The Hear Music staff is always standing by should you need assistance. My Compilation has since become one of the favorite CDs in my collection.

This past June, Hear Music’s Record Label released legendary artist, Paul McCartney’s first new studio album in two years. McCartney is the first artist signed to the newly launched music label.

Starbucks will open its fourth Hear Music Coffeehouse in Bellevue, Wash. right in time for the holidays – the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 24.

For more information, visit www.hearmusic.com.