Editor’s note: We began publishing reports from Don Niemyer about the cafes he visited on his cross-country coffee tour back in the summer of 2013, and we’ve loved following his journey, learning about amazing coffeehouses out there in the United States, ever since. We’ll be publishing reports from Don about his recent journey around the Central and Northern states every Saturday this fall. To catch up on Don’s earlier posts about his explorations of coffee culture throughout the Western United States, click HERE. We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!
By Don Niemyer
All right barista-land, are you ready to go on a national coffee crawl? Here’s your chance! My family and I have been working a plan for the last couple years to relocate from Oregon to Colorado and go see some of the nation’s great coffee shops along the way. We did figure out that the straight line between those two places missed a few shops, so we said, To heck with it! We’ll just take the long route, hitting every one of the lower 48 and try to visit a representation from each one of ˜em. Yeah, it’s kind of a big bite to chew on, but honestly, can you think of a better way to spend a few months? Neither could we! So a couple of years ago, we moved into a tiny VW Rialta RV and started the whole thing, blogging about what we found, even including a few posts here on the Barista Magazine blog!
Eventually we sold our shop in Portland, and then we really cut loose, working hard on the best ways to share the experience with the barista community. We want to be thorough, but not exhausting, so here’s what we came up with:
- INSTAGRAM, TWITTER & FACEBOOK: Follow me (DonNiemyer) to see the œbest of stuff. We post pics of what we see, and give you links to read more if you so desire.
- BMAG BLOG: We’ll be posting weekly updates right here, where we’ll give you the abbreviated report, including the highlights from that week.
- DonNiemyer.com: This is where you can go for a more detailed report. You can even search the site to easily find exactly the shop(s) you’re most interested in!
Now, there may be some other pieces to the puzzle you’ll want to put together. Like, how has my family of four lived in a 99-square-foot mobile œtiny house for over 2 years, or how we are able to pay for this trip on barista wages? And those answers are available at our website if you wanna poke around over there. But for most of you? You just want to see the shops and know what they’re up to. So let’s get started!
Over the past year, we did the West Coast, going all the way down to San Diego, across to Oklahoma, then back to Portland. Click here to see some shops we visited on that portion of the trip. Here’s where we went on that leg:
This year, we began by heading across to Montana then back south to Amarillo.
As we travel, we have a few different goals. First, simply find good shops and share our experience of going there, from the regional stalwarts to the new kids on the block. Second, we look for innovative approaches that are interesting and potentially helpful to others in the industry. From cool layouts to cutting edge equipment, we’ll try to share what we find with you. Finally, we want to include each state we go to. That means some great cafés get left out while some mediocre ones get included simply based on geography. To our great disappointment, we just can’t go to all of them!
With all that said, let’s have a peek at what we found on our first leg, Oregon to Amarillo!
So that’s what we’ve been up to this week. Come back here to Barista Magazine’s blog on Saturday, October 4, and we’ll give you the report on what we found between Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Until then, follow us in real time at our social media sites or at www.DonNiemyer.com. See you soon!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Don Niemyer used to own three coffee shops in Portland, Ore., where he and his wife Carissa spent 8 years immersed in the excellent coffee culture there, milking it like a dairy cow for every drop of expertise it would give them, making lots of friends, doing some USBC judging, and learning all they could. One day, they decided to move their kids closer to family, so they bought a tiny RV, moved into it, and have been œmoving to Colorado ever since, visiting coffee shops, practicing minimalism, and having lots of fun. That was over two years ago. One of these days, they might even end up living in Colorado.