Saturday Series: The Rialta Coffee Tour, Part 11

The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.

This week:  Vermont

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. Following are links to Don’s posts from this current Saturday Series:

Part 1: Oregon to Amarillo, Texas
Part 2: Oklahoma to South Dakota
Part 3: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Part 4: Wisconsin to Michigan
Part 5: Chicago, Illinois
Part 6: Indiana to Washington, D.C.
Part 7: Virginia to Florida
Special Edition: The Big Central Coffee Competitions in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Part 8: Maryland to Pennsylvania
Part 9: Delaware to Rhode Island
Part 10: Massachusetts to Maine

We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!

By Don Niemyer
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

RV rendezvous!

This week’s edition of the Rialta Coffee Tour report has a bit of a twist to it. As we wrapped up our time in Portland, Maine, and started making tracks for Vermont, we met up with our buddies, Brandon and Kelly Noffsinger. We all became good friends in Portland, Ore., but they relocated to Colorado a couple years ago  to be with Kelly’s mother, whose health was failing. With our family  out traveling the country, Brandon and Kelly were inspired to jump in their own RV and meet up with us! As our kids played together in parks and we jumped around the region from coffee shop to coffee shop, the Noffsingers made excellent companions.

This week's stop on the Rialta Coffee Tour is all about Vermont, a state that's small is size but big in terms of specialty coffee.
This week’s stop on the Rialta Coffee Tour is all about Vermont, a state that’s small is size but big in terms of specialty coffee.

We spent about two weeks exploring the Northeast, caravan style. We shared meals, laughed and played music, and watched each other’s kids so the couples could slip away  for one fun thing or another. All of this served as another great reminder of the fact that this fascinating bean we all gather around each day is at its best when it’s bringing us together. On this leg of our journey, it gave us opportunities to share time  with some old friends. But as coffee also does so well and so often, it offered us the chance to make  some new friends. Hey, thanks for that, coffee!

As we neared Burlington, Carissa called a new roaster named Brio, and a nice woman answered. She offered all kinds of help on the local coffee scene, even taking our number so she could text us names of must-visit cafés. She told us when we got to town we should come say hi, and we welcomed the invitation.
As we neared Burlington, Carissa called a new roaster named Brio Coffeeworks, and a nice woman answered. She offered all kinds of help on the local coffee scene, even taking our number so she could text us names of must-visit cafés. She told us when we got to town we should come say hi, and we welcomed the invitation.
Turns out that Brio Coffee Works is a new roastery in the region, focused on helping the local coffee culture reach a new level of excellence.
Turns out that Brio Coffeeworks is a new roastery in the region, focused on helping the local coffee culture reach a new level of excellence.
And that nice woman Carissa spoke to on the phone? That was co-owner Magda Van Dusen, who showered us with some great Vermont hospitality, giving us the run-down of everything from coffee to restaurants to fun stuff to do with the kids.
And that nice woman Carissa spoke to on the phone? That was co-owner Magda Van Dusen, who showered us with some great Vermont hospitality, giving us the run-down of everything from coffee to restaurants to fun stuff to do with the kids.
And even though Brio isn't a café, Magda fired up the staff espresso machine for us and made some delicious drinks.  Brio and Magda got us off to a great start in Vermont.
And even though Brio isn’t a café, Magda fired up the staff espresso machine for us and made some delicious drinks. Brio and Magda got us off to a great start in Vermont.
Our next stop was Maglianero, down by the railroad tracks just up from the waterfront.
Our next stop was Maglianero, down by the railroad tracks just up from the waterfront.
At Maglianero, there's great Counter Culture coffee, plenty of space to stretch out, a fantastic bike rack inside, and a tiny dog named Jerry. Pretty much everything you need.
At Maglianero, there’s great Counter Culture coffee, plenty of space to stretch out, a fantastic bike rack inside, and a tiny dog named Jerry. Pretty much everything you need.
Maglianero definitely serves some of Burlington's best coffee.
Maglianero definitely serves some of Burlington’s best coffee.
More amazing coffee in Burlington? Check out the city's newest addition, Scout and Co. Owner Tom Green got our engine started real good with some espresso drinks, followed by this sampler of drip coffees.
More amazing coffee in Burlington? Check out the city’s newest addition, Scout and Co. Owner Tom Green got our engine started real good with some espresso drinks, followed by this sampler of drip coffees.
Scout and Co. offers up some of the nation's finest roasters, including a couple from our hometown of Portland, Ore. ”Coava and Heart. Also on offer: George Howell, Blue Bottle, and local hero Brio. Coffeeworks.
Scout and Co. offers up some of the nation’s finest roasters, including a couple from our hometown of Portland, Ore. ”Coava and Heart. Also on offer: George Howell, Blue Bottle, and local hero Brio Coffeeworks.
But these guys got something else up their sleeve: ICE CREAM! Featuring custom flavors such as Sweet Cream & Yarrow and Vanilla Oak & Dill, I guarantee you'll find something original and enticing.
But these guys got something else up their sleeve: ICE CREAM! Featuring custom flavors such as Sweet Cream & Yarrow and Vanilla Oak & Dill, I guarantee you’ll find something original and enticing.
Of course, when we weren't having coffee in one of Vermont's many great cafés, we were brewing our own with friends, often  œcamp style  on the fold-down shelf on the Rialta, in great outdoor settings such as this one.
Of course, when we weren’t having coffee in one of Vermont’s many great cafés, we were brewing our own with friends, often œcamp style  on the fold-down shelf on the Rialta, in great outdoor settings such as this one.

Burlington left us with lots of great memories, and turned out to be one of our favorite places on the nationwide tour. But like most great coffee experiences, it wasn’t only about the coffee. It had a lot to do with the people, who we found to be just delightful and fabulous in every way. I wonder what kind of great people we’ll find next week? We’re heading the Rialta southward towards the City of Steel to find out, and we’ll have that report for you right here next Saturday, so be sure to check back! Until then, follow us at our social media sites, or  DonNiemyer.com. See you soon!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

donandcarissa

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.

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