The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.
This week: Springfield, Missouri
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 until ”well, until Don makes it to a stopping point. 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
Part 11: Vermont
Part 12: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Part 13: Ohio to Tennessee
Part 14: Atlanta
Part 15: Alabama and Tennessee
We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!
By Don Niemyer
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
How does a city become a great coffee city? In our travels across America, we’ve seen it all: From regional boons where you can throw a rock just about any direction and hit a great coffee shop, to regional deserts where you find yourself at a McDonalds drive-through just hoping to get a cup of something that remotely resembles coffee. I can only think of a handful of cities that fell somewhere in between, though, where there’s maybe one great coffee shop in the whole area, just out there doing their thing all by themselves.
Why is that?
Well, I don’t suppose I know. But I like to think it has something to do with community. Coffee just lends itself to collaboration. Baristas love to share what they’re learning with others, and this mentality lends itself to spawning. Next thing you know, it’s like tadpoles in a mud puddle. They’re everywhere!
Well, we had us one of them tadpole experiences in Springfield, Mo. It’s not an especially large city. It’s not a cultural mecca, necessarily. I mean, Springfield’s OK and all, but it ain’t no Branson, ya know? They don’t have music jamborees and famous fiddlers and major theme parks, or nuthin! But you know what they do got? Coffee. Really good coffee. Here’s just four of the shops we made it to that are doing their part to put Springfield on the coffee map.
Way to go, Springfield! You guys are making it happen in the real world! Our only regret is that we weren’t able to make it to some of the other great shops in town, but we’ll back someday. For now, we’ve got to head south towards Texas and see what’s up down there. That’s where we’ll be reporting from next Saturday, so be sure to check back! Until then, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or at 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.