The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.
This week: Indiana to Washington, D.C.
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. To read the first installment from this new Saturday Series, click HERE. To check out the second story, go HERE. Read his third installment HERE. Don’s fourth installment appears HERE. His fifth installment can be found HERE. We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!
By Don Niemyer
Let’s talk about normal for a second, want to? Our lives are each full of things that ”when first experienced ”,are absolutely phenomenal. From an amazing sunset to the miracle of childbirth to that spectacular Kenyan you’re drinking right now ”life is simply bursting with extraordinary experiences. But because they happen all the time, they get normalized, and it becomes one of life’s little puzzles, doesn’t it? To hang on to the wonder and amazement that rightly ought to accompany these abundant treasures everywhere we turn?
I happen to be in a season of abundant treasure right now. I’m getting to travel the nation, visiting every great coffee shop I can track down, meeting the excellent folks who run them, and just soaking in their goodness. But I gotta admit: After doing this long enough, I have to wrestle with keeping in mind that, even though this is normal to me, it is actually quite an extraordinary experience, and one that I would be remiss to not hold with constant gratitude for what it is and all it is giving me.
So I was thinking about this today, and thinking about you, the folks who might read this, and I got to thinking how you’re probably right there with me in this gratitude thing. If you work in coffee, you are likely surrounded by some of the most amazing things and people life has to offer. Maybe you travel to origin and nurture relationships with producers. Perhaps you are in roasting or production, tasked with coaxing those little green guys into their full potential and ensuring they make it to the consumer in prime fashion. Or maybe you’re a barista, the final step in the chain, delivering cups of goodness to your daily customers, along with a smile or a œhow you doing this morning that truly makes their day, and shows them that someone cares about their life.
Whatever you do, one thing is certain: It is absolutely phenomenal that you get to do it. We get to do this! It may seem normal in the day-to-day grind, but when we stop and think about it, it’s anything but. So today, I hope you take a second to smile to yourself and just send out some gratitude for this amazing life. And as for me personally? What I got to do this week was simply travel across the nation, from Indiana to Washington, D.C., exploring the amazing coffee shops out there, and sharing those experiences with you. I get to do this! And I am so grateful.
So that’s the stuff from which my gratitude grows for this week, but I’ll be back soon with more. Now that we made it to the east coast, it’s time to poke around out here and see what we can dig up, starting by heading south from Virginia, down through the Carolinas, and on into Georgia and Florida. 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 at DonNiemyer.com. See you soon!