The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.
This week: Virginia to Florida
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:
We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!
By Don Niemyer
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. I was in a coffee shop (of course!) and we had set up our meeting for 11 a.m. I was new in town, looking forward to meeting some new people, and truth be told, I was pretty nervous. Would she like me? Would she think I fit in? So much seemed to be riding on this meeting. But I was confident. It was going to go great.
œDon? I heard my name and looked up to see a cute blonde in her mid twenties, with sparkling eyes and an infectious smile, looking at me. œI’ll be right there, she said, standing behind a counter at the far end of the shop. She turned to talk briefly to the barista beside her, then waddled around the corner ”all 190 pounds of her. No one had bothered to tell me she was eight months pregnant! But then again, it wasn’t really my business. This was the Starbucks that she managed, and I was here for a job interview. I would never have guessed at that moment that we were going to be lifelong friends.
Nevertheless, here we are. Thirteen years, four kids, and five relocations between us later, we’re still thick as thieves. Gail now lives in Savannah, Georgia, and no longer works in coffee, but she’ll always be the person who gave me my first job in the industry, and when we were planning the Rialta Coffee Tour, seeing her was one of those non-negotiable stops. So this week, come along with us as we head south through Virginia and the Carolinas, hang out in Savannah a few days, then head on into Jacksonville, Florida. It’s the southeast edition of the Rialta Coffee Tour! Let’s get going!
I hope you enjoyed seeing the shops we visited on our southeast leg of the tour, and meeting the person who introduced me to the industry! Maybe you’ll think of that person who gave you your first shot, and give ˜em a little shout out this week. Meanwhile, we’ll head our rig north and make our way up the east coast to see what trouble we can get into up there. 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!