The Ultimate Coffee Road Trip Across the United States.
This week: Oklahoma to South Dakota
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. We hope you continue to enjoy Don’s reports as much as we do!
By Don Niemyer
Moments of clarity. We all get one from time to time, and each one has the potential to be absolutely life changing. They can also be terrifying, prompting you at times to leave behind the security of familiarity, daring to walk in the shadowy ambiguity of the unknown, each bend in the trail holding the thrill of possible ecstasy, as well as the equally exciting thrill of potential destruction.
For me, the biggest one of those happened in Oklahoma. I was 30 years old, driving down the road to a job that I liked, but that had become increasingly unsatisfying. I was starting to have that sense that there was œmore for me. Then my moment of clarity hit: œI don’t have to live here. I can go anywhere in the world. A few months later I had sold my house, bought a Jeep, moved to the mountains of Colorado, and gotten a job in coffee. And so, as far as coffee goes, it was the beginning of everything.
Why bring it up? Because this week on the Rialta Coffee Tour we’re headed ”among other places ”back to where that moment happened: the plains of Oklahoma, my home state! This is where we name our sports teams after cheaters (that would be the Sooners ”look it up), produce country music-singing legends like a factory (Gill, Brooks, Underwood, and Shelton, to name just a few), and where there just happens to be some of the best coffee in the nation. So this week, we’ll start in the heartland, get back up to Colorado, and continue on north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Yeehaw! Let’s go round up some coffee on the Rialta Coffee Tour!
So that’s it for this week, my caffeinated friends. Next week, we’ll get you all ready for the Big Central Barista Competition coming up in November with a trip to Minneapolis. We dug through all the notable shops and came up with our list of the ones you just gotta visit. We’ll look forward to seeing you then, so be sure to check back here often. Until then, follow us in real time on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, 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.