Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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BY KELSEY SNELL MAP IMAGES COURTESY OF BLUE CROW MEDIA ANDREW EVANS, National Geographic's "digital nomad," took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, last October. His full itinerary included a tour of the behemoth Biltmore Estate and bird-watching with ecologists in the Highlands, and although a double-decker-bus– turned-café wasn't on the explorer's agenda, the need for caffeine led him to a local in the know—his barista at Double D's Coffee. As a professional world traveler, Andrew's job is to find the anchors of a community and experience the richest concentration of local culture in a short period of time. He turns to the coffeehouse. "Cafés are one of the rare daytime places that allow for true intimacy with locals. Time stops, people share, stories get passed back and forth," he says. "In this century, that kind of thing…only really happens in cafés." Andrew doesn't claim to be a coffee aficionado, but many Barista readers do. As a coffee professional or a savant, you know a thing or two about the stuff. While most of us share an interest in where coffee comes from, how it was roasted and what it tastes like, our love for it grows from the more intangible notions. We're drawn to the culture, community and comfort, which, for Andrew, are what we search for when we travel. So we travel by cafés; we may even travel for them. Coffee-driven travel is not a completely novel concept, but it deserves some recognition as the lens we experience a place through—even our own hometowns. But why cafés? Why is the view from a café different than that of an art museum or a retail zone? And really, why navigate to a not-quite-up-and-coming neighborhood for the 30-second thrill of an espresso at a shop with room for three? For the same reason we eat at greasy spoons, shop an unfamiliar farmers' markets, or drink the local beer, that's why. As travelers in uncharted territory, we want to know what we've been missing. We want to eat what the locals eat, buy what they buy, and drink what they drink. And somewhere in there, we're hoping a little bit of the place settles into us. As coffee people who savor terroir, the individual factors that influence the bean's overall quality, we want to know the same small elements that give a place its flavor. And in most cities those elements come together around coffee, so we travel by cafés, our instruments to test the terroir of a new destination. "STRANGE NEW PLACE" In the fall of 2012, I returned to the U.K. to see friends from my study-abroad program in Glasgow, Scotland, www.baristamagazine.com 67

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