when i worked at Blue Bird Bake Shop, i remember a man coming in and mentioning that Blue Bird was his third place. overhearing him explain to my boss, Jeff, that most people have three places where they spend the majority of their time – home, work, and a third place. after reading up on it more i came across the idea from Ray Oldenburg’s book The Good Great Place, that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
there are several things that can be third places for people: community centers, libraries or bookstores, bars, etc. i believe that our third places are related to our comfort levels and our knowledge of that place. for instance, my third places are independent coffeeshops. but that has developed as my taste, love, knowledge, and appreciation of coffee has grown. it is related to my knowledge of coffee from working in that environment and having a good friend with a roastery. but also from my ideals of reinforcing good systems – getting my coffee from a fair source, supporting local, wanting to be a regular.

because i know a lot about coffee i can walk into any coffeeshop and feel home. (well, most coffeeshops. never a starbucks, sorry Abbey.) there is a level of familiarity for me. and excitement to see another local spot thriving and supplying a good product. as a result, i find coffeeshops everywhere i go. and since i’ve been traveling a lot this year i decided to compile a list of all the coffeeshops i’ve visited or spent time in in the past. upon compiling said list i realized that almost all of these i’ve been to or re-visited within the past year!

Orlando:
Downtown Credo – direct trade with a farm in Guatemala
Drunken Monkey
Stardust Video & Coffee
Infusion Tea
Dandelion Communitea Cafe

Mid-West:
Brew
9 Bean RowsGreat Northern Roasting Company
Mighty Good Coffee – Roastery and uses local milk in glass bottles!
Higher Grounds – Roasters
Zingerman’s – Roasters
Roos Roast Coffee – Micro-Roasters
Germack – Micro-Roasters
Intelligencia – In-store Roasting
The Brothers K – Fair Trade Organic Coffee
The Common Cup
New Wave
Ipsento – Micro-Roaster

Los Angeles:
Groundwork
The Novel Cafe
Handsome Roasters
Demitasse
The Ground Floor
Ten Forward
Daily Dose
Sabora & Cultura Cafe

The South:
The Gnu’s RoomMama Mocha’s Coffee Roastery
Urban Standard
PieLab (kind of counts.)
Octane Coffee
Java Monkey
Land of a 1000 Hills
Dancing GoatsBatdorf & Bronson
The Coffee Loft
Taylor’s Bakery – Mama Mocha’s Coffee Beanery
Red Door June
Magnolia Coffee & Tea Company – Mama Mocha’s Coffee Beanery
Grassroots Coffee – In-store Roastery
Fountain City Coffee – Small Batch Roasters

Favorite Memories:
Grassroots is located in Thomasville, GA in their beautifully old, but revived downtown. my friend Will told me about it since some of his friends opened it up. i have 2 great memories attached to the two times i’ve visited this place. it’s been sort of a magical place for me. the first was when I was moving back to Orlando from Auburn. i went out of my way to stop there for coffee and see the space and then took back roads all the way home, avoiding as many interstates as possible and adding hours to my trip. the second visit was on my birthday last year. Thomasville is somewhat in between Columbus, GA and Orlando and i wanted a road trip and camping for my birthday. so my dear friend Alli met me at Grassroots. we spent the day in downtown Thomasville and pitched our tent in an RV campsite outside of town. dreams do come true.

Demitasse is more of a funny story. located in little tokyo in LA, i stopped there after exploring, waiting on timing. the guy serving coffee asked me how my day was going. i told him that i had a great morning, but was not looking forward necessarily to the next part of my day. after explaining briefly he asked if i wanted more caffeine, rather than the decaf i had asked for. kind soul, but i stuck with the decaf.

9 Bean Rows is a farm bakery in Traverse City that was sharing their space with Great Northern Roasting Company. besides the fact that they have an incredible bakery, i think it was the best coffee i’ve had all year. i went back two days in a row.

The Brothers K in Evanston, IL is located conveniently close to Reba and is where i’ve shared some of my sweetest times in Chicago – with Leah, Steph, Karima, Laura Sully. it’s a great little spot and constantly busy and i always have really fun interactions with all the baristas there. it’s where i processed my life in February, spending days at a time journaling through the puzzles in my head.

The Gnu’s Room is one of my most favorite places on earth. I feel as though it was my actual home for awhile. i was there nearly every day when i lived in Auburn the second time, hanging out with Sarah as she roasted, doing crossword puzzles with Tina, learning about coffee and roasting and barista competitions. talking through the first stirrings of becoming a non-profit and of possibly screening movies. laughing as Tina impersonated all of the pets in her house. i love those ladies and that place dearly. they were what made me love my year back in auburn so so much.

and of course, Downtown Credo is my current third place in Orlando. by far the best coffee around town and prepared with the most love. great place for community, music, art shows, skill shares and some damn good bakery items, some of which i’ll be preparing in the fall. it’s a ‘name your price’ coffee shop and my family now.