Finely Ground at the Grind

It’s been about a year since I wrote on my coffee shop cruising blog.  Yesterday I had a bug to go to my favorite in the area, take some photos, and write about it.  Unfortunately it was closed yesterday, which pushed me to keep driving until I landed in Cedar City, Utah at The Grind Coffeehouse.

My drive there took just under three hours, which may seem a bit crazy for the normal person.  I accept that I may not be normal, especially where coffee shop cruising comes in to play.  I love it – being in them, people watching, spending time on Facebook, and sometimes talking to people.  I’m not sure I’m a big fan of coffee, but I do enjoy holding a warm cup of coffee in my hand, smelling the aroma of it, and allowing my mind to wander to other places.

It’s a social thing for me whether I’m with people or not – a way for me to be where people are, without being with people.  That is what I love about The Grind.  I find it to be a great place to write in my journal, sit in the morning sun in or outside, and to watch people with friends and family enjoying their drinks.

Now that it’s fall the college students have returned and it seems to have a little beatnik flavor to it.  This surprised me in Utah, but Cedar City is different.  The community has an artsy flavor and reminds me of a very small Portland, Oregon – almost like a small neighborhood in Portland.  It’s also similar to the downtown area of Fort Collins, Colorado.  With the new and used bookstore next door to The Grind, it reminds me of Matter Bookstore and the Bean Cycle, where I spent a lot of time while in the Fort Collins area.  Then of course, Portland and Fort Collins remind me of Madison, Wisconsin which is home for me.  I guess that’s why I’ve driven hours to have a cuppa at The Grind – it has the ability to take me back home.

Yesterday I got a dose of home while in Cedar City.  I enjoyed a spiced Chai Latte while I sat and watched people, remembering the coffee shops I’ve been to over the years.  There was an elderly couple at the table next to me playing cribbage and sharing a salad.  A few teenagers came in, got their smoothies and foo-foo whipped cream topped drinks and were talking about the day at school.  There a few people with laptops busy on Facebook, one man on Skype, and a group of college students discussing the Make-A-Wish fundraiser they are working on for a class.

Usually “the grind” stirs up thoughts of work, anxiety, and stress.  Yesterday The Grind put me at ease because it provided for me what I needed to settle my anxiety before heading home for the day.  It calmed my restless soul enough that when I drove through the mountains and found snow, I took the time to pull over, touch it, and take some photos.  A finely grounded day.

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Cuppy’s Cuppa Holiday Cheer

Yeah….I already wrote about Cuppy’s awhile ago, but they had such an awesome holiday open house, I had to write a little more and share some photos.  After all, it was Joe and Krista that helped me to open up and receive the love northern Colorado had to offer me. 

I’ve done a lot of coffee shop cruising over the years, and I think this year was the first time I was invited to a holiday party at a coffee shop.  Beer, wine, and snacks for customers and friends – it sounded like so much fun.  As usual, hesitating to make a commitment to anything, I sent my RSVP as a maybe. 

The morning of the party, after I was asked to return to my job in January (woo-hoo!), so I knew I needed to go to the open house and reconnect with the people who were part of “Kristy finding Kristy” in northern Colorado.  Not only did I spend many mornings hanging out talking to Joe and Krista before work, but I spent a lot of time laughing with them, often at myself, and often about my Facebook and other social media blunders.  For me, it’s all about laughter at Cuppy’s, whether about me, Joe, Krista, Jim, or Krista’s postings on Facebook.  Just the thought of Cuppy’s makes me smile and often laugh out loud.

The party.  They had an impressive spread of snacks, platters, trays of food, chocolate, cookies, and cheesecake.  I joined my little social group and snacked away.  I spent over an hour eating, talking, and of course, laughing.  Although I didn’t know everyone, there were many faces I recognized, and not one without a smile.  What a great gift they’ve given all of us.

Holiday Cheers to Cuppy’s!


Cuppy’s Cuppa Cheers….where everyone knows your name.

Cuppy’s is located in the Drake Professional Plaza on Drake, near College Avenue in Ft. Collins.  I started coming here in April, when I was working for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Once I planted myself here, it was difficult for me to expand my Ft. Collins coffee shop cruising.

When I think of Cuppy’s, I think of Joe and Krista, the owner and manager.  I also think of music, Italian coffee (they serve Caffe’ D’arte), and social media.  Late spring I was being “pushed” to dive into Facebook, but I resisted.  Joe and Krista were both having fun with it, giving me updates on their pages, and telling me that I would enjoy it.  Kicking and screaming, I started in sometime around late June.  If you know me on Facebook, then you know that I dove in without asking how deep the water was, and just started swimming (thanks, Krista!).

The coffee here is from Italy.  Yum-yum!  I have to admit, I have a special love for Italy, having worked in and managed Italian restaurants, enjoyed Italian food and wine, music, and having taken a course in Italian.  Watching an espresso being made here reminds me of Nunzio Vincitorio, the baker at Vincitorio’s restaurant in Tempe, Arizona.  If you’ve ever been there and have met Nunzio and his brother, Mario, you would know why that’s a great memory to have. 

Although it was the Italian coffee that brought me back here the second or third time, it was the customer service and personal connections that Joe and Krista make, that kept me coming back.  Not only are they friendly, but I think Joe is the reason I met and made Jim a friend of mine (I didn’t give him a choice).  As it turns out, Jim is from Iowa and actually was in my small hometown in Wisconsin many years ago for a high school band concert.  Small world, big connections.

Cuppy’s Cuppa Cheers!  One of the best experiences I’ve had in Fort Collins.


Coffee in the Land of Love…


The Loveland Coffee Company could almost be one of my ‘secret garden spots’ in Loveland, Colorado. Located in a small strip mall on 29th Street, I’ve passed it many times without considering stopping. Yesterday I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised.

Inside I found the decor very pleasing. The colors are are my favorites (actually, all colors are) – warm, dark caramels, olive greens, chocolate browns – colors with food names! Cozy sofas, big chairs, a gas fireplace, and plenty of tables and chairs.

The staff is very welcoming. I’m an in-house coffee drinker and both days was offered to have my cup warmed up. What a nice gesture! This is something I’ve noticed only once before, and that was at Catalyst Coffee in Fort Collins. At Catalyst, they don’t ask, they just automatically warm it up with hot water.

I could live here. In fact, I think I was here yesterday for four hours and today I’ve already been here over two. My comfort level hanging out here might be too high – I don’t want to move. Thank goodness I have dog responsibilities today, otherwise I’d probably be here through the lunch hour.

Although most of the morning they’ve had a full house of in-house and to-go traffic, it never felt too busy. The mix of people flowing through here is both diverse and interesting – farmers, professionals, grandparents with a grandchild, friends, singles, and parents with young children. I love the people watching opportunities here. There are so many beautiful connections that happen here…in the Land of Love…at the Loveland Coffee Company!

This little hideaway is now on the top of my coffee shop cruising destinations!


Starbucks Above the Clouds

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This morning I found myself back in Woodland Park, after starting my drive down the hill to Manitou Springs. The fog or clouds (?) were so thick and appeared to be crawling up the mountain, so I turned around and made my way back here, the city above the clouds. Today the clouds are reclaiming the heavens and trying to rise above Woodland Park.

I’m at Starbucks and it’s a full house. It may not be my favorite coffee or coffee shop, but I usually love the music and decor. They also bring in the best clients for people watching. What a great thing…to sit here, in my own world, watching people. There’s an elderly couple sharing a piece of pumpkin bread, three men having a business meeting, a couple women chatting about their children, and two young girls enjoying their foo-foo chocolate coffee drinks.

A couple days ago their was a dad with his 3 year old daughter having scrumptious looking drinks while they waited for her mom to pick her up. I’ve noticed this mostly in Starbucks – the single parents treating children to drinks while waiting for parental exchanges to happen. It also seems to be a place to take teenagers, especially in the morning, as a way of connecting with them. I’ve overheard a lot of conversations of single parents with children and it makes me happy to think that a mocha latte something-or-other can be what brings and/or keeps parents connected to their children. At least in that moment.

It appears that the clouds have retreated as I now have a clear view of Pike’s Peak. The windows at the entrance face Pike’s Peak and it’s time for me to leave this Starbucks above the clouds.

Now I pack up and head to Manitou Springs, to meet John, a 79 year old Manitou resident who wants so much to share his knowledge and history of the area with me. He called this morning to find out if I was still willing to listen. But of course, it will be my pleasure.


Join me for a cuppa!

Coffee shop cruising has become a way of life for me, so I’ve decided to share it with the world. 

Through words and images I will bring my coffee shop visits here.  Each one is unique and wonderful in its own way, whether it’s the coffee itself, food, ambiance, people, views, nearby attractions, or conversation.  It’s all about the relationships of these things with each other and a recognition that it we’re all in this thing called life together. 

I’m an observer who has has a passion and genuine love for people and the earth.  Given a chance and with (or maybe without) permission, I will take some photos while visiting my jaunts to share visuals with you. 

After writing that, a man came to mind – Ward Torke.  He owns Torke Coffee, a coffee roasting business in Wisconsin.  When I was in fund raising, I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet with him a couple times.  Much of the pleasure was listening to him talk.  He speaks with gentle grace and exhibits a passion for buying and roasting coffee, and for people. 

I raise my cup of coffee to Ward!