[Homeroast] Best unexpected coffee

Sandy Andina sandraandina at mac.com
Sun Sep 19 18:48:50 CDT 2010

On Sep 19, 2010, at 6:28 PM, Hank Perkins wrote:

> How refreshing.
> I think it would be wonderful if we started a thread where if you go
> some where and find exceptional coffee we post it here.
Okay, I'm game.  First time I played in Marquette, MI, it was at Dead River Coffee.  We'd been in Escanaba the night before, but the only actual espresso bar in town was going through some pretty heavy changes what with the owner serving in Iraq. The other place was one of those foo-foo shopping mall coffee-and-gift-shops, which sold as many picture frames, scented candles and tchotchkes as it did coffee; half its beans were flavored and the only machines it sold were Francis! Francis! because they looked cool and came in colors.  Their lattes tasted just as you'd expect.  Made Gloria Jean's or the Coffee Beanery seem like Intelligentsia. 

We pulled up in front of Dead River and decided to caffeinate before setting up our equipment.  Imagine my surprise when I walked in and smelled coffee roasting! Yup, they're the major specialty coffee roasters in northern MI (the only ones on the Upper Peninsula).  Nary a flavored bean in any of the bins.  Ordered a breve, and....OMG, a rosetta!  Tasted so good I had to order a double ristretto to boot. Amazing.  Nice place to play, too, though they no longer book music (gee, thanks, ASCAP & BMI goons).  Next day we got to the festival we were playing on the outskirts of town, and lo and behold: there on the food midway was a Dead River truck, with a 2-group Nuova Simonelli and two grinders.  And it tasted as good as in the shop (though they offered fewer types of milks and didn't have time to do rosettas--the fest crowd caught on to them, even Garnet Rogers who travels with his own Silvia in his camper.

On the way home, a few miles northwest of Escanaba, we pulled into Rapid River, where my singing partner remembered there was a song circle going on at Cuppa Jo.  Expecting more from the music than the coffee (with a name like that, and the fact that it was run as a high school Junior Achievement  project), we went inside and ordered cappuccinos. "Wet or dry? Classic or Seattle?" asked the 15-yr-old barista. Pinch me, I thought.  Pretty darned good--noticed from the crema that the beans were about 9 days old. Asked what beans they were using......Dead River.  No latte art, but they're certainly forgiven.

Peace & song, 

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