I think it’s really fun to find quality microbrews while traveling. I get a chance to try something tasty, and I often get a chance to mingle with locals (in the case of my recent visit to the Lost Abbey/Port Brewing tasting room, I even met a friendly black cat). It’s also not super-hard to find good microbrewers and brew pubs.
For me, it’s way harder to find good coffee shops unless I’m someplace like Portland or Seattle. I was 0 for 2 on cappuccino during my recent visit to San Diego. I won’t name the establishments here … mostly because the second barista really tried hard to produce a good drink. She took her time, and the micro-foam was spot-on. Unfortunately, the coffee itself was way too hot and had a much more bitter edge than I prefer. For the solid effort, I can’t leave her and her establishment hanging out to dry.
If you travel to Arizona, of course, Arizona-coffee.com will not steer you wrong. But I need to start doing better research when I travel. Does anyone out there have any resources for finding great barista people all across the nation?
In Australia, New Zealand and Costa Rica, I’m pretty golden. It’s easy to find great coffee there. From what I understand, AUS and NZ have mandatory barista training that’s pretty extensive. Australia is pretty awesome because it also grows its own beans in Queensland. In New Zealand, it’s impossible to roll into even the smallest town and not find a pretty classy cafe. Costa Rica? Easy. Just get brewed coffee and toss in a touch of sugar. Cream’s not needed.
I just have a lot of trouble in the U.S.