The road ends, but the journey continues...

Goat-Joe Love & Laura’s Sumatra (part one)

coffee art

Two of my favorite things: goats & dark roast coffee

By now, most of you know about my goat obsession.  So it was to my great delight when I discovered goats had a hand, or should I say hoof, in the creation of a long-time vice of mine: coffee.
Believe it or not, goats played a pivotal role in the historical first-time human interaction with coffee berries. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the high altitude mountains and contrasting valleys of the Ethiopian highlands…Now picture goats grazing…Open your eyes and keep that visual in mind while reading the following:
Goat herder tending his goats on the Ethiopian Highlands

Goat herder tending his goats on the Ethiopian Highlands

‘In ancient Ethiopia a young goatherd named Kaldi noticed his goats dancing and prancing after eating the small, red fruit of a nearby shrub.  Not wishing to be left out of the fun, Kaldi ate the coffee cherries and soon he was dancing with his goats.’

Some call this a legend.  I tend to believe it on face-value now that I’ve had firsthand experience with goats; in the garden or otherwise!
Historically, the Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade.  By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was widely known throughout Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in the many public coffee houses — called qahveh khaneh — which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. Not only did they drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they also listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept current on the news of the day.  In fact, coffee houses quickly became major centers for the exchange of ideas and information, gaining a reputation as being ‘Schools of the Wise.’
Over the years, I have accumulated an impressive a list of my favorite ‘Schools of the Wise.’  Personal criteria being: a place filled with ambiance, artistic vibes, happenings and serving quality coffee, preferably in-house roasted.  Oh, and the possible perk of offering killer chocolate croissants is always an added plus.

Here’s a brief rundown of the very best coffeehouses, beginning with those stalwart gems I frequented regularly at home in Colorado before we moved.

The Laughing Goat – Boulder, Colorado
The Laughing Goat t-shirt
-my fav place for happenings,including but not limited to regular poetry readings, improv sessions, great coffee art, meeting place for students, families, people of all persuasions, and besides…it’s in Boulder…

Cannon Mine Coffee – Lafayette, Colorado
Cannon Mine Coffee-always a good space to perform, listen to quality musicians play or just hang out with friends.

Those I discovered during our on-the-road journey between-homes include:

The Bean – Mesilla, New Mexico
-this is where I met Sonny, need I say more?The Bean Mesilla, NM

The Blue Lion Coffeeshop – Pierceton, Indiana
-this place, alas, no longer exists, but when we were sojourning in the Lakes Region of Indiana, it offered the absolute best in the way of weekly in-house roasted beans including a variety of specialty blends based upon local clientele palate requests all available for purchase.  My fav was called ‘Morning Thunder’ a non-acidic, full bodied, spicy-toned, medium-dark roast full of fragrant wake-up coffee aroma.  I have yet to find anything else come close to its equal.  Personally, I’d re-name it ‘Heavenly Roast’ if ever the place re-opens.

The Cartel Coffee Lab – Tempe, ArizonaCartel Coffee Lab Tempe, AZ
-the baristas absolutely forbid clients to order ‘Starbucks style’ instead they prepare coffee drinks with traditional precision, using only in-house roasted beans of course. Located inside a former mechanics garage near ASU, the place is definitely full of funkiness.  ‘Meet you at the Cartel!’


 Can’t you just smell those beans?  Yum!
…to be continued…


  1. Jayne

    I love posts that both educate and entertain, and this one definitely does both. Is there a favorite coffee house in Florence?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Nope, but am looking forward to checking out the new Panera once it opens. I do like the Midnight Rooster in Hartsville and your Books on Broad in Camden, tho! 😉

  2. Anna Scott Graham

    I grew up with parents who downed a ten-cup Mr Coffee pot every morning, and the aroma was always like heaven. I went off caffeine at the beginning of the year, but I do miss the routine on our Sunday morning breakfasts of ordering a latte, then mixing the foamy milk into the rest of the beverage, tasting that hint of flavour from the fragrance of my childhood.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I often down a six-cup pot each morning…tho of quality roast, ground-by-myself beans 🙂
      And, if truth be told, much of it goes down the drain making way for piping hot liquid refreshment at all times.
      Are you ‘off’ tea, too?

      • Anna Scott Graham

        I’m off caffeinated tea, which leaves me with echinachea tea every morning, followed by a small pot of jasmine. I have some black decaf, but honestly, I forget about it. It’s so strange, in that black tea has been my stalwart since the late 1990s. Suddenly, that’s all gone.
        A small part of me feels as if England has been forcibly removed from my veins. Hmm, perhaps I’ll make a cup of black decaf right now! 🙂

  3. Joe Finnerty

    Nice recollection of coffee joints. Maxwell House built its largest plant in Hoboken about 1937. When they vented the roasting ovens for the first time, the aroma made all of the residents jump for joy. I used to drink coffee while a working dude, but hardly ever touch it now. Recently had a Starbucks. What a rip off. Lousy taste, foam cup.

    • laura bruno lilly

      That’s makes for 77 years of wake-up coffee aroma bliss!

© 2024 Laura Bruno Lilly

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑