Friday, June 01, 2007

CC: Barista's Daily Grind

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Barista's Daily Grind
Location visited: Kearney, NE
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Nebraska, land of corn and the Cornhuskers. It has remained one of the few states I have never set foot in until recently, when I had the distinct pleasure of driving across it. To tell the truth it wasn't that bad, especially since I had heard that there was a decent coffee location in Kearney, NE which ended up being a perfect spot to grab lunch as well as an afternoon cup of joe.

My friend and I made a quick lunch stop and then made our way into downtown Kearney to seek out the Barista's Daily Grind (let's call it the BDG for short). We found it promptly, though we were taken back by its odd architecture. The place looked like a gingerbread village, with an espresso drive-thru building set out in the front and two larger gingerbread house buildings flanking behind either side with a patio in between them. The front lawn (?) was made up of ornate gardens and really windy paths to get to the front door. Overall, I was a little overtaken with the complexity of the grounds.

The inside of what appeared to be the sit-down place was really small, with but two tables and four chairs (though plenty of space on the patio to sit, but what happens in winter?). The baristas were dressed in nice attire and the place looked snazzy, even offering alcohol (for those sticking around I assume).

The coffee they serve is a mystery, because for some daft reason they don't want people to know where they get their coffee (!!). I would think the roaster would want you to be proud of them (unless the coffee is being roasted in an unorthodox, suspect manner) and more importantly, what in tarnation is the point of keeping it a secret? The only people who you wouldn't want to know would be the same people waiting outside for your roaster to make a delivery (they'll find you out!). But I digress...

The mystery coffee is stored for wholesale up front, some of the containers holding large amounts of pre-ground coffee (why?). The coffee that I tasted sampled fairly decent, having a nice fresh flavor.

The espresso was where they won my admiration as the young man who pulled my shot (who clearly had some skills hammered into him) pulled my shots manually and expertly. The espresso itself tasted a little heavy, but I think that was more the espresso blend then the barista. The tea was Harney and Sons, which is a good cup of tea by my experience.

Overall, the place is definitely a gem amid the Mid-west but nonetheless, a 5'11'' man amongst giants. They seem to have multiple locations across the area; hopefully they can strengthen themselves before they grow any more in number. In closing, when in Nebraska keep an eye out for a BDG and give it a try for yourself.

*Update 8/16/07
Turns out that theres is some massive address changing going on; stay tuned via there website for newest location!


juliannawalker said...

Zoka is the roaster. Out of Seattle.

stephanie said...

This is a nice commentary, Bill. As a local of Barista's, it's sad for me to report that bank foreclosed on their properties. They've set up shop near the college, and some private investor in town purchased their two coffee locations, also to be used as coffee shops. They are bringing in someone from Norfolk, I believe, to run it.

To answer your question about what they do in the winter, it's actually quite nice. They have a cover they put in front of the large outside patio area, then the run heaters and keep the fireplace lit. It's actually quite cozy.

Bill said...


This is sad news first of the foreclosure but at the same time, good news that they've bounced back (from what it seems). Hopefully all will be resolved and BDG will tread on new frontier as well.
And thanks for settling the mystery behind the exterior! :)

Anonymous said...

I found my way to Kearney and tried a latte to see what the hype was all about... the coffee is good folks ;-).
In two days I ended up having four large lattes.
The place is hard to find though, I had to always keep an eye out for the Bill's liquor store sign to locate Barista's.

Anonymous said...

What light of day isn't today?

Anonymous said...

They are going stronger than ever! I tried several "big name" coffee shops while on vacation. None compared. Came home to BDG!