A Day in the Life of a Wandering Barista
After having some time to rest and recover from our first summer on the road, the first thing I noticed was the absence of something. Looking back at the chaos it’s easy to see why I missed it – for the first time in a decade, I’m without a café to call home! As liberating as the thought of shattering those walls and becoming a Wandering Barista are, there are things about that life I will sorely miss.
In an attempt to share what we find on our adventures we’re creating this newsletter, to start what we see as a virtual café! Buffalo is a unique city with a lot to offer in the way of art, food, coffee, and experiences. We’re going to start this new venture by sharing a day in the life of a wandering barista and what it’s like driving our nitro bike to caffeinate the city of good neighbors!
It’s 645am and I have just finished loading the bike up with everything it will need for a full day of dodging potholes and testing the limits of disc brakes. By 715am, I’m rolling over the skyway. Late. Run the Jewels distracts me as I bomb into the city of good neighbors. Thinking through my stops for the day while looking for a place to park, a kind cyclist suggests I learn to drive. He’s right, but I’m pulling a box trailer with a fucking Subaru, so give me a minute, damn. It’s now 8am and Christopher meets me to help unload and get setup before he heads out to make deliveries
Riding down Elmwood and passing all the local coffee shops, I can’t help but think about how different and unique every café is. After ten years of consistency with the Siren it’s hard not to notice how many great options there are these days- all with their own unique vibe.
Speaking of, that brings us to one of our biggest takeaways from our new venture and the inspiration for our newsletter!
Why do the folks that curate your caffeine collect this art, play that music, and support the causes on the wall? These were all important questions we asked ourselves while founding Nickel City Nitro, but by setting out from behind the counter and ditching the traditional four-wall café, we weren’t sure how we would be able to share in that self-expression and dialogue. In the absence of a physical location, we’ve adopted the Queen City as the art, our walls, and our stereo system (figuratively speaking, of course. We are actually using Bluetooth speakers, but you get the point). Our co-workers are the makers, the builders- people like YOU- who find their purpose in their craft.
After spending some time with the community on the Elmwood Strip talking about new tattoos and meeting new folks with Ryan (@thatbarbercricket) and the crew at Hand of Doom (@handofdoomtattoos), I pedal on. I think I want to add to the dystopian Lorax scene tattoo on my left shoulder- that could be because it’s trash pickup day on Elmwood, but it’s hard to say. I zigzag south around 9:45am and almost die crossing Delaware. I know what it looks like folks, and no. Obviously there wasn’t a thought out plan here…
10:03am, As I turn on Main, I’m welcomed by the Keep Buffalo A Secret mural, done by local muralist Ian De Beer, and my friends at KHaus and Oxford Pennant. How many murals are there in Buffalo? If there isn’t a list keeping track, there should be. The more time I spend around Main Street, the more I appreciate art. There’s the big ass mural, the amazing rotating gallery in Khaus, and Oxford’s creative pennants – I’m thankful these people create, and show such patience for random questions about the art scene.
Onward. It’s 11am and I need to get off the busy streets for a break. I pull into a quiet neighborhood for a sip of water and a local gentleman manifests to tell me about the oldest tree in Buffalo. To my surprise, he isn’t lying. After an interesting conversation about other local old trees (this man knew a shocking amount on this topic) I continue toward my second to last stop and I get sidetracked by a delicious smell. I spent more time than I should wondering what the smell coming out of the back of a building was before Fat Bob’s catering van pulled up. I need to remember to pack a lunch. What I really want is a good street taco. Christopher and I are on a mission to appreciate every taco in Buffalo. It’s our second purpose, only to caffeinating you. It’s good karma to share good tacos. Send them our way!
Ok, now it’s 11:30a, I set up quick stop at Rick’s Cycle Shop on Allen. I’m hot, hungry and my playlist has ended, so it’s time to start heading toward the trailer. The absence of music leaves space for me to reminisce of all the shows I’ve seen as I ride past venues. Feeling guilty about my ignorance of the current local music scene and wondering how they did through covid, I sent out a few requests for recommendations as I packed the bike up in the trailer.
We’re amazed by what a big impact the simple act of people sharing our newsletter has had on our business. If you enjoy our coffee or our content, the single most important thing you can do to help support is to recommend us to your friends. We’re also asking you and some of our friends to share your perspectives on local music, events, food, art and coffee house vibes. Hit the reply button and help us build a virtual café community.