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black mountain

mightymezzo73 in road_food

A Cup of Coffee I Have Known

I'm Sarah. I've traveled extensively in this country (visited 44 out of the 50 states), mostly by car (sometimes with family or friends, but thousands of miles just by my lonesome). I've laid my head down in some very lonely places and eaten many wonderful meals in little towns. Right now I'm going to specifically mention the moment I discovered COFFEE.

I wasn't much of a coffee drinker in college or graduate school. Occasionally I grabbed a cafe mocha or a latte but I never just sat down with a cup of coffee. I never made my own. Heck, I didn't even own a coffee maker.

Everything changed when I went to the Jailhouse Café in Moab, Utah, in early May of 2000. I was there with a group of students and faculty from my department at the University of Michigan. We were on the department's annual spring trip. Tradition held that breakfasts and dinners were eaten in restaurants, and Moab, where we were camping for several days, had much to offer. Word got around that this place had incredible food and everyone had to try it. Thus it was that myself and some of my classmates found ourselves at the Jailhouse Café one morning. The menu stated that the only kind of coffee they served was 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain. My knowledge of coffee, while limited, did include some tidbit I had heard about Jamaican Blue Mountain being some of the best coffee in the world. I decided to give it a try.

I think my reaction was along the lines of "ohmygod this is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted." I had no idea coffee could taste like that. My experience had been limited to overdone, adulterated things from Starbucks, Caribou, and the like. This was entirely different. It was...incredible. It was sweet but I had not added any sugar. It was chocolatey but it definitely wasn't a mocha. It was amazing! I not only drank about four cups of the stuff but I drank it black. I NEVER drank coffee black. I couldn't bear to put anything in it that might alter the flavor, and it was wonderful without any extras. I came away from that meal knowing I had just discovered something special.

Almost six months later-- in late October of 2000-- I was on my way back to Michigan from California. From the moment I left my grandparents' I started plotting how I was going to return to Moab and the Jailhouse Café. I worked it so I spent the night in Green River, Utah. In the morning I took a 60-mile round-trip detour, leaving I-70 behind to head 30 miles down U.S. 191 to Moab just so I could sit down at the café and have myself another few cups of Jamaican Blue Mountain. My return visit was everything I dreamed it would be. I haven't had the opportunity to go back again...yet. The Jailhouse Café is still there, and I'm sure the coffee is still hot and delicious.


That's cool, I never drink coffee black either but I might have to try this if I ever get out there. Look forward to reading your other stories as well. I have some but I'd have to talk about travelling on the highways, and there's a rule in this community about that...
I've never had Jamaican Blue Mountain but I've heard nothing but rave reviews about it. The closest thing I've ever had is probably Kona.

Moab, Utah and the Jailhouse Cafe is now on my long list of places to visit as I travel this country. I've been dying to really try a good cup of plain black coffee, and that sounds like the place to get it.

Thanks for joining, Sarah. :-)
Oh, I knew I was in as soon as I saw your post about this community. I love traveling the blue highways of this country. Or sometimes roads that aren't even highways at all.

Speaking of the book Blue Highways, I had to read it during the summer before my junior year of high school. Judging by the reaction of my classmates, I was the only person who not only actually finished the book, but liked it. As soon as I was able, I put the Blue Highways philosophy into action. I have so, so, so many wonderful memories of the days and weeks I spent traveling the country. Sadly, those carefree days have ebbed to a trickle now that the "real world" is upon me, but I long to get back in my car and head out with just my tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, and my well-worn maps. I have a ton of road food stories just itching to burst forth.
Now now now...you know what name dropping of books does to me. :-P I just have to add another to my list. It sounds like a great book and one I'd certainly love reading.

I'm hoping this community is kind of the launching pad for a career for me in food and travel writing, and a cool way to get to know and meet new people.

I'm looking forward to hearing your stories. If there's anything that makes me want to travel more, it's hearing about other people's adventures.

October 2007

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