Road Journals Blog—I judge a town by its coffee shops—and Starbucks doesn’t count. Neither do Peet’s, Caribou, or Seattle’s Best.
The coffee shop I want to find is local. It doesn’t need to roast its own beans, but I keep my fingers crossed that they were roasted within a half-day’s drive. Maybe it doubles as a bakery. (No matter how good a coffee drive-thru is, it doesn’t count. I need something on which to sit and drink in some local flavor with my double espresso.)
I found a winner my first morning in Casper: Metro Coffee . A block off 2nd Street on the main downtown drag—with windows looking over the brick Casper Fire Department Station 1—Metro serves DazBog coffee , roasted about four hours down I-25, in Denver. It also has house-made cinnamon rolls the size of my face. Americanos and espressos are the same price ($2 for a double), and the Wi-Fi is free.
Walls are bright green, and the artwork is local and for sale. The furniture is an eclectic mix of oak and Formica tables, and thrift-shop couches that practically beg you to spend a few hours sitting in them reading a book or newspaper. Nothing matches.
One thing that won me over was the lack of impulse-buy items so frequently found crowded around coffee-shop cash registers. There’s little here besides coffee, tea, and fresh baked goods.
My friends are all aware of my obsession with coffee shops—or at least with a certain type of coffee shop. When I’m asked what makes a coffee shop perfect, I have no ready answer. Perfect coffee shops—and I believe there can be many types of perfect coffee shop—aren’t described as much as discovered.
And Metro is one.
What do you look for in a great coffee shop? Any suggestions for local places of note around the West?
Dina Mishev wrote about Casper, Wyo., for the September/October 2011 issue  of VIA.
This blog post was first published in September 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.