Jonathan R, quick to strike up a quiet conversation as insecurity of his glitter-painted nails eludes him, is unassuming and eclectic -- qualities his loyal patrons enjoy not only in him, but also in his specialty espresso drinks.
Having been raised in rural Arkansas, Jonathan has a simple appreciation for the coffee experience -- in the same way that anyone growing up in a small town appreciates a swaying tree or a quiet afternoon drive. Coffee experiences are diverse, and specialty espresso is just one band in a spectrum of episodes. I suppose it's the apparent lack of pretense that keeps me coming back.
Jonathan's journey into the coffee world was a humble one -- probably not different than many others. When asked of his favorite coffee experience in the city, what stands out to him is nothing more than a Cafe Au Lait in City Park's Morning Call under broad-winged oaks. A fitting favorite for a man who describes landing in New Orleans as a "return home". He'd been in D.C. the five years prior.
In a return to the south, New Orleans seemed the right fit for a number of reasons. Concerning coffee, New Orleans' coffee scene hadn't fully developed and was ripe for differentiation. More importantly, however, the people here weren't the coming and going type. People in New Orleans have this way of sticking around, and Jonathan and his wife wanted community -- a place to plant roots with planted people. And so it's been -- a return home, a cherished community, and the dawn of a modest dream. Time for a coffee.
Words and photos : Michael Tucker