For some people, a morning doesn’t begin until that first cup of coffee hits their lips. Airports know this. As soon as you get through security, there’s a good chance that you’re jonesing for that joe, so there are coffee shops ready and waiting to deliver your fix. That usually means Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts or any of the other chain coffee places. That’s starting to change, though.
In a story from Food Republic this morning called “Airports Are Stepping Up Their Coffee Game,” they detail the shift from big coffee chains towards more local, artisanal fare. Just as airports are bringing in local restaurants to give travelers more of a taste of the city they’re flying in and out of, now independent coffee roasters are getting their due. It’s all thanks to airport concessions operator OTG which has partnered with Sense Appeal in Toronto (YYZ), Irving Farm in New York (LGA and JFK), Dogwood Coffee in Minneapolis (MSP), and Caffé Vita nationally. In addition to the beans, the shops that they run feature high-end coffee-making equipment like AeroPress brewers, fancy grinders, and high-end drippers. Even the best equipment, though, would be nothing without a proper barista.
The barista question is the biggest challenge in developing craft coffee programs at airports. Without the right training, the coffee will just taste like… coffee. That’s why OTG puts their prospective coffee pros through a massive training program that ends in an official certification. Hopefully well-trained baristas will start flocking to airport locations to ply their trade. Pretty soon, you may be skipping the go-to Starbucks and grabbing some local brew instead.
Do you have a favorite airport coffee bar? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.