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Business and Economy

Photo Essay: A Look Inside Reno's Eclectic Coffee Scene

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Aishwarya Krishnamoorthy
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Northern Nevada’s coffee scene has grown in recent years, with a greater demand for local roasts and coffee shops. Reno Public Radio’s Aishwarya Krishnamoorthy has this report.

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Lighthouse Coffee in Sparks has a small in-house roaster sitting, unassumingly, in a corner of the shop. Owner Todd Prinz shows me a batch of freshly roasted beans, and I begin to more acutely realize the long and laborious process behind coffee. I learned a lot from my visits to different shops these past couple of weeks about what the Reno-Sparks region has to offer and the community that’s building around these businesses.

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Professors Rina Schumer (L) and Kerri Jean Ormerod work on writing a research proposal at Bibo Coffee near the University of Nevada, Reno.

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The morning rush at The Purple Bean near Keystone Avenue. Occasionally, officers from the Reno Police Department will stop by for coffee and conversation before they go out on duty, which to me feels like a perfect instance of different sectors of the community supporting one another.

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Customers meet, talk, and mingle at the family owned and operated Lighthouse Coffee. Some of the regulars come to take a break after exercising before going home, some come in to do work, and some meet just to chat with friends.

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A customer at Global Coffee in downtown Reno waits for her order. This coffee shop can be found in the underground venue The Basement, alongside many other local businesses.

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Hub Coffee Roasters by the Truckee River downtown is one of several shops that actually roasts their own coffee beans, showing that Reno is indeed immersing itself in developing the kind of coffee culture that can be seen in larger cities like Portland or San Francisco.

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Murals of shoes decorate the sidewalk near Hub, as part of a piece titled Comings and Goings by local artist Bahareh Shahrabi Farahani. These quirky images evoke feelings of community and movement, appropriate for a piece so close to the heart of the town and its local businesses.

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While I was speaking with Patty Herzog, the owner of Global Coffee, none other than Governor Sandoval popped in to grab a drink. The chance encounter showed just how significant it is for locally recognizable people to patronize local businesses. It’s as simple as stopping in and getting a drink on the way to something else.

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A section of the Saturday morning crowd at Hub Coffee. Its location by the river attracts bicyclists, runners, readers, and anybody else you could imagine. I chatted with a pair of friends who meet here for coffee every weekend and then go for a bike ride. They, like many others I have seen during my work on this project, have incorporated local business like this into their routines.

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Randy Darrow babysits his 17 month-old granddaughter Anna and at the end of their walks they often stop at a coffee shop for a break. Randy enjoys the comfort of local shops and so does Anna – today they’re at The Purple Bean and “she’s a happy camper here.”

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The coffee used in the tasting at Coffeebar. Sourced from Kenya, it had flavors of red currant, nutmeg, and anise (like licorice). While I didn’t participate in the tasting, the surplus cups filled with ground coffee were nearby and they had a tantalizing fragrance.

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