If they didn’t know better, visitors to Huntsville might think that NASA’s rockets were powered by caffeine. How else to explain the galaxy of coffee shops in the city?
As you sip your way along the Craft Coffee Trail, you’ll find yourself in cafés inspired by bicycles, cupcakes, and even the Apollo space program. One shop resides in a modified shipping container and another in a former school classroom.
“You don’t get a homogenized experience,” says Chad Emerson of Downtown Huntsville, which sponsors the trail. “It’s not starving artists selling coffee, it’s people who could do anything they wanted to do.”
The coffee stops reflect modern-day Huntsville: They’re kind of nerdy with a touch of hipness, but above all friendly. “They’re a third place between work and home,” says Victor Burlingame, owner of Gold Sprint coffee shop, where you can also pump up your bike tires or stop for a craft beer.
Those up to the caffeine challenge can score a trail mug by visiting all the stops and collecting stamps on a coffee trail card, which you can pick up at any participating java joint. But even if you’re not ready to grind though a latte marathon, the trail offers an unexpected perk: a tour through a city renowned for its ingenuity.
So, start your espresso engines. There’s a barista ready to take your order. Here are highlights of the trail.