By Stephanie Choate
A Williston native is giving coffee lovers and new way to sample what the Burlington area has to offer.
Henri St-Pierre, who graduated from Champlain Valley Union High in 2012 and now studies at McGill University in Montreal, recently launched the Indie Coffee Passport.
The passport, which costs $12, includes 10 independent cafes or restaurants in Burlington. Each stop on the passport entitles the holder to one drink from a special list of options.
“It’s a lot of cool stuff people are putting on the drink list,” St-Pierre said. “You can go discover new cafes or try something new at a cafe you already go to.”
St-Pierre said several new cafes have opened recently, and some more established coffee institutions have been developing new and interesting drinks.
“Even if you’ve been in Burlington for so long, it’s something new to do that’s inexpensive and fun,” he said. “It’s a good deal and fun summer thing to do.”
The passports were released earlier this month and are good through Dec. 15. Stops include Juniper at Hotel Vermont, Maglianero, Cursive Coffee, Pingala Cafe and Eatery, Barrio Bakery, New Moon, Skinny Pancake, South End Kitchen, Misery Loves Co. Bakeshop and Bluebird Coffee Stop.
St-Pierre came across a Canadian version of the passport while studying business at McGill, and decided to launch a Vermont edition.
“It creates more of a sense of community at the cafes in Burlington,” he said.
So far, customers seem into the idea, and the cafes are also on board.
“The cafes are really happy with the buzz they get from being part of the program,” he said, with an apt choice of words.
“One of the things that we value very highly here is the sense of community,” said Corey Goldsmith, manager at specialty coffee bar Maglianero, located in Burlington’s South End.
Goldsmith said Burlington’s coffee culture is booming right now. The passport, aside from being a good deal, helps coffee lovers explore the close-knit community and find new places.
“The art of cafe hopping is something practiced throughout larger cities,” he said. “We think it’s a really neat idea…. It gives people a good excuse to go explore the city, to try some different places and things. It also helps to build awareness about specialty coffee in Burlington. There are new shops opening and different things going on with roasters.”
Jim Osborn is the founder and co-owner of the new Cursive Coffee, a small-batch roaster and single-origin coffee purveyor with a pop-up shop in the Barge Canal Market on Pine Street, a mobile bar and a cafe that opened last week in Middlebury.
“Henri stumbled upon us in December,” Osborn said. “We got along really well and he has enthusiasm for the coffee culture and expanding the scene in a way we definitely agreed with.”
Osborn and co-owner Sam Clifton were game to sign up for the passport.
“It seemed like a no-brainer,” Osborn said. “It’s a great thing to do for what is already a burgeoning coffee scene…. I think it’s a great way to be able to check out all of these different new, interesting places that are doing different things with coffee.”
For more information, visit www.indiecoffeepassport.com/Vermont. Passports are available for purchase online or at any of the participating cafes.