I don’t consider myself a proud person. Unless you ask me where I’m from.
I’m a Minnesotan, hear me draw out my O’s.
On Tuesday at about 5:45 a.m., there were more than drawn out O's outside of the new Columbia Hy-Vee – or more importantly, Columbia’s first Caribou Coffee. Thirteen-plus Minnesotans (and a few wannabes) lined up in full force, some sporting Twins gear, just to support our favorite brand of caffeine.
We Minnesotans have plenty to be proud of. Prince. The Mall of America. Bob Dylan. The Peanuts gang. The Coen Brothers*. A Prairie Home Companion. Former Gov. and XFL commentator Jesse Ventura.
And we drink “pop,” not “soda.”
But Caribou Coffee, a Minnesota coffee chain with more than 200 stores in the North Star State and locations growing in states across the U.S., is chief among them. Don’t try to tell me it’s now owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates; I knew Caribou before it went big time.
So, wearing my Golden Gophers cap, I was one of those northerners ordering a dark chocolate latte at 6 a.m., and I'm proud to say it.
The rest of the crew, hailing from Minnesota cities as far south as Lakeville (we have more than 10,000 lakes in the state) and as far north as Duluth (usually pronounced dropping the “h”), were as anxious for those doors to open as I was. That early in the morning, we take our caffeine as seriously as everybody else.
Here’s some of the group’s thoughts, which were conveniently posted in Twitter under the label #MizBou. Read: M-I-Z! B-O-U!
Kyle Stokes, MU junior hailing from Lakeville: "Dreaming of Turtle Mocha's and Caramel Highrises... Gnight Twitterverse! #MizBOU" Monday, 8:49 p.m.
Blake Hanson, MU sophomore hailing from Apple Valley: "About to head over the #MizBou, sleep can take a seat for my first love, Caribou. Caramel Cooler, Turtle Mocha and a scone for yours truly." Tuesday, 5:08 a.m.
Becca Habegger, MU senior hailing from Apple Valley: Columbia's first @Caribou_Coffee has no idea the wave of fans about to hit it :-) Good morning! Tuesday, 5:40 a.m.
Alex Rozier, MU junior hailing from Virginia, Minn.: "I'm going to build my family around a Caribou." -@blakemhanson Tuesday, 7:34 a.m.
Katie Steiner, MU sophomore hailing from Hastings: I have been up since 2...good thing #mizbou is getting me through the day! I LOVE my friends :) Tuesday, 9:11 a.m.
We cheered, “M-I-Z! B-O-U!” as we explored the new Hy-Vee. We stopped by its Wisconsin cheese section.
Why all the fuss? For us displaced Minnesota children, the ‘Bou is home. Its cabin-themed decorum and the northern inspired drinks, such as the Campfire Mocha or the Northern Lite Lattes, warm our mornings and our spirits – even through the five layers of clothing we would be stupid not to wear during our subzero winters.
When I want an extra shot of espresso, I say “moose it.” When I want that shot in my coffee, I ask for a “depth charge,” not just tall coffee with an added shot. It may seem like semantics to you or simply a way to get caffeine addicts to feel like they’re having fun with paying too much for their coffee. But for me, and the group, it’s a different coffee culture. It’s a place for us to gather, share our Minnesota nice and stay for a refill.
This company of people is what is truly Minnesotan. I only knew four of the early risers when I arrived Tuesday morning. By the time I left at 8 a.m., I met and made at least five new friends.
There is just something about being away from home, away from grandma’s hotdish, that brings the Minnesotans together at any hour for a simple cup of coffee or a medium Mint Condition.
As a student at MU, I see Minnesotans migrating through Amish country to Columbia every year. Caribou couldn’t help but follow.
Oh, and cheers to the baristas who handled the 13-plus orders and dealt with our accents this morning – their first day at the new store. I know how hard it is to handle a rush from personal experience.
Did I mention that I’m a barista for a major multinational coffee corporation based out of Seattle? I’ll let you figure out which one.
Still, I’m loyal to my Minnesota home. Just don’t tell my boss.
Adam Falk is a multimedia reporter for the Missourian and a junior at the Missouri School of Journalism. He hails from Lakeville, Minn. He considers himself a coffee connoisseur.