The Counter Talk Project

Ah, Starbucks; we Americans sure loves us some overpriced char don’t we; some of us can’t face a day without it. So what would you say if I told you there was a guy giving away mugs of delicious, fresh-brewed java in exchange for diverting conversation and an inexpensive personal memento?

Enter Stephen Rhinehart. After Syracuse University’s electronic newsletter published an articleabout Stephen’s Counter Talk Project late February, the Husband, our friend and I took this coffee lover up on his invitation to a free cup of home-roasted goodness. Curious to see what this crazy Project idea of his would amount to, the three of us met up with The Enthusiast in the atrium of Huntington Hall for a caffeine infusion.
It turned out to be one of those rare nugget-of-awesome afternoons.

Yep, there was coffee. Good coffee in fact. And there was conversation. Great conversation. Stephen’s easy manner – be it a natural gift or something born out of doing this many times before – kept the topics flowing. We discussed dogs; death; families; chickens; bread making; ghosts; gardening; we pulled out cell phones to share photos of our pets; we learned that, given the chance, we would all try our hand at bee husbandry. Stephen jotted notes in a Moleskin like a footsure Hemingway blogger.
The Counter Talk Project is a free-flowing communal exchange with one simple rule: Stephen brings the coffee, guests leave him a small personal memento as a token of thanks. We left Stephen a bag of the Husband’s own Guatemalan roast. Next time I’ll bring him a half dozen eggs from our home-raised hens.
So how can you be like the cool kids and get your own turn with Counter Talk? As of this writing Stephen is still accepting reservations. But be prepared: you will feel a resistless urge to share things that matter. The tag line on Stephen’s Tumblr blog reads, “Bringing passionate minds together over coffee.”
And, mind you, Hemingway drank it black.

Stephen’s blog:
Read more about him:
Follow him on Twitter:  @CuseBarista

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