The view by the river has changed a lot in recent months. The Canoe Chute has changed the appearance of the river itself. This summer, two new stores, a and opened up next to . And several weeks ago, there was yet another addition to the growth going on at the river- .
Entering the front door brought me someplace completely unexpected- an eclectic mix of tables with chairs, a few booths. Some really cheerful color on the wall, and some fun decorations on the wall. And Erich Goepel ready to greet you and talk to you about some of his favorite things.
I love talking to people who really get passionate about something. It’s almost contagious, and you can’t help but get interested as a result. Erich Goepel really loves coffee and tea. And if you enter, you can get a crash course on what makes a cup of coffee or tea different at River City Roasters.
The first thing is the approach. Tea is not something warm you gulp on your way from one place to another. Tea invites people to sit down, to slow down, to connect at his restaurant. Tea is shared among friends, or those wanting to become friends- it’s a way to develop those relationships.
The second is the all-out cool factor. I’ve had loose leaf tea before. Awesome in theory, but really messy in reality. Until I experienced Erich’s tea maker. I chose my tea, and was surprised to see what looked like a small pitcher brought to my table. Then I was given my instructions- after allowing exactly 5 minutes for it to steep, I was supposed to put the pitcher on top of my mug. So, after waiting the required time, I carefully placed the pitcher on top of the mug….. where it fit perfectly, filling my mug to the rim with tea. Pretty cool!
The third thing is the view- I could look out at the Fox River through his windows forever. And once I found out he had wi-fi available, well…. let’s just say I’ve now staked out my favorite spot. It was a crazy day, and I actually only intended to drop by for a few minutes on my way back to the office. An hour later, my mug was long empty, but I was still enjoying the opportunity to catch up on my email while enjoying the incredible view.
But one of the coolest parts of the afternoon was talking with Erich. He traveled to India for a mission trip, which is where he developed a love for tea and biscuits. He brought back a desire to show people in Yorkville what life is like when you slow down and appreciate friendship with a warm drink and a cozy atmosphere. And he gets great satisfaction in knowing that through River City Roasters he gets a chance to be a part of that.
So at the end of the afternoon, my email was caught up, my stress level had plummeted, and I got a chance to meet some really incredible people. So without question, my laptop and I will be back. But right now I’m busy planning for the next time I go. Because I’m bringing some friends with me, and I’m introducing them to a cup of tea. The River City Roasters way.