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Taste the bold, full-bodied future of American coffee PDF Print E-mail

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In our not-so-distant culinary past, Jell-O molds were the height of chic, olive oil was exotic, and coffee came from a can. As a gourmet nation, we've come a long way, baby. Today, on National Coffee Day, we explore the evolution of American coffee culture and where you can taste the future, one mug at a time.

Ground start

In post-WWII America, coffee was fuel. Java drinkers relied on instant gratification piloted by brands like Folgers and Maxwell House (and waiters named Jean-Luc). Second-wave caffeine culture, heralded by the arrival of at-home drip coffee makers and percolators, advanced with the 1971 launch of a "European-style" Seattle café called Starbucks.

Starting in the late 1990s, and through today, we have been sipping, sourcing and stirring coffee's third wave. Single-origin beans, fair trade certification, local roasting plants and bearded guys with deeply emotional opinions about Chemex filtration characterize the movement.

Ride the wave

Thanks to independent upstarts like Intelligentsia and Stumptown, which brought sustainability and small-batch roasting out of the sidelines, third-wave coffee connoisseurs are becoming increasingly mainstream.

"Coffee is getting integrated into American food culture as a whole," says John Moore, CEO of recently launched New York City roaster Nobletree, and veteran of trailblazing labels Counter Culture and Dallis Brothers.

"Twenty years ago, a chef like Paul Liebrandt wouldn't have put much thought into his restaurant coffee program at The Elm," Moore continues. "And I doubt the Institute of Culinary Education [where Moore is a guest lecturer] would have had its students spend two or three hours of class time talking about and tasting coffee."

The man has a point. Seemingly snobbish, yet totally legit tasting terms like "

"Cities and neighborhoods that didn't used to have anything but a big-box coffee experience are getting much better coffee," notes Stumptown vice president Matt Lounsbury. Portland, Ore.-based Stumptown has 10 brick-and-mortar locations, and sells its meticulously sourced bean to partners like Thinking Cup in Boston and Brooklyn's Hungry Ghost cafes.

"But it goes beyond that," Lounsbury says. "Now, coffee programs are coming to the workplace and to hotels and restaurants across the nation."

The proof is in the percolation. Chicago's independent Intelligentsia label operates a café in the High Line Hotel in New York, and recently launched a counter within a Herald Square Urban Outfitters. A few blocks over, a new Hyatt will pour Manhattan microroaster Stone Street Coffee, and the swish Andaz 5th Avenue serves Brooklyn-brewed Café Grumpy. San Francisco's Blue Bottle Coffee powers the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe. Stumptown has a partnership with Ace Hotels in four American cities, and is currently in conversations to install kegs of its cold brew coffee in Google's Mountain View, Calif. headquarters.

"Cold brew on draft is the new water cooler," Lounsbury laughs. But he's not really joking.

VIDEO: We try coffee from a keg in Austin

Hit the road, Joe

The biggest perk of the normalization of craft coffee is it brings better brews to American cities beyond Pacific Northwestern hubs like Seattle and Portland. (Here's looking at you, Mountain View, Calif.)

In the past two years, San Diegans welcomed independent roasters like Coffee & Tea Collective, a pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar café in North Park, plus the rapidly expanding Dark Horse and roving Roast Coach. La Jolla-based Bird Rock launched a pour-over bar in the Padres' Petco Park last summer, and has two additional locations under construction in San Diego.

Coloradans stay caffeinated courtesy of Boulder's Conscious Coffee, a craft micro-roastery sold in 18 stores statewide and brewed at 15 coffee bars in the region. Dazbog, a largely organic label founded in Denver in 1996, has 25 franchises across the state, and family-owned Novo Coffee runs a roastery and two cafes in Denver. Boulder's Allegro, a single-origin, small-batch pioneer since 1985, was acquired by Whole Foods in 1997. Now, there are Allegro Coffee Bars in 320 Whole Foods Markets nationwide.

Michigan's Madcap Coffee has a café and roaster in Grand Rapids, a training center in Washington D.C., and more than 60 restaurant and retail partners nationwide.

The nation's second-largest coffee chain, Caribou, is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Twin Cities are also home to small-batch roaster Bull Run, which opened its second location in Kingfield this summer. Four-year-old Dogwood operates two coffee bars in Minneapolis and supplies beans to cafes throughout the Midwest.

Greater San Francisco's thriving coffee scene includes seven Blue Bottle locations, four Ritual Coffee Roasters, three Fourbarrel cafes (including the newly opened Mill, a collaboration with Josey Baker Bread), and a whopping 17 spots from Bay Area drip specialist Philz, which recently debuted in San Mateo and has a café on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif.

Despite its superlative restaurant scene, New York was slow to join the craft coffee movement. (Blame Bloomberg. Or Giuliani. Or maybe De Blasio?) Now, the city's embarrassment of rich blends includes Brooklyn-based Café Grumpy, which has four locations in two boroughs, and Greenpoint's Budin. The latter imports rare beans from Norway's Tim Wendelboe, and serves a controversial $10 latte. Manhattan's Ninth Street Espresso has three downtown locations, and debuted in Midtown's Lombardy Hotel last year. Independent labels like Queens' Sweetleaf roast in small batches at the Pulley Collective, a massive facility that opened in Red Hook in 2013. Joe, another Pulley Collective roaster, has eight Manhattan cafes and a pro shop/education facility in Chelsea.

Last year, Joe debuted two more coffee shops in Philadelphia, also known as the birthplace of single-origin champions La Colombe. Your move, City of Brotherly Love.

SEE MORE: Explore coffee cultures around the world

Plus, virtually visit Manhattan's first seed-to-cup coffeehouse, Brazilia Cafe:

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10Best: Southern tourist attractions worth the crowds PDF Print E-mail

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We've all been there. A place that's clogged with so many tourists that the first reaction is "get me outta here!" Be that as it may, there are a few tourist attractions in the South that both bear and wear their title well – and definitely merit a visit. Muster the courage, block out the noise, and you'll be rewarded with an enlightened experience of the South. Click through the photo gallery above for our picks, from 10 to one!

RELATED: Best of the South

RELATED: Southern literary destinations

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#Stressedpets: Inside Edition and 10Best want your vote! PDF Print E-mail

A longtime travel journalist, Libby chose her beautiful city after a nationwide search for a new hometown. Greenville's amazing downtown, four mild seasons, varied terrain, friendly residents and countless nearby waterfalls made it a winner.

Libby previously spent 20 years in Florida, what she calls “the only place in the world where you drive north to reach the South.”

An avid college football fan, Libby has deep ties to the University of Oklahoma but graduated from rival Texas. She’s lived in Austin, Boston, Nashville, San Francisco and Captiva Island, Florida, including 4 happy years on a houseboat.

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Ken Burns shares secrets of Grand Canyon National Park PDF Print E-mail

Ken Burns sat down with USA TODAY and shared some of the secrets of America's national parks. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are the creators of the PBS documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," available via ShopPBS.org.

USA TODAY 10:16 a.m. EDT September 29, 2014

With more than 4 million visitors a year, the park's services fill up quickly. Be sure and make reservations for everything.(Photo: National Park Service)

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Even at a place as famous as the Grand Canyon, there are still secrets to discover. The biggest one comes down to the old real estate adage, "location, location, location."

Most viewers take in the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. But the view is equally spectacular - and less crowded - from the north.

Either way, filmmaker Ken Burns says in the video above, "I think you'd have to be a pretty jaded human being" to view the Grand Canyon "and not go 'Oh my God'."

Once you've checked out the view from above, head below - to the Colorado River for an 11-day boat trip through the canyon.

GRAND CANYON PARK GUIDE: What to do, where to stay and more

Or, you may shun the crowds all together.

"One of the [other secrets of the Grand Canyon] is to just go off on another trail, and not see another human being for hours and hours," Burns says.

As co-creator of the PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Ken Burns and his team spent months filming in national parks across the United States.

Burns sat down with USA TODAY for a special 10-part series, "Secrets of the National Parks."

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES: Redwood and Sequoia | Arches | Volcanoes | Shenandoah | Glacier | Great Smoky Mountains | Rocky Mountain | Yosemite | Yellowstone

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Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1sKfmKf

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Great girlfriend getaways to the Caribbean PDF Print E-mail

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A diamond may be a girl's best friend but a women's-only getaway in the Caribbean is worth gold.

Barbados

Girls just wanna have fun at the Hilton Barbados starting with a mani, pedi and mimosa-fueled 'Girlfriends Retreat' in the Prime Minister's uber-spacious suite. When the sun sets, dining with the Chef at the 'Fancy Dress Up' dinner at the Grille Restaurant is perfect for those who packed heels while 'Tea Party by the Pool 'is flip-flop friendly for the whole gang. More Bajan bonding awaits with happy-hour jazz trios, outdoor massages, shopping in Bridgetown and rooms with rates that won't break the bank. www.hiltonbarbadosresort.com

Curacao

Nothing makes gal pals happier than a hip lobby bar, funky faux-beach with real sand, casino, swishy spa and shopping a short stroll away. In the pretty capital city of Willemstad, Renaissance Curacao is wooing the girls with a 'Spa Getaway' that includes plenty of pampering at the Babor Beauty Spa. (Note to BFF's: two besties can easily share one room). http://www.marriott.com

A short drive from the resort, a pedicure at Amazonia is not for the squeamish (or ticklish) as tiny 'doctor fish' on an exfoliating mission nibble away at your feet. The vibrations as the fish ready your feet for sandal season will make the ticklish howl with laughter. Pedicures last from 5 minutes to 20 and will cost US$1 dollar a minute. www.amazoniacuracao.com

St. Lucia

It may not be the fast track to fabulous but you'll have fun trying with a soak in the Diamond Mineral Baths where Napoleon Bonaparte's wife Josephine reportedly spent her days. The baths are one stop in on the Island Routes' "Soufriere Fountain of Youth" tour, but the day only gets better with a sail past the awesome Pitons and Anse La Raye, where the fish fry is held on weekend nights. The seven-hour outing takes the ladies on a rainforest walk, for lunch at The Old Mill with the only working water mill in the Caribbean, a dip in Marigot Bay and shopping in Castries. For the groovy girls in the crowd, St. Kitts Music Festival heats up the island from June 26 to June 28 with top-shelf performers like Trini soca superstar Machel Montana and Puerto Rican merengue king Elvis Crespo. www.stkittsmusicfestival.net

Grenada

For gaggles of pals who won the lottery or want to vacation like they did, Calivigny is the priciest private isle in the Caribbean with nightly rates (yes, per night) starting at USD$30,000 (that's four zeroes). Surrounded by six beaches, the island rents to just one group at a time with options that include the 10-suite Beach House that sleeps 20 for US$52,000 per night; Overhang Residence at US$42,000, per night for up to 18; and three over-the-top Beach Bungalows that fit 12 and can be yours for US$30,000 per night. A quick hop from Grenada either via boat or small plane, extras are outrageous like a grand piano, gigantic moveable movie screen and for serious celebrating — a fireworks display just for the girls. www.calivigny-Island.com

Aruba

Open late for night owls. Check. Baccarat tables for high-rollers. Check. Fruity Aruba Ariba cocktails. Check. Cigars to celebrate a lucky roll of the dice. Check. A clanging whirlwind of slot machines, big-wager games, roulette wheels and poker machines, the casino at the Hyatt Regency Aruba on Palm Beach is party-central. Chic on the beach, there's massages at the new ZoiA Spa, slew of water sports and people-watching at the Alfresco Bar. http://aruba.hyatt.com

Dominican Republic

There's a lot of shaking, rattling and rolling going on at Eden Roc at Cap Cana; Relais & Chateaux's first resort in the Dominican Republic. Suave instructors teach the ladies to dance the merengue and shake their maracas while gourmands pick up pointers in 'Olive Oil and Vinegar' classes with Executive Chef Gianluca Re Fraschini, who shows off his personal collection that he curates in the swanky Mediterranean restaurant. www.edenroccapcana.com/

Jamaica

Top of the hit parade for girlfriend getaways (and every other kind of getaway); Jamaica's Jerk Trail is a spicy pilgrimage that stretches from Negril to Port Antonio. Self-guided, the culinary trek stops at roadside stands and neighborhood restaurants like the wildly popular Scotchie's near the airport in Montego Bay, Bourbon Beach in Negril, Ultimate Jerk in Discovery Bay and Blueberry Hill near Port Antonio where the addictive seasoning that combines pimento berries, thyme, lime juice, and piquant scotch bonnet peppers was born. www.jamaicajerktrail.com. For an après-jerk chill-out, cocoon in a "Firm & Glow" anti-aging body wrap at the Red Lane at Sandals Royal Plantation; the all-butler resort with Jamaica's only champagne and caviar bar. www.sandals.com

The Bahamas

For those who like their daily greens, it's a grand affair at Grand Isle on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma. The "Ultimate Tee Time at Ocean's Edge" is a three-night stay that includes play at the 18-hole Emerald Reef Golf Course, credits at Sea Star Spa (we recommend the full-body coconut rub and scrub) and dining poolside at the Palapa Grill. www.grandisleresort.com

Turks & Caicos Islands

Big girls won't cry during the "BFF Girls Getaway" from October 25-29 at Beaches Turks & Caicos. The all-inclusive is rolling out the red carpet with catamaran cruises, seaside yoga classes, massages, discounts in the gift shop, cocktails galore, hair-styling classes and — for the young-at-heart — pajama parties on the beach. www.beaches.com/bff

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