On April 15, Caffeine Crawl is coming to Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham. The event will be split into four guided routes to local coffee shops.
Featured locations include People's Coffee, Carrboro Coffee Roasters, Caffé Driade, 1922 by Carolina Coffee Shop, Perennial, Open Eye Cafe, Grey Squirrel Coffee Co., Yaya Tea and Press Coffee, Crepes & Cocktails.
When visiting coffee shops, Caffeine Crawl owner Jason Burton noticed that loud noises and busy workers kept employees from interacting with customers, and he created the crawl to foster more conversation between customers and employees.
Burton said he wanted to build relationships and show attendees a behind-the-scenes look at local shops that specialize in coffee, tea and chocolate.
"Our whole thing is really connecting one side of the bar to the other side of the bar,” he said.
Burton said each tour will include presentations. According to the crawl's website, attendees will receive a sample drink or chocolate at each stop. Each route is $36.50, and attendees are responsible for their own transportation.
“I’m really big on quality over quantity; we’re really built on that,” he said. “I know you leave some money on the table with that philosophy sometimes, but I really want to do it right. I want to give people a good experience so that way they do have interest as we grow."
Burton said he has known Scott Conary, the owner and operator of Carrboro Coffee Roasters and its flagship cafes, for years. Both of them have been interested in bringing Caffeine Crawl to the area, he said.
In 2019, Burton was working to bring the event to North Carolina, but he said the pandemic caused it to be virtual. Though Conary said he participated in the virtual event, he could tell it was not the same as a live one.
Along with being a part of the guided routes, Carrboro Coffee Roasters is a platinum sponsor for the crawl and will host a gathering at the end of the day.
Conary said there will be several activities for attendees, such as a tour and hands-on learning with coffee equipment. This event will take place in Carrboro Coffee Roasters' expanded space in front of Caffé Driade, he said
“I think the saddest part of the whole thing is there’s four tours going on simultaneously, and you have to pick one,” Conary said.
Carly Erickson, the owner of Boro Beverage, said she was contacted to extend Caffeine Crawl to tea-based businesses. She said most participating locations are coffee shops or roasters, but her business produces non-alcoholic kombucha, a fermented tea with minimal caffeine.
Erickson said she is working on the menu for the event, but she plans to include products with more caffeine alongside the kombucha. She hopes the event brings in foot traffic so Boro Beverage can gain visibility and educate attendees on what it does, she said.
"We really are a community-centered business, and so doing these community-centric events are really important," Erickson said. She loves partnering with businesses she looks up to, she said.
Burton said the crawl is meant to be a community event that allows people from different backgrounds to come together, and he hopes the event will happen in the area every year. In the future, Burton said he wants to expand the crawl to cities like Raleigh, include historically Black colleges and universities and increase the number of routes available.
“We definitely want to add North Carolina to the lineup and represent the whole Southeast, mid-Atlantic as our future power hub,” he said.
Residents who are interested in the Caffeine Crawl can buy tickets here. Tickets are limited, as there are 17 slots for each route.
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