Friday, February 1, 2013

Coffee In The Capital

A Cubano at Cafe Brioso - Photo by Dave Rose

Adventuring can be exhausting. And, in the winter, the cold weather wears on you! The cure is simple: a  rich cup of coffee to give you energy AND warm you up at the same time! Columbus in particular is spoiled with a selection of locally brewed gourmet coffee to get you fueled up for OHventuring. Visiting these coffee hot spots is an OHventure in and of itself! Check out the list below!

Café Brioso (14 East Gay Street, Downtown)Four words: Best. Coffee. In. Columbus. This place trumps any Tim Horton's, Starbucks, Caribou, or Einstein's any day. All of those options exist downtown, and I feel the only reason people go to those places instead of Brioso must be convenience. But Brioso is worth the few extra blocks, not only for coffee, but for their tantalizing menu (awesome soups, salads and sandwiches) and for their local appeal. The smells alone should attract you to Brioso (those rich aromas that literally fill the surrounding air should be trademarked because they are so delicious)!
What makes Café Brioso stand out from all the rest are the incredibly unique flavors and rare beans they acquire for their brews (try the Costa Rican Perla Negra to see what I mean).  They have a reputation for having high quality gourmet coffee and high quality staff that give ample attention to each cup that is poured. And, who doesn’t love a good cubano (pictured above)? I will say it again. Best coffee in Columbus.
A Nekisse Pourover at Cafe Brioso - Photo by Dave Rose

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters (1277 Grandview Avenue, Grandview Heights): As the name suggests, Stauf's roasts its own blends of coffee and has said coffee for sale in a room adjacent from the dining area. Barrels of different coffees line the walls. I honestly had never seen such a large array of coffee flavors for sale by the bean. Because I do not have a coffee grinder at home, I opt out of purchasing any beans, but I do gather some sample whiffs (Breakfast Blend is one of my favorites).
Stauf’s Coffee Roasters is always filled with an eclectic mix of coffee-lovers young and old. The large dining area is almost completely full with what look like genuine regulars. Old men are playing serious games of chess while young college kids are hitting the books, likely cramming for exams. Laptops are peppered across the room as people are playing games, browsing the web, or doing work.
Baristas at the counter in the back take my usual order of an Ethiopian blend, black (how coffee should be drunk). It's perfect. There seems to be a lot going on with the menu, from lattes to chai to pastries. However, the tasty coffee and friendly staff take a backseat to the atmosphere at Stauf's. It is a cozy local coffee shop that just has that comfy feel that any given Starbucks just doesn't have.
One Line Coffee - Photo by OHventures

One Line Coffee (745 N. High Street, Short North): I learned about One Line Coffee through a “Science Pub” seminar titled “The Science Of Coffee” that took place at a little old bar called The Shrunken Head. There, one of the owners of One Line Coffee told us all about how coffee is made and explained the differences between mediocre mass produced coffees like Folgers to high quality coffees with multiple layers of flavor, like the coffee you can get at One Line. It was an extremely informative class that allowed me to learn more about how complex the coffee making process truly is!
The One Line Coffee shop is out of this world (at least when it comes to coffee shops). It’s high tech and swanky, which an incredible hipster vibe. Coffee is ALWAYS made by the cup in a drip process of sorts through a ceramic funnel. It takes a few minutes for them to make your coffee (since it’s not just dispensed out of a thermos), so you can have time to chat it up with the barista or make a new friend with another coffee lover. The subtle hints of fruit, herbs, chocolate, and tobacco can be found in each sip of One Line’s unique blends. I highly recommend.
Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea (4541 N High St, Clintonville)The homestead of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is located on High Street in Clintonville and can also be found for sale at numerous locations throughout Columbus and Ohio (I first had it at Spinelli’s Deli in Victorian Village). The locally-brewed coffee comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from the traditional dark roast, the neighborhood blend, and seasonal blends, like my new favorite, Winter Wonderland (light roast cinnamon deliciousness).
One word best describes the feel inside Crimson Cup Coffee: Cozy! There are ultra-comfortable chairs, a fireplace, and a nice, rustic decor. It is a great place to sip some brew and read a book. On a recent visit, I walked home with a $10 1-pound bag of freshly ground coffee (the aforementioned Winter Wonderland) since I don't live all that close to the store. This way, I can enjoy the goodness of Crimson Cup at home!

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