Coffee has long been a vibrant part of the Columbus culinary scene, with Stauf's, Cup'o'Joe , and Cafe Brioso providing top quality local alternatives to national chains. And, with a recent explosion of new roasters and purveyors, it's getting even better:
1. Thunderkiss Coffee - Jason Valentine, owner of Thunderkiss, is the McGyver of caffeine. His minimalist garage operation puts out meticulously roasted, top quality single-origin beans from Peru, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Look for his beans (including in giftable antique mason jars) at Fresh Street.
2. Upper Cup Coffee - For brothers Micael and Samson Habte, coffee is in their blood. Their mother, an Eritrean immigrant, roasted for home-use and prepared her home-brewed coffee for guests as a matter of custom. In their new Old Town East location, they roast and brew for the general public, and provide exceptional Ethiopian and South American single-origin beans for purchase or for consumption in their comfortable Parsons Ave. shop.
3. Impero - Impero's Short North location has become a fast favorite in the neighborhood. Serving coffee from beans roasted in their Grove City operation, its easy to see how their espresso and coffee offerings keep 'em coming back.
4. Luck Brothers - Nobody in town has his finger on the pulse of what's what in coffee more than Andy Luck. Thought not a roaster himself, Andy works extensively with roasters to get the exact flavor profiles he wants to serve in his shop in Grandview. Visit him to taste the fruits of his drive for perfection.
5. Yeah Me Too - No phone, no website, no credit cards accepted - Yeah Me Too does things the old-fashioned way. This small Clintonville roaster has developed a devoted cult following on the north side, and its small selection of quality single-origin beans are often considered to be among the best in town.
6. Back Room Coffee Roasters - The back room's coffee, and the front room is the Lane Ave. Trek store. Put them together and you have a roaster who turns out high-end arabica beans and delivers them to retailers all over the city via bike.
7.) There is a new artisan small-batch roasting company opening on Price Avenue in the Short North this weekend, look out for them at the Holiday Hop.
When it comes to coffee, it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by all there is to know. Columbus Food Adventures aims to demystify the subject with its new Coffee Tour , which explores the world of Columbus coffee. It's a tour in 3 acts: 1) visit a roaster (Stauf's) to learn about what goes into turning raw coffee beans into something exquisite, 2) stop at a top espresso bar (Cafe Brioso) to discuss turning those beans into top quality espresso drinks, 3) finish at a premier coffee shop (Luck Bros.) to learn about how to get the best from your beans at home. At each stop there will be coffee and snacks, and – most importantly – plenty of information on how to get the best out of home coffee preparation! The first tour is this Saturday, December 3rd and tickets are available online.