The mood of the North Market was full of caffeine-induced energy as hundreds of coffee lovers flocked for the third annual Coffee Roast Brunch event. Featuring a wide variety of coffees to taste and educational events, the North Market Coffee Roast Brunch on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., attracted a wide variety of coffee lovers from Columbus and abroad. As a live DJ played pulsing, upbeat tunes over the patio of the North Market, local coffee roasters lined up to serve their best brews to the community.
It is extremely rare to see cooperation within an industry, especially between potential competitors. It’s even rarer to see genuine friendship between competitors. This year’s Coffee Roast Brunch manged to break down these economic barriers. What could have easily been viewed as a competition between who has the best coffee became an open forum for roasters and patrons alike to express themselves.
Roasters and attendees alike mingled together, discussing the current coffee community and the future of the Columbus brewing scene. In a time of constant lawsuits and bickering among rival companies, it was as uplifting as the coffee was delicious to see these bean professionals working together.
Sarah Switzer, a software engineer, said the this coffee tasting experience was unlike anything she had ever seen.
“I’ve never been to anything like this before,” Switzer said. “It kind of reminds me of a large beer tasting event.”
Switzer continued, saying the educational side of the event was great as well.
“I think this is a great way to learn about different coffee in the city. There’s actually a lot of local coffee shops in Columbus that you just don’t realize are around,” said Switzer. “They’ve been great about getting samples out quickly, and it’s neat to learn about how they make the different kinds of coffee.”
Rick Ucker, a local programmer with Nationwide Insurance, said he felt the Columbus coffee scene was relatively unknown, but full of potential.
“Columbus is under the radar in a lot of regards, and this is one of them. It really surprises people when they come here I think,” Ucker said.
He also related how the event brought the brewers and coffee drinking community together. He explained that the event was upbeat and energetic, and not just because of the caffeine.
“Everybody I talked to seemed like there was energy coming from them. They’ve been telling me about their coffee and how they roast — it goes back to what I was saying about the coffee culture. There’s been a lot of excitement and energy coming out of it which I think was great.”
Jake Barry, who works in branding and design and is a coffee roaster himself, explained just how educational the event was.
“What I love about this event, what I saw last year and even more this year, is that all of these roasters and brewers are so eager to share their story and their methods,” Barry said. “I’ve been doing this for a while, and I definitely learned a lot from the event. “
He also explained that Columbus is a bit unknown, but quickly becoming recognized for it’s specialty coffees and the community surrounding the perky dark drink, and how excited he is to see more people involved.
“Columbus really is, and has been a central location for coffee. It’s a hub for specialty coffee that people don’t really know about,” Barry said. “I think even for people outside of Columbus, its really a scene you need to check out if you’re into coffee, it is becoming a great learning environment. So, yeah. I love it.”
Everyone knows Columbus has a burgeoning brewery scene, and a thriving arts district. Events like this only solidify the idea that Columbus is evolving into a city which as much to offer to people of many different walks of life. You may be wondering which coffee had the most excellent flavor, but in truth, nearly everyone had a different opinion of who had the best beverage. The brews were all fantastic in their own ways. More refreshing than any of the drinks, however, was a fresh taste of the evolving Columbus culture and a brief glimpse of the fantastic future quality of life which may be just around the corner.