Coffee. For many people, it’s a daily part of a routine. But for some, coffee is an art form. It is a ritual that should be treated with great thought and reverence. Near campus, the Short North and even into German Village are some coffeehouses that are worth sharing with coffee lovers everywhere.
Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N. High St.
Both a coffeehouse and a bar, Kafe Kerouac delivers solid coffee and espresso choices to accompany people’s time spent in the cozy, living room-esque atmosphere that also doubles as a small bar. Offering a few craft beers and a full service liquor bar, one can often find some sort of liquor-coffee fusion like an old fashioned Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee or just a straight shot of Jameson whiskey into an espresso.
But it’s not to be confused as primarily a bar. It is a neighborhood coffee spot through and through. The interior is adorned with couches and cushioned chairs along with standard metal chairs and tables, which many people use as platforms to get their work accomplished. The wall of the main room is accompanied by a little selection of records and artwork that lend to the vintage feel of the warmly lit, window lined café. There is even a small stage in the secondary room that hosts poets, comedians and musicians throughout the week.
Cup O’ Joe, 2990 N. High St.
Mike Iannone, one of the baristas at Cup O’ Joe, described the place as being “more of a neighborhood, blue collar kind of coffee shop.” Sometimes “blue collar” can have a negative connotation, but luckily that is not the case with this modernized, true café-style coffeehouse.
The Old North location, located on the corner of North High Street and Tulane Road, is a specialty dessert and drink shop that has every coffee-related item on the menu. From lattes to a cold brewed iced coffee, the baristas will whip it up in an atmosphere that feels very busy. Yes, there are some people sitting on their computers and looking studious, but mostly it is a hangout, a place where friends can sit in the soothingly colored, tiled inside or retreat to the patio outside and enjoy a beverage or dessert.
“We really focus on the café aspect of things here. We see this place as like the local neighborhood’s café,” said barista Jesse Baker.
The love for locality at Cup O’ Joe will definitely draw in and maybe even convince people to buy one the bags of local coffee beans with interesting flavor names like “Pumpkin Spice and Pralines.”
Impero Coffee Roasters, 849 N. High St.
Nestled in the Short North is a local coffee shop that has arguably the most alternative feel to it. With white brick walls and black high-topped tables, the immediate contrast makes itself known at the entrance.
Giant glass jars contain coffee beans with etched words engraved upon them that reveal what kind of beans are going into the cup of coffee. They have a mid-range selection, lattes and espressos to just regular drip-style brew. Impero is quiet and feels almost stark, with a lot of open floor space in the middle of the shop.
Local artwork decorates the white walls, bringing some color to the place. One of the baristas has even started making donuts to accompany the coffee there, officially named “Lyric Donuts.” Soft alternative indie music drifts through the air of Impero, adding another layer to a place that feels more like a modern art gallery than a coffeehouse.
One Line Coffee, 745 N. High St.
With a small, humble sign above out front, One Line offers a different look at coffee sourcing. This place really focuses on the origins of their beans and how that can be blended with other natural flavors to create some really interesting tastes. The featured flavors that are bagged and line the wall of the shop can be explained in depth by one of these barista coffee-wizards. The baristas can even tell what would be best to get based on explained preference in coffee. Be it a cranberry base with a chocolate flavored finish to a blend from the island nation of Indonesia, One Line can cater to most eccentric and exotic tastes.
The atmosphere is very laid back. Music from a basic alternative rock station is played softly. It’s a place to find a cozy brick corner at the bar along the wall or to sit and relax with a book on one of the couches that has a view into the glass-walled back of the shop, where all the roasting and bagging happens. Long spires of Japanese cold-drip coffee glassware line one wall, and they also sell various coffee brewing equipment to use at home.
Stauf’s, 627 S. 3rd St.
In the quaint little section of Columbus known as German Village there is an old brick building — like pretty much all of the buildings in German Village — that is home to a coffee shop that feels like the industrial revolution collided with the modern day café.
“Ohio is for coffee lovers” is painted on the front windows, and the chrome coffee bean roaster can be seen smack dab in the middle of the floor with bags of beans sitting in woven sacks right beside it. The old-time-meets-new-time feel of the inside is a refreshing take on the usual mundane setup of franchise cafés. With a front room that seats a moderately small amount of people, mostly setup for those who wish to enjoy the quiet of the large front room, and a big back room geared more toward socialization, the fact that one can choose their experience is in itself an asset. There’s even seating out front of the brick façade and on the side patio that is bathed by the sun for the better part of the whole day.
Stauf’s also has a variety of speciality flavors that they add to their coffee when they roast the beans. Pecan, bourbon, chocolate, pumpkin and raspberry are just a few of the infusions to choose from the wall of beans that the barista then scoops out of the wooden barrel in the wall mount to take to the bar where they use a basic pour-over technique to dispense the coffee.