We have never had a Caffeine Crawl with such challenging weather. Did that stop Columbus? It sure didn’t. Those thirsty for the best in coffee braved the constant downpour, and there wasn’t a dry body among us. Multiple starting times - 9am or 1pm - kept the coffee flowing and Crawlers pressing on.
Boston Stoker was a great host for the weekend, kicking off several routes on the Crawl at their new location on Neil. They covered direct trade and Henry Dean’s recent trip to South America, sending everyone home with a little Costa Rican coffee to brew throughout the week. They invited ticket holders and industry folks back for the After Crawl Party, including a latte art throwdown with regional baristas crafting works of art using Pacific Foods barista series soy milk. Beer from The Dayton Beer Co. and Rhinegeist Brewery enhanced the relaxing atmosphere, and we enjoyed the good beverages and company with vinyl spinning in the background.
At Stauf's, Tom and Solani served delicious, bite-size cupcakes alongside a pressured espresso Toddy while explaining Stauf’s long history as a local roaster. The Grandview location hosted Crawlers as a kickoff location, and it was only fitting that we hovered around the roaster at their German Village shop.
Crimson Cup also hosted route kickoffs at their Clintonville store, with Nate serving up two cold drinks - a creamy cold brew off their nitro taps and a new mocktail concoction not yet on the menu (but dynamite!). Both drinks were different, but the coffee mocktail, made with a chamomile syrup, was incredibly tasty and unique. We were wired and thrilled to get a sneak peek.
Recently opened, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse had plenty of room for us in their community-focused coffee and event space. We enjoyed their Black Tonic - an espresso and Fever Tree tonic drink over ice that instantly won us over. Kenny talked about The Roosevelt mission and giving back to fight hunger and human trafficking, and also to provide clean drinking water for those in need.
One Line Coffee had the biggest challenge on the Crawl, with their hosting shop located in the middle of the Pride Fest Parade. They were champs and patient with all of us, providing a great multi-layered presentation in the middle of the caffeinated chaos. Explaining roast profiles while setting up a cupping covering three coffees with very different flavor notes, their demo was very educational and a nice break from the floods outside on the Short North streets.
After a jaunt down High North, Cafe Brioso took on a divide and conquer strategy for their presentation. JJ and Robin went over espresso with steamed milk on the side to taste separately, and Jeff's side of the shop tasted and discussed pourover differences by using a washed- vs. natural-process coffee. Groups rotated between the two topics for a well-rounded and delicious experience.
A new shop in Columbus, Fox in the Snow wowed with the variety of housemade sweets and pastries. Jeff talked about their operation and served up a brewed New Orleans-style coffee, and several of us snagged extra pastries for later.
Mike Habte and his family put on an engaging presentation at Upper Cup in Old Towne, with Mike's mother leading a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony . We relaxed to the smell of frankincense while sipping coffee and munching popcorn.
Mission Coffee explained their guest roaster program while we enjoyed a Chemex cold brew and a Siphon demonstration. Both used a coffee from their current roaster, Counter Culture.
We were impressed with all 9 shops that participated - all bringing their own voice and talents to the event, and increasing awareness in their local specialty coffee scene. Event goodie bags provided by Yelp held treats picked up during the Crawl and snacks from Earnest Eats. We left Columbus very happy, and know that we made the right choice bringing Caffeine Crawl to the city. We made it through the storm that took place the first year and came away with nothing but caffeinated smiles - we'll be well prepared for year 2 in Septebmer of 2016!