Alternative Columbus Coffee Tour

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Over the summer, Columbus tourism bureau Experience Columbus mapped out a coffee trail highlighting a few spots to grab a local roast. (Think usual haunts like Stauf's and Brioso.) But Christopher Columbus wasn't the only explorer of the New World. Call us the Ponce de Leon of coffee and follow our coffee trail supplement.

Begin by buying a pound of beans at Bexley Coffee Shop. Co-owner Paulette Sullivan shows small can still have a big impact; through her Ripple Coffee program, she purchases beans directly from women farmers, then sends 5 percent of sales back to their communities.

In Olde Towne East, Upper Cup Coffee owner Mike Habte is continuing the communal coffee traditions from his native Eritrea. He encourages customers to B.Y.O.C.: Bring your own cup and get a discount on drip coffee.

Sneak a look at the Discovery District's new Roosevelt Coffeehouse, which supports social justice organizations through coffee sales. Order a pour-over of Stumptown's Hair Bender and notice how the Modbar espresso machine hides the water tank below the counter; it allows the barista to engage the customer better.

Cross the Scioto to Actual Roastery in Franklinton. The quiet atmosphere and industrial setting are the perfect spot to share a French press of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with friends.

At Luck Bros. in Grandview, owner Andy Luck participates in barista jams and latte art competitions; his expertise translates into some of the most intricate latte art in town. Order a coffee flight for a shot of espresso, a cappuccino and a glass of cold brew.

End your trip at Clintonville's Crimson Cup Coffee House, a coffee shop perfect for the casual drive-through customer and the serious "let's talk single origins" aficionado. Their latest experimental drink, Hopped Holiday Nitro, is dry hopped and served on a nitro tap. It's a big-bodied, sweet, spicy and creamy take on coffee.