Drink: Pistacia Vera's Coffee Program Gets a Refresh
When someone mentions Pistacia Vera, you might think of the German Village bakery and café’s colorful macarons or its Paris-perfect croissants. But what doesn’t immediately come to mind is the café’s coffee, which has long checked the required box without rising to the level of the business’ signature pastries and sweets.
That is changing, thanks to Pistacia Vera’s beverage manager, Robin Myers, who was hired last year by the bakery’s sibling founders Spencer Budros and Anne Fletcher. You see, there is coffee—the brown liquid that fuels us—and then there is the kind of coffee that evokes a “coffee memory.” (Remember that amazing café con leche you had by the beach in Miami?) Myers believes in serving the latter.
A veteran of the Columbus coffee scene, Myers got his start in 2005 as a barista at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview, eventually working his way up to general manager of the coffee shop. In 2012, he moved to Brioso Coffee with the intention of honing his drink-making skills. Myers discovered he had a talent for crafting art out of milk and espresso, earning the chance to travel and compete in seven Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championships. (He’s applied for an eighth.)
Myers spent six years at Brioso before leaving last year to join Pistacia. He was thinking about starting his own business but found that Pistacia’s reputation for excellence and its unique challenge—“Our customers are happy, our product is consistent, but what is the next move?” is how he describes it—was too intriguing to pass up.
Changes at the German Village shop are already underway. (Offerings at Pistacia’s North Market spot, which does not sell espresso drinks, will largely stay the same.) Myers has unveiled a variety of new specialty drinks inspired by a destination, a coffee memory or even baristas he admires. The menu includes the addition of cocktail-inspired drinks such as the Robin Roy, an apothecary-style drink in which Myers uses smoked black tea and beets to mimic the Scotch in a Rob Roy.
“What I want are unique experiences,” he says. “I don’t want to hit the easy button. The easy button is just bringing in a seasonal syrup and putting it into a drink.” He plans to shake up the beverage menu quarterly in tandem with changes to the pastry and dessert menus.
Another change is to Pistacia’s house roast, which will switch from Brioso to a traditional, single-source, medium-dark roast from One Line Coffee. In addition, dine-in customers will soon be able to order coffee and tea service—such as a French press or teapot for two—at their table.
Customers can also expect two significant changes coming this spring. To the right of Pistacia’s front pastry case, Myers plans to add a “slow bar” for preparing single-origin, made-to-order pour-overs. In addition to house roast pour-overs, the Columbus native plans to start a “resident roaster” program that will showcase guest roasters from Columbus and all over the country. Myers compares the idea to a brewpub’s tap takeover.
“This is what I’m most excited about,” Myers says. “It’s a way to bring exciting, fresh coffees to people that wouldn’t be exposed to them unless you went to [for example] Portland, Oregon.”
Bringing people together, Myers says, is what he loves most about coffee. That’s how memories are made, after all.
Mayan Drinking Chocolate ($3.50)
This is no Swiss Miss hot cocoa. Pistacia Vera’s super-thick hot chocolate featuring Valrhona cocoa and cayenne pepper makes a lovely dipping companion for the bakery’s buttery palmiers.
541 S. Third St., German Village