Q&A: Cafe Brioso's Carl Ahlteen

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Cafe Brioso has built a sterling reputation with passionate buy-local ethics and gourmet coffee roasted in-house and served by crack baristas like Carl Ahlteen. The caffeine craftsman shared more about pouring the perfect cup.

I'm originally from Delaware County. I grew up on a farm. We had ponies and chickens - every boy's dream. It was free and wild. Not many friends, so you made friends with your pets. There was always something to do outside.

I moved down here on a whim about five years ago. I wanted to check out the big city. I went to Columbus State, then started working here. I came here full time. I dropped out. I just didn't go back.

A lot of people go to school to become a barista. I just had on-the-job training. I started doing dishes and figured that I wanted to be over here instead of in a dish hole. You learn recipes, how to pull a good shot, how to steam the milk properly. There's a certain amount of artistry involved.

Three things I can't live without are coffee, my dog and my bicycle.

Cafe Brioso is very hands-on, relaxed and artisan. We're trying to give you an experience that nobody else has or is willing to do. We want you to come back - that's the essence.

The best advice I've ever received is that there's always room for improvement.

With my latte art, it took a lot of practice. Seeing other people do it made me want to do it. And hopefully that's what we're doing for other baristas in Columbus - make them want to do it as well or even better than how we're doing it.

I take my coffee black. You don't have to mess with a good thing. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

In my spare time, I like to play with my dog and ride my bike, just relax. I have a Weimaraner. She's a 90-pound housecat, really, in your face at all hours of the day that you're with her.

Something people might not know about me is that I'm Swedish. My grandparents were born over there. I went there when I was three.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.

Age: 26

Day job: Head barista, Cafe Brioso

Neighborhood: South Side

Web: cafebrioso.com

Playing Favorites

Favorite TV show: "The Cleveland Show"

Favorite band: The Strokes

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite drink: Tom Collins

Favorite place to travel: Detroit