Stephen and I took a quick weekend road trip to Columbus OH seeking a fun, romantic couples weekend. We used our quick and convenient Airbnb app and booked lodging perfect for a weekend get away. When we woke up Saturday morning we began looking for ways to explore the city. We came across the Columbus Coffee Experience and knew this would be a great way to familiarize ourselves with the city; and so, hit the trail we did!
Our first coffee shop was located in Brexly, OH and named for the village. We arrived early and saw a full parking lot. My first thoughts were “if the parking lot is this filled at 07:20 in the morning, it must be good!” Staff were attempting to keep up with the line of loyal patrons. Even though they were busy, it did not keep them from greeting us individually with a friendly hello and welcome. The tables were nearly filled, and plenty customers were taking theirs to go.
Stephen was first compelled to give the friendly dog Benny a good rub before perusing the menu. Benny’s human companion owned Brexly coffee shop. Benny enjoyed interactions with everyone who came through the door. Benny gave Brexly coffee shop a true feeling of community. He initiated interactions between people who would have kept to themselves had Benny not opened the conversations. The customers had great affection for Benny as a part of their coffee shop community.
The menu was exciting and we were ready for some great coffee! Customers in line were more than willing to brag about the coffees and pastries they enjoyed most. We met a customer who sang the praises of the infamous espresso bomb, a scrumptious homemade treat similar to a muffin containing espresso inside with cinnamon and sugar. It is a specialty not offered every day, and we had missed our opportunity by one day.
We chose a delicious cinnamon roll with a tasty cream cheese frosting. All of the bakery items are made right in the shop. Rachel, a barista and fellow blogger of ” 2 Hangry Chicks” recommended other coffee shops throughout Columbus that we should not miss. We took our coffee trail passport, and her recommendations with us as we left.
The friendly staff, patrons, Benny the dog, homemade pastries and superior coffee was setting a high bar for other coffee shops. We were impressed by the atmosphere of Brexly Coffee Shop.
Coffee With A Cause
Rachel from 2 Hangry Chicks did not disappoint. We followed her recommendation to a trendy coffee shop called The Roosevelt, a not for profit coffee shop dedicated to fighting unclean water, world hunger, and human trafficking. Roosevelt coffee shop opened in April 2015 and kept customers up to date on just how much they were helping to fight injustices worldwide. Walking out of Roosevelt we couldn't help but feel proud knowing the various organizations and countries we were helping with our coffee purchase.
The feel of Roosevelt was “trendy hipster”. The music added to the nostalgic vibe. A vinyl record of jazzy soul music was just the right touch.
The chocolate and peanut butter frosted doughnut (pictured left) would on it’s own rite have me returning regularly if I were a local.
Roosevelt was proud to announce they had recently began roasting their own coffee. They offered an impressive cup o Joe! The Roosevelt cafe was a worthwhile stop along the coffee trail.
Our intended plan for the coffee trail was two shops the first day and two more on Sunday then stopping by the visitors center to claim our earned T-shirts before heading home. I’m not sure if it was the caffeine or a sugar high but we were not ready to rest from the trail life. This was such a great experience we just couldn’t wait to experience more unique coffee shops that Columbus had to offer.
The Coffee Cafe Surprise of the Day
Walking up to The Fox in the Snow Cafe, we had no idea the surprise we were in for! This garage converted to a coffee shop wasn't flashy, it made no bold statement from the exterior. In fact, we missed it on our first pass and had to turn around and retrace our steps to find it. The Fox in the Snow reminded me of the look and feel of Portland OR. Sort of a quirky building recycled into a functional space. The up-cycled feel had me interested, But then....
Stephen opened the door to reveal a full house where every seat was taken and there was a long line all the way from the cashier to the entrance. We were shocked and amazed by the full house as we could see no indication when approaching the building. From entering the door, we could not even see the front counter!
While in line we asked locals if the place was always this busy. The answer was a resounding yes. When we asked them why, the said it was definitely the selection of pastries and the uniqueness of eatery that just can not be duplicated elsewhere. The locals gave us reassurance that the wait would not take long, and there would be seating available when we needed it. It was the sort of place where if someone wasn’t utilizing every seat at a table, you could just join them.
Stephen generally will avoid a crowd, however, the feel and vibe of The Fox in the Snow was invigorating. So many people in one space, thoroughly enjoying their Saturday morning coffee with friends, gave this coffee shop a real feeling that people where open to engagement, and that no one was a stranger. That in itself would have been enough but Stephen and I were in for more surprises.
The other patrons were spot on. The line moved quickly and was entertaining as windows revealed a view of the bakers in the kitchen working their magic. After much deliberation, we selected a breakfast sandwich, cappuccino and blueberry tart. Rachel from Brexly coffee shop had told Stephen the breakfast sandwich was an experience of it’s own… she was right! We saved our blueberry pastry for later and it too was worth the wait.
I find myself inventing reasons I may need to return to Columbus to visit this coffee trail experience to visit the other 14 shops that were listed on our passport. We visited a total of four coffee shops to earn our coffee experience t-shirts and we proudly wear them! The Columbus Coffee Experience was a fascinating activity, and we plan to return to the trail or many of the other tail experiences Columbus has to offer.
Click below to learn more about the Coffee Trail in Columbus OH and how you too can have a warming experience.
If you have not yet explored the world of great coffee, we highly recommend you do so. Coffee shops are something very unique and personal in every place you travel. It is a good way to get to know any new city. Many patrons and baristas in coffee shops are very eager to tell you about the the places you should not miss in the area.
Once you have a taste for great coffee you will not return to mediocre coffee. Good coffee may cost a bit more, but it brings much enjoyment and is a relatively inexpensive, relaxing date activity in which no one feels rushed to relinquish a seat. I had the opportunity to ask a former coffee shop owner Lisa Spyker, who founded Cabin Fever Coffee in Defiance OH what the secret to great coffee was. Lisa advised ” Never underestimate the power of buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself. It is worth the effort. Learn how to store them properly.” You can create wonderful coffee experiences in your own home. We enjoy grinding our coffee and using the french press method. If you have access to locally roasted coffee beans it is well worth the investment.