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Café Brioso Sets the Bar High for Coffee in Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans Café Brioso Sets the Bar High for Coffee in Columbus
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Café Brioso is often one of the first places mentioned when coffee enthusiasts recommend a place to go for some of the best beans in town. This roastery and cafe is about as urban as you can get, located at the busy Downtown intersection of High and Gay Streets. It’s a common sight to see more bikes parked outside their patio during the summer than cars parked in the few metered spots nearby. And thankfully it’s a less common sight to see fire trucks called for false alarms when coffee-scented smoke pours out of the side of the building during a mid-day roasting session.

We recently spoke with Jeff Davis, President and Roastmaster of Café Brioso to find out more about their operations:

Q: It feels like it’s been there forever, but when did Brioso first open?

A: Café Brioso opened in the summer of 2001 with the vision of bringing Columbus a highly focused quality coffee experience from knowledgeable and passionate service professionals.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the sourcing of your coffee beans, dairy and other products?

A: We buy only high quality specialty coffee with little regard for quantity, focused most importantly on cup quality and taste. We source as much locally as we can, using fresh &  “real” ingredients for everything we serve in out store. In the coffee shop business, over 70% of most drinks are made up of milk and sweeteners, and most of these are products that are mass produced and offer little to no nutritional value. We use Hartzler Dairy from Wooster Ohio for all of our dairy and Ohio honey & maple syrup for sweeteners. We are just as proud of these products as we are of our coffee. These products create more dynamic flavor profiles, health benefits but also bring some civic pride into our drinks.

Q: How do you primarily market your business?

A: We believe in word of mouth and the service experience, so we are very passionate about what we do and we like to let it shine. We also use Facebook and Twitter, because we feel it is the best way to share this experience and passion with our customer base.

Q: The baristas at Brioso always put together some great looking and great tasting drinks. Can you tell us a bit about how they’re trained?

A: Training begins with an apprenticeship focusing on tasting, articulation and serving specialty products. Once a person has become fluent then we have a three-tier training, where a service professional learns to prepare espresso, milk & the finer points of mixing and portioning coffee drinks to our standards.

Q: What else does Brioso to do help educate its customers on the facets of the coffee business?

A: We utilize social interaction and a more effective vocabulary to help our guests create a more positive relationship with the products they consume. We focus less on the style of roast and more about what truly makes a great flavor profile.

Q: Have you seen the local coffee culture change over the past 10 years you’ve been in business? Or is there still a long way to go to improve?

A: There’s lots of potential! Just in the last year there have been more independent shops opening up with more focus on the coffee and the experience. The “buy local” movement has left many people looking for an alternative to Starbucks, which has led to market growth for all of us. The small independent coffee houses are setting a new standard, putting the focus back to the products, the people and the relationships, and not with cheesy design elements and brand concepts.

Café Brioso will be one of several Ohio roasters featured at the first annual North Market Coffee Roast event coming up this Saturday, March 31st.

More information can be found online at www.cafebrioso.com. Photos courtesy of Café Brioso.

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