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CrimsonCup is now Ohio State’s official coffee

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The Dispatch wrote CrimsonCup is OSU’s official coffee

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

BY BILL CHRONISTER

Greg Ubert and Armando Escobar have a long history with Ohio State University and will be going back this fall, but not to study. The founders of CrimsonCup, who met 18 years ago when Escobar was working at the old student union, will be providing products and training coffee-shop managers and employees at several venues on OSU campuses.

The new contracts will make CrimsonCup the brew you buy at the cafe in the new Thompson Library when it opens in 2009, as well as the Science and Engineering Laboratory, the OSU MarketPlace at 1578 Neil Ave. and the new Warner Library and Student Center on the Newark campus.

“OSU’s Eat Global, Buy Local campaign — by which we do as much as we can with local industry to support the Ohio economy –ensures that we give operations such as CrimsonCup a look.”

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25 Responses to CrimsonCup is now Ohio State’s official coffee

  1. Bear
    Bear June 25, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am

    The Dispatch wrote And it doesn’t hurt that the product tastes good. The bidding process involves blind taste tests for staff, professors and students, which Stevenson said CrimsonCup’s brews regularly win.

    I wonder who they beat in these tests?

    (I also wonder how one gets on the taste-test list. Hmmmmmmm….)

  2. brothermarcus
    brothermarcus June 25, 2008 6:34 am at 6:34 am

    Bear wrote
    The Dispatch wrote And it doesn’t hurt that the product tastes good. The bidding process involves blind taste tests for staff, professors and students, which Stevenson said CrimsonCup’s brews regularly win.

    I wonder who they beat in these tests?

    (I also wonder how one gets on the taste-test list. Hmmmmmmm….)

    I recall Starbucks being everywhere on campus when I was there ’03-’05

  3. shroud
    shroud June 25, 2008 8:05 am at 8:05 am

    brothermarcus wrote I recall Starbucks being everywhere on campus when I was there ’03-’05

    There are several places on campus that serve Starbucks coffee, and others that don’t say who makes the coffee they serve.

    A couple of the places that serve Starbucks, like Oxley’s by the numbers, aren’t mentioned in the article – I wonder if they’ll continue with the SB or switch to Crimson Cup?

  4. joev
    joev June 25, 2008 8:47 am at 8:47 am

    Haven’t tried the coffee, but CrimsonCup just doesn’t sound like a great name to me. I get the Crimson-OSU connection, but my first thought is drinking a big mug of red pigment rather than coffee.

  5. Andrew Hall
    Andrew Hall June 25, 2008 9:05 am at 9:05 am

    I am happy for Armando whose product is good even if I think the shop on N High makes shite coffee.

    Knew him waaaay back when he ran the coffee shop in the Ohio Union. Early 90s. (I know it was there in ’94 because that is when Senna died and we cried.) The first person in town to grind the espresso beans a la minute when drawing a shot.

    Caffe Fino. It took me since reading that article yesterday morn to remember the name of the shop.

    A.

  6. KnoxSoFast June 25, 2008 9:27 am at 9:27 am

    joev wrote Haven’t tried the coffee, but CrimsonCup just doesn’t sound like a great name to me. I get the Crimson-OSU connection, but my first thought is drinking a big mug of red pigment rather than coffee.

    I’m surprised they didn’t name it ScarletCup. Then, it’d surely sell incredibly well.

  7. joev
    joev June 25, 2008 9:32 am at 9:32 am

    KnoxSoFast wrote
    joev wrote Haven’t tried the coffee, but CrimsonCup just doesn’t sound like a great name to me. I get the Crimson-OSU connection, but my first thought is drinking a big mug of red pigment rather than coffee.

    I’m surprised they didn’t name it ScarletCup. Then, it’d surely sell incredibly well.

    I guess it’s Scarlet for OSU, not Crimson. So I suppose I didn’t get a connection or saw one where there wasn’t one. But that makes it even more curious why they’re called Crimson Cup.

  8. shroud
    shroud June 25, 2008 9:54 am at 9:54 am

    Cookie wrote

    How does selling coffee in “several locations on campus” translate to being “OSU’s official coffee?”

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking – I think that may just be a misleading headline.

    Or, I suppose it could be like the OSU deal with Coke, where they’ll force everywhere on campus proper to switch. We’ll see soon enough I guess.

  9. Rocking The Suburbs June 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am

    My favorite little coffee shop way out on the edge of Hilliard uses Crimson Cup coffee. http://www.newgroundscoffeehouse.com/index.htm

    It didn’t dawn on me that it was local until this article. I guess I am quite the fan!

  10. BreakfastwithNick
    ndekke39 June 25, 2008 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm

    I think Crimson Cup does decent coffee… not as good as Brioso and Yeah, Me Too, but still decent. There are a couple places on campus that serve CC already, but they brew it waaaaaay too weak. Hopefully the guys from CC being involved and training employees will improve the overall quality.

  11. Stacky June 25, 2008 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm

    I just got back from North Market for lunch – had an iced latte from A Touch of Earth and noticed the Crimson Cup sign. They use CC’s Armando blend in espresso drinks (twas good indeed).

  12. Stacky June 25, 2008 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm

    joev wrote
    KnoxSoFast wrote
    joev wrote Haven’t tried the coffee, but CrimsonCup just doesn’t sound like a great name to me. I get the Crimson-OSU connection, but my first thought is drinking a big mug of red pigment rather than coffee.

    I’m surprised they didn’t name it ScarletCup. Then, it’d surely sell incredibly well.

    I guess it’s Scarlet for OSU, not Crimson. So I suppose I didn’t get a connection or saw one where there wasn’t one. But that makes it even more curious why they’re called Crimson Cup.

    I asked Greg Ubert this a few months ago – if I remember correctly, he said the raw fruit of the coffee plant (called the “cherry”) is crimson in color. The seed (or bean) is separated during processing and the rest thrown away. (Supposedly the fruit is loaded with antioxidants and can be found in powder form.) Nothing to do with the Buckeyes or Lake #5 dye that I’ve heard of, sorry. :wink:

  13. Chester999 June 26, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm

    I wish them the best, and hope they do well in campus.

    I guess the only thing I found interesting about the article is the quote:

    “Our mission is to roast the best coffee in the world and teach others how to be successful in the business of brewing and selling it,”

    I’ve been to many small mom and pop coffee shops that have Crimson Cup as their main suppliers, trainers and consultant, who aren’t doing too well. I feel some people spend their life’s savings on opening a small coffee shop, and get sold on Crimson Cup’s price points and promise of success, only to run into problems later on. Usually they don’t come from a coffee background, and rely on Crimson Cup for training and business strategies. I just wish that they did more for their smaller clients, rather than promising them unrealistic profits, and simply selling them coffees and supplies.

    :(

  14. Stacky June 27, 2008 2:54 pm at 2:54 pm

    You bring up a good point Chester. Like so much in life, I think both sides get to share in the blame for creating a situation like what you described (tis the nature of small business/entrepreneurship, no?).

    Currently it seems to be popular to dream of owning your own coffee shop and the trend makes it easier to play the game for people who may have never even touched an espresso machine, balanced the books, made supply relationships, hired/managed folks or planned a layout. It’s a big risk, especially if people look at it more romantically than realistically and skip the details in operations, logistics and especially (this may prove me partial) the marketing.

    CC and several other businesses see a huge opportunity in this trend to aid people in taking a shot ( :wink: ) at what could be a longtime dream. Perhaps if these consultants weren’t around the people who can’t make it in the industry wouldn’t lose a lot of money trying, but if these people weren’t willing to go all-in the consultants wouldn’t have started appearing. And isn’t it worth it when someone is empowered to open a successful shop that really benefits the community? Consumers are learning more and more that you can’t trust anyone trying to make money to take care of all your needs surrounding a product. Consultants can only go so far to “ensure” success and it’s up to the owners to figure out how to keep afloat in coffee shop competition.

    That being said, I would really like to know how much it costs on average for someone to open up a shop from scratch (with or w/o roasting beans in-house) and compare it to what the consultants offer along with bean supply.

  15. Stacky June 27, 2008 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm

    P.S. I blame Starbucks!

  16. Andrew Hall
    Andrew Hall June 27, 2008 3:08 pm at 3:08 pm

    Stacky wrote P.S. I blame Starbucks!

    Starbucks in responsible for the dream, not the slaying of it.

    In general where Starbucks goes in, existing coffee shops find their business increasing. As a familar and ubiquitious brand, it creates new customers and demand which spills over.

    OTOH, if you coffee blows donkey d**gs, you deserve to go out of business, Starbuck or no. cough cough Coffee Table cough cough

    A.

  17. Bear
    Bear June 27, 2008 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm

    Chester999 wrote I guess the only thing I found interesting about the article is the quote: “Our mission is to roast the best coffee in the world and teach others how to be successful in the business of brewing and selling it,”

    Hm! I actually never realized that Crimson Cup — or any other roaster, for that matter — does anything other than roast and sell coffee. I didn’t realize that they were letting their smaller mom-and-pop partners down on the business end, because I didn’t realize that it was possible for them to do so.

  18. Stacky June 27, 2008 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm

    Andrew Hall wrote

    In general where Starbucks goes in, existing coffee shops find their business increasing. As a familar and ubiquitious brand, it creates new customers and demand which spills over.

    A.

    I hadn’t collected that nugget of wisdom yet, intriguing and appreciated.

    If the interest/spillover starts FAST, and folks search out alternatives to their first long line at big ol’ easy-to-find Starbucks and then they realize there is better coffee and ambiance one to two blocks away where their patronage would contribute to a local operation (that probably offers real fair trade and/or/plus ‘greener’ products and more interesting choices), and then they help promote it by converting all their friends/coworkers and think for themselves by searching for more local shops to try, then that is beautiful and I love Starbucks. :D

  19. Bear
    Bear June 27, 2008 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm

    Stacky wrote If the interest/spillover starts FAST, and folks search out alternatives to their first long line at big ol’ easy-to-find Starbucks and then they realize there is better coffee and ambiance one to two blocks away where their patronage would contribute to a local operation (that probably offers real fair trade and/or/plus ‘greener’ products and more interesting choices), and then they help promote it by converting all their friends/coworkers and think for themselves by searching for more local shops to try, then that is beautiful and I love Starbucks. :D

    I think Starbucks also prompts the smaller guys to expand their offerings and step up their game a bit. In some ways this is good, as when they improve the quality of their coffee; in others, it’s more debatable (e.g., offering flavored coffees to draw in more people).

  20. Andrew Hall
    Andrew Hall June 27, 2008 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm

    I love Starbucks because they raised the Minimally Acceptable Standard of coffee. If you have restaurant or coffee shop which can’t do better than Starbucks, then you should do Starbucks.

    They also raised the level of coffee I can typically get when I travel considering that large sections of the country were and are wholly benighted when it comes to coffee.

    We think they should sell a GPS system with continual free updates with all the newest locations.

    A.

  21. JonMyers June 27, 2008 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm

    Bear wrote I think Starbucks also prompts the smaller guys to expand their offerings and step up their game a bit. In some ways this is good, as when they improve the quality of their coffee; in others, it’s more debatable (e.g., offering flavored coffees to draw in more people).

    I’m with you guys. Starbucks has raised the public’s expectations of coffee and this keeps the little guys on their toes.

    One area of the business where I’ve yet to see a smaller coffee shop nail it is transactional efficiency. For the most part every Starbucks I visit (and that’s a lot everywhere) the staff is friendly, well-trained, somehow conversational and extremely fast at getting through the transaction. Where in contrast, some of the smaller coffee shops are way understaffed, the staff makes you feel like you’re getting in the way of their next smoke break and horribly inefficient. That’s not all of course, some exceptions are Apropos and Brioso.

  22. joev
    joev June 30, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm

    Andrew Hall wrote I love Starbucks because they raised the Minimally Acceptable Standard of coffee. If you have restaurant or coffee shop which can’t do better than Starbucks, then you should do Starbucks.

    They also raised the level of coffee I can typically get when I travel considering that large sections of the country were and are wholly benighted when it comes to coffee.

    We think they should sell a GPS system with continual free updates with all the newest locations.

    A.

    Hear, Hear. The most tragic part of attending my sister-in-law’s wedding in exurban Nashville was the lack of good coffee ANYWHERE. Starbucks hadn’t penetrated the area yet. We finally did find a local coffee shop that offered such exotic items as lattes and cappuccinos. But apparently they were brewing Maxwell House at 1/3 the recommended strength.

    Also, when traveling overseas, I find I’m most conspicuously American when I order coffee. In Paris I was disappointed by the delicate demitasse of coffee I was served. I want (need?) a HUGE Frickin’ American coffee. Is it rude to order three at a time?

  23. Andrew Hall
    Andrew Hall July 1, 2008 9:01 am at 9:01 am

    I gotta wonder about how CC is doing w/ its stand-alone store on High. When I spin by during the AM commute time, it seems rather barren.

    A.

  24. Stacky July 1, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm

    joev wrote

    Also, when traveling overseas, I find I’m most conspicuously American when I order coffee. In Paris I was disappointed by the delicate demitasse of coffee I was served. I want (need?) a HUGE Frickin’ American coffee. Is it rude to order three at a time?

    Sheesh, everything that’s extra large or in excess or attempting to take over the world is labelled as American :?

    But it reminded me of stuff I’d like to throw out there- the existence of good coffee to be found in cities outside of the US that were there before the chains. I get disappointed when the popular facts seem to suggest that Americans need to be hit over the head with an easily-accessible, medium experience in order to open their eyes to other options down the road. Obvious places like Paris, London, Firenze, Barcelona but newer ones like Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland – are known for great coffee houses and didn’t need a Starbucks on every corner to light the spark (though Dublin, Shanghai and Hong Kong seem to have more resently discovered coffee shops thanks to the Gloria Jean’s or other chains). Maybe it just reminds me of another stereotype that we find it difficult to look beyond our own borders for ideas or to learn from others’ mistakes.

    And what about Burlington, VT? This place has prevented Starbucks (along with McDonalds and WalMart) from bedding down and taking over in the city center and still manage to inspire great coffee shops- they don’t need the competitive aid of a monstrous chain, they have eachother to play the market game. Sure, its convenient whilst traveling on the road to stop in for a caffeine fix along the highway, but I wouldn’t miss them if restricted to the outskirts of the city centers in more places throughout the States.

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