Ohio’s Own: Arabica Cafe Mocha
If you subscribe to something called The Law of Excluded Middle, then the world of drinkers can be divided into two groups: coffee purists, and those who are not coffee purists. Coffee purists typically appreciate differences in particular coffee bean roasting styles and growing regions. Generally speaking, purists have less appreciation for coffee shop beverages like the Unicorn Frappuccino (which, for the record, didn’t even have coffee in it).
Arabica Cafe Mocha is for the non-purists. As the mocha name implies, it’s for people who like coffee-ish beverages.
To be sure, there is coffee — or at least “coffee extract” — in the gigundo jug of mocha milk. In fact, a distinct coffee aroma and flavor are the first things you notice in the tall, cold glass. There’s also chocolate (cocoa), and sweetness (HFCS/corn syrup). And it’s thicker than milk; with cream, the beverage has almost a milk-shake level of thickness, but not quite. It’s like chocolate milk for grown-ups, maybe. Smooth, sugary and delicious.
Anyway, it’s perfectly fine straight, but pour it over ice with whipped cream, and you have your own, super-fast version of a fancy coffee beverage from a bona fide Ohio institution.
After all, Arabica Coffee house is an official institution. The name actually predates funky coffee trends. According to its website, it started back in the Cleveland area in 1976, and the operation has since grown; the Arabica name and logo can be found on lots of Cleveland-based locations that offer coffee beverages, baked goods, sandwiches and in at least one case: Hookah. In Columbus, you can find Cafe Mocha in the dairy refrigerator section of grocery stores. The aforementioned jug was found at Marc’s*, a Cleveland-based grocery chain which is notably flush in offbeat Ohio foods.
*Also notable: Marc’s happens to have one of the best selections of Utica-based Velvet ice cream in town. For mocha floats, perhaps.