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Completing the Columbus Coffee Trail in Ohio | Interactive Map and List of Coffee Shops

Browse the interactive map and see the complete list of coffee shops on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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After checking into my hotel in Portsmouth, I began searching for things to do in Columbus, Ohio. It was my next destination on a road trip along U.S. Highway 21 that started a week earlier in Asheville. I scrolled through the search results and then froze as solid as granite. Three words caught my attention, like the first lightning bolt from an approaching storm.

Columbus Coffee Trail.

Columbus is the gleaming capital of Ohio. It’s known for the German Village’s distinct architecture, The Book Loft’s endless shelves, the Scioto Mile’s spectacular scenery, and the adorable pair of polar bears at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

But I was most excited to explore the Columbus Coffee Trail, a collection of independently owned brick-and-mortar coffee shops throughout the city. I was determined to earn a coffee mug to take home with me. But, I needed to visit several coffee shops during my three-day trip to Columbus to accomplish that goal.

Would I be able to complete it?

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Columbus Coffee Trail Map

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.

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What is the Columbus Coffee Trail?

National Coffee Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada on September 29. During the annual celebration in 2014, Experience Columbus launched the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In an article written for the coffee industry website Fresh Cup, Lara Kaylor categorized the coffee trail as a disloyalty program. “Rather than ask people to repeatedly come back to one shop, a disloyalty program encourages patrons to try multiple cafés all over the city,” she explained.

The idea was developed by the roasters at Brioso Roastery & Coffee Bar and The Roosevelt Coffeehouse. It’s one of the things to love about local businesses – they frequently support each other instead of trying to drive each other out of business.

Initially, the coffee trail included 17 coffee shops with 25 locations. In 2022, the coffee trail was relaunched with an updated logo, website app, and a few additional coffee shops. There are now 24 coffee shops with 29 locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Michelle Wilson, Director of Destination Experience at Experience Columbus, listed four primary qualifications for being included on the coffee trail:

  1. Must have a brick-and-mortar location
  2. Must use ethically sourced beans
  3. Must use locally roasted coffee beans
  4. Serve a wide variety of coffee-based beverages

Wilson said the Columbus Coffee Trail “remains to be a free experience and primary goals are to offer visitors and residents a fun, engaging way to visit and support local businesses while also having the opportunity to earn prizes as they do.”

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Using the Columbus Coffee Trail App

To begin your journey on the Columbus Coffee Trail, visit the Experience Columbus website and sign up to download the Columbus Coffee Trail app to your smartphone. You’ll receive an email with a link to a website to “download” the web-based app.

Note | The Columbus Coffee Trail is not a traditional app downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Instead, it’s a website designed to function like an app. The website asks permission to add a custom icon to your smartphone home screen and then functions like any traditional app.

The app uses your smartphone’s geolocation to determine if you’re visiting one of the coffee shops on the trail. After making a purchase, use the app to check in while inside the shop to verify your location.

You’ll collect 1 point for each coffee shop visited. As Wilson explained, the points are cumulative and expire after 18 months. After reaching a certain number of points, trail explorers receive a notification of an available prize. Or, you can wait until you’ve earned enough points to collect all the prizes.

Here are the 3 prizes available throughout the journey on the coffee trail:

  • 4 points for a “Live to Caffeinate” t-shirt
  • 12 points for an insulated tumbler
  • 13 points for a stainless steel coffee press

I earned 7 points during my three-day exploration of the trail. The experience left me amusingly jittery – a by-product of my travel lifestyle and desire to visit as many craft coffee shops as possible. I never cashed in my points, though. I’m waiting until I have enough to collect all three prizes.

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Tips on Completing the Columbus Coffee Trail

The Columbus Coffee Trail is a “disloyalty program.” It’s an odd term I’d never heard before exploring this tourism trail.

A disloyalty program encourages people to visit all the places on a trail instead of repeatedly returning to a single place. Think of it as the difference between the Columbus Coffee Trail and Starbucks. You earn stars for each purchase at Starbucks to pay for future purchases.

But the Columbus Coffee Trail is about visiting all the coffee shops.

Here are a few tips on making the most of your experience with the Columbus Coffee Trail:

  • You can visit the coffee shops in any order
  • You can visit a coffee shop on the trail more than once, but you’ll only get credit for visiting it once
  • Remember to check in with the app while visiting the coffee shop
  • Some coffee shops are open from breakfast through dinner, but others are only open earlier in the day. Plan your visit carefully.
  • Plan to spend about an hour at each coffee shop to enjoy the unique vibe and amenities

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 1

Java Central Coffee Roasters

Java Central Coffee Roasters is one of Columbus’s most beautiful coffee shops. The coffee shop opened in 2007 inside a gorgeously renovated 1945 brick hardware store in Westerville, a nearby suburb of the capital city. The coffee shop was an instant hit and quickly grew with a dedicated base of coffee drinkers.

In 2016, Camilla joined the coffee family – a roasting machine for the directly sourced coffee beans from Don Eli Farm. The owners added nitro cold brew to the coffee beverage lineup the following year.

Java Central Coffee Roasters is a community hub frequently hosting live music on the Java Stage, displaying local artwork on the walls, and fostering a friendly spirit. Inside tables and chairs are comfortable places to enjoy the music and coffee, but you may want to sit outside with a couple of tables along the quiet State Street.

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No. 2

Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

This is 1 of 2 Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

I discovered Crimson Cup Coffee during my epic U.S. Highway 23 road trip in Johnson City, Tennessee. I met the owner at Open Doors Coffeehouse, who explained that she had learned how to open a coffee shop through Crimson Cup’s 7-Step Program. 10 days later, I visited Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea in Columbus.

Founded in 1991 by Greg Ulbert, Crimson Cup is a coffee roaster, coffee shop, and coffee educator. The company’s startup program is recognized as one of the best in the country for helping other independently owned coffee shops open their doors.

There are five locations in Columbus in addition to a location in Cincinnati and Akron.

I visited the Crimson Cup Coffee in Clintonville on my way to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The freestanding building was spacious, with several comfortable tables and chairs where I could enjoy the coffee. I ordered my typical mocha latte, but the menu also includes cold brew and frozen coffee drinks.

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No. 3

Coffee Connections

There are 3 Coffee Connections locations, but this is the only one on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In 2013, Nate and Sharon Grenier moved to Hillard, a suburb northwest of Columbus. The couple opened a catering company with a mobile coffee cart. In 2016, they partnered with fellow church members and good friends Jeff and Jenn Heimberger. Later that year, the co-owners opened Coffee Connections on Main Street in Old Hillard.

Roasting their own beans has been a part of the business since the beginning. After years of running a small batch 2-pound roaster in a corner of the coffee shop, the co-owners invested in a 10-pound Coffee Crafters roaster and moved it to another location on Main Street.

Coffee Connections is inside a beautifully renovated two-story white house on Main Street near Station Park, a public water park and event venue. Quirky, comfortable seating is available in various rooms of the house. But the best seat in the coffee shop is outside, where you can enjoy the peaceful town.

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No. 4

Florin Coffee

When Hans and Joelle Hochstedler opened Florin Coffee, they wanted to create a people-first coffee roaster and café. The couple works directly with coffee bean farmers to provide a high-quality source for their small-batch roasting. You can buy the freshly roasted beans by the bag or get a freshly ground coffee at their small shop.

The commercial coffee shop is small, with only a couple of tables inside and a few chairs outside on the quiet street. The menu includes a variety of coffee beverages like drip coffee, cold brew, and espresso.

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No. 5

Cup O Joe Coffee & Desserts

There are 2 locations for Cup O Joe, but this is the only one on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Cup O Joe is one of Columbus’s oldest coffee shops. In 1999, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters founder Tom Griesemer and company president Mark Swanson bought the coffee shop in Clintonville. The coffee shop was renovated and reopened as a dessert café.

The large coffee shop has many unique attributes, like a central gas fireplace surrounded by large picture windows and dozens of tables with metal chairs. It’s a great place to relax with a fresh coffee and enjoy the endless throng of traffic buzzing along High Street.

Cup O Joe uses freshly ground beans roasted at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. The beverage menu includes almost every kind of coffee drink, from espresso to cold brew. You can also browse a selection of pastries and muffins.

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No. 6

Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

This is 2 of 2 Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

I discovered Crimson Cup Coffee during my epic U.S. Highway 23 road trip in Johnson City, Tennessee. I met the owner at Open Doors Coffeehouse, who explained that she had learned how to open a coffee shop through Crimson Cup’s 7-Step Program. 10 days later, I visited Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea in Columbus.

Founded in 1991 by Greg Ulbert, Crimson Cup is a coffee roaster, coffee shop, and coffee educator. The company’s startup program is recognized as one of the best in the country for helping other independently owned coffee shops open their doors.

There are five locations in Columbus in addition to a location in Cincinnati and Akron.

The freestanding location on Northwest Boulevard might look familiar outside – it’s a former gas station with service bays. But on the inside, it looks nothing like its former incarnation. Leather armchairs surround a gas fireplace, and the service bay doors have been replaced with large picture windows that flood the coffee shop with natural light.

With lots of parking and about five minutes from The Ohio State University, it’s one of Crimson Cup’s most popular locations.

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No. 7

Chocolate Café

This is 1 of 2 Chocolate Café locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In 2007, the husband and wife team of Phil Wolfe and Lisa Boyle opened the Chocolate Café in Kingswood near The Ohio State University. After watching their Video Central franchise collapse beneath the weight of Netflix, the couple saw the coffee and chocolate shop as an exit strategy.

The locals loved the café because of the diverse menu and “dessert catalog.” Made-to-order breakfast, lunch, and dinner give guests savory food to enjoy at any time throughout the day. Display cases are filled with savory cakes, cookies, and brownies baked fresh daily. And the coffee menu includes a variety of espresso and drip options using locally roasted beans.

The spacious café has lots of room for people to comfortably sit for a while to enjoy their coffee, food, and dessert. Large picture windows in steel frames allow natural light to flood the building, creating an invigorating vibe.

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No. 8

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

This is 1 of the 4 Stauf’s Coffee Roasters locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Tom Griesemer developed the idea of opening a coffee roaster after a horrible experience at one of the city’s few coffee shops in the 1980s. In 1988, he opened Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview Heights. While celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary in 2018, Grisemer told the Columbus Monthly that the coffee shop was profitable within the first two months.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters sells their roasted beans by the bag or via subscriptions. The extensive coffee menu uses freshly ground beans for every cup, offering espresso, drip, cold brew, and tea.

In 2019, company president Mark Swanson purchased an 1880s church building on Neil Avenue. The church was carefully renovated with a mid-century interior design, utilizing the former stained glass windows as artwork and pews as seating. It’s the most gorgeous coffee shop in Columbus and one that I recommend everyone visit at least once.

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No. 9

Fox in the Snow Cafe

There are 4 locations for Fox in the Snow Café, but this is the only location on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

The folks at Fox in the Snow Café believe finely crafted coffee goes best with freshly homemade pastries – so they decided to do both. The bakery and coffee shop was started in the Italian Village inside a renovated auto repair shop, an appropriate destination during a road trip adventure.

Large glass-plated garage doors allow natural light to flood the interior. The real wood tables and chairs are complemented with natural house plants, creating a comfortable and homey feel inside the industrial space. Interestingly, the coffee shop features no Wi-Fi connection – much to my chagrin since I enjoy writing at these coffee shops.

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No. 10

Saucy Brewpub & Coffeehouse

Saucy Brew Works is one of my favorite kinds of coffee shops – it offers coffee by day and beer by night.

In 2017, Brent Zimmerman and Eric Anderson opened a craft brewery in Cleveland, Ohio. Saucy Brew Works expanded into Pinecrest and Columbus in 2020 and now has six locations in Ohio.

In 2020, the business expanded with a different kind of brewing with Saucy Coffee. Three brewpubs were expanded with a coffeehouse, including the one in Columbus. Guests can order freshly roasted beans by the bag or a coffee beverage at the coffeehouse. Options include espresso, pour-over, and drip coffee.

The Harrison West location is about fifteen minutes from downtown Columbus. It’s a spacious, comfortable place to enjoy craft coffee, savory pizza, or craft beer. Sit inside at the wooden tables or outside on the covered patio overlooking Michigan and 3rd Avenues. Saucy Coffee has a separate entrance on Michigan Avenue.

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This was the previous location of Boston Stoke Coffee Co. in a shopping center that no longer exists. It’s an excuse for me to return to Columbus.

No. 11

Boston Stoker Coffee Co.

In 1973, Don and Sally Dean opened a specialty tobacco shop, Boston Stoker Pipe Shop, in Englewood, Ohio. In the first few years, the couple began brewing specialty coffee and offering it free of charge to their tobacco customers. Interest in the coffee outpaced the interest in their original business, and eventually, they began roasting their own beans purchased directly from a farm in Costa Rica.

After the original location closed, Boston Stoker Coffee Co. opened The Roastery in nearby Vandalia, a small town north of Dayton. There are five coffee shop locations in Ohio, including one in Grand View, a suburb of Columbus.

The first time I visited Boston Stoker Coffee Co., it was in a small shopping center one block from Goodale Park. While updating this list, I realized that shopping no longer exists! Unwilling to leave Columbus, the coffee shop moved a mile west.

The new coffee shop is bigger than their first. Vintage furniture and area rugs give the coffee shop a 60s vibe that works well with great craft coffee. Every coffee is made with freshly ground coffee beans from their proprietary roast.

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No. 12

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

This is 2 of the 4 Stauf’s Coffee Roasters locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Tom Griesemer developed the idea of opening a coffee roaster after a horrible experience at one of the city’s few coffee shops in the 1980s. In 1988, he opened Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview Heights.While celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary in 2018, Grisemer told the Columbus Monthly that the coffee shop was profitable within the first two months.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters sells their roasted beans by the bag or via subscriptions. The extensive coffee menu uses freshly ground beans for every cup, offering espresso, drip, cold brew, and tea.

This location is one of Stauf’s largest in Columbus. Plenty of indoor seating means getting a table throughout the day is easy. But just in case, a few tables are outside along Grandview Avenue.

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No. 13

Third Way Coffee House

In 2017, John and Tim Rush founded Third Way Café, the latest extension of their entrepreneurial spirit. The veteran-owned business roasts its own beans at a cozy corner shop along a busy highway and whips up savory coffee drinks.

In 2023, the coffee shop moved across the street to a former drive-through fast food chain. This opened the door for Third Way Coffee House to offer drive-through coffee service – perfect for taking it on the go while exploring Columbus.

But I recommend stepping inside the quaint community coffee shop. It’s less than 700 square feet, but you’ll find additional seating outside the rural location.

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No. 14

Bottoms Up Coffee

The owners of Bottoms Up Coffee are on a mission to make a social impact with their business. Standing in line, I read a sign about a Diaper Fund. The small coffee shop raises awareness of the child mortality rate by raising money to give diapers to newborn families. It was a unique fundraiser for a coffee shop, one the locals were passionate about.

Fresh ground beans are used for every coffee drink. The menu also includes breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and lunch sandwiches. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light. The creaking wood floor contrasts with the white tin metal ceiling. Square tables with wooden chairs are spread around couches and armchairs, offering plenty of places to sit and enjoy the coffee.

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Early morning is a great time to visit Roaming Goat Coffee. Warn sunlight bathes the modern chic coffee shop.

No. 15

Roaming Goat Coffee

In 2013, Jason Thomas started a coffee roasting business in Columbus. After four years of steady growth, he bought Impero Coffee in the Short North area and rebranded it as the Roaming Goat Coffee Shop.

The long countertop is accented with natural wood panels and white subway tile, giving the coffee shop a modern chic vibe. Highchair seating at a bar along a wall of windows offers a place to watch the world pass by on North High Street. It’s a comfortable place to spend time in one of Columbus’s most exciting areas.

And I’ll never forget my first visit because this is where I got my first and only parking ticket in Columbus. I was only inside the coffee shop for ten minutes, but that was long enough for the little slip of paper to appear on my windshield.

Pro Travel Tip | My favorite morning in Columbus developed from coffee to go at Roaming Goat and One Line Coffee. After getting the coffee to go, I drove one block west of North High Street to Goodale Park. The park has plenty of walking trails and a spectacular elephant-themed water fountain in a large pond – the perfect place to enjoy great craft coffee.

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The only photo I captured at One Line Coffee was of my coffee to go. Why? I don’t remember.

No. 16

One Line Coffee

This is 1 of 2 One Line Coffee locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In 2009, the father and son team of Mark and Dave opened One Line Coffee with the intent to source the best beans, roast them in-house, and serve coffee to the community. Established in the Short North neighborhood, it was the perfect location for visitors to sit with a fresh coffee while exploring the galleries, retail shops, and restaurants.

The circular bar stands at the very center of the small space – a testament to complete transparency. Plenty of seating is available along the exposed brick walls, and there is even a custom pour-over station for avid coffee drinkers.

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No. 17

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

This is 3 of the 4 Stauf’s Coffee Roasters locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Tom Griesemer developed the idea of opening a coffee roaster after a horrible experience at one of the city’s few coffee shops in the 1980s. In 1988, he opened Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview Heights.While celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary in 2018, Grisemer told the Columbus Monthly that the coffee shop was profitable within the first two months.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters sells their roasted beans by the bag or via subscriptions. The extensive coffee menu uses freshly ground beans for every cup, offering espresso, drip, cold brew, and tea.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters at North Market is one of the best coffee shops to visit in Columbus because of the location. North Market began in 1876 as the city’s premiere public market. After rocky times from the 1940s until the 1980s, the current market was built in 1995.

The coffee shop is one of over a dozen authentic shops in North Market. Get a coffee and head upstairs to sit along a mezzanine overlooking the market. It’s a great place to watch the throngs of people shopping for goods.

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Photo courtesy Experience Columbus.

No. 18

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse interestingly serves more than just great coffee – they’re also on a mission to serve injustice. It doesn’t take long to learn about their fight against unclean water, world hunger, and human trafficking.

The modern chic space was filled with natural light from enormous windows. The large space probably had more seating than any other coffee shop in Columbus – and they were more than excited about long-term remote workers.

They use Roosevelt Coffee Roasters beans – a new addition to their lineup – roasted locally from beans around the world. The baristas take coffee seriously – you can order drip, V60, Chemex, or espresso in various ways. However you order the coffee, it’s made carefully and with expert knowledge, and it might be the best coffee you’ll have all day.

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No. 19

Brioso Roastery & Coffee Bar

The folks at Brioso Coffee take coffee roasting and brewing seriously. Roasting in small batches and meticulously studied, the local coffee roastery determines the best way to describe the roast for their loyal customers.

Brioso Coffee features two coffee bar locations, both in downtown Columbus. The location on Long Street is “where the magic happens,” the roastery. Featuring traditional coffee shop hardwood floors and brick walls, the coffee shop is a comfortable place to enjoy a fresh brew. The location on High Street features a modern appearance with large windows, natural light, and light tones.

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No. 20

Bexley Coffee Shop

In 2015, Nikki Ore and Maria Schlegel bought a five-year-old coffee shop in Bexley, a residential suburb east of downtown Columbus. The new owners renovated the space and opened Bexley Coffee Shop.

The menu includes every kind of coffee beverage, smoothies, and tea. Fresh-baked pastries and muffins are available daily.

There is a small amount of indoor seating. But the best seat is outside beneath a former covered drive-thru – a fantastic re-use of the space. The drive-thru is surrounded by hefty planters, so no one thinks of driving through anymore.

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No. 21

Kittie’s Cakes

There are 3 Kittie’s Cakes in the Columbus area, but only the Bexley location is on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Kittie’s Cakes was founded in 2011 by Kelly and Mollie Fankhauser. Business was good, and the couple expanded their German Village bakery to a second location in Bexley. In 2022, Steve and Diane Herman bought the two locations. The couple bought Highline Coffee in Worthington the following year, making it Kittie’s Cakes’ third location.

Cakes are still the business’s core. Mini cupcakes are baked daily in a variety of year-round and seasonal flavors. The springtime lemon meringue and year-round carrot cake are my favorites. The baked goods menu includes cinnamon rolls, cookies, and sheet cakes. The food menu includes savory quiche.

Coffee beverages are made with freshly ground coffee from Stumptown, Online Line, and Upper Cup Roasters. Drip, espresso, and cold brew will get you caffeinated quickly with delicious drinks.

The Bexley location is one of my favorite kinds of coffee shops – it’s connected to a bookstore. Gramercy Books is an independent bookshop founded by Linda Kass. Kittie’s has indoor booth-style seating and outdoor tables.

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No. 22

Maudine’s

In 2023, local capital investment firm Rockbridge and Dallas-based Makeready opened The Junto, an independent luxury boutique hotel. It’s an ideal place to stay in Columbus, with the Center of Science and Industry, National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and Scioto Mile within walking distance.

And you can walk to Maudine’s, the hotel’s coffee shop.

The black and white tile floor resembles a cow’s spotted pattern. A cow’s head adorns the ceramic mugs. If it seems like the coffee shop is obsessed with a cow, it is – and there’s an interesting story behind it. After widespread corruption during voting for the 1926 The Ohio State University Homecoming Queen, the Election Committee opted to anoint Maudine Ormsby the homecoming queen.

Maudine was a cow in the university’s agriculture department.

It’s the only coffee shop on the Columbus Coffee Trail that is not independently owned by a local. But the baristas use locally roasted coffee beans from One Line Coffee. Drinks include a variety of espresso and drip coffees. The food menu includes breakfast sandwiches made with local ingredients and savory pastries.

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No. 23

One Line Coffee

This is 1 of 2 One Line Coffee locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In 2009, the father and son team of Mark and Dave opened One Line Coffee with the intent to source the best beans, roast them in-house, and serve coffee to the community. Established in the Short North neighborhood, it was the perfect location for visitors to sit with a fresh coffee while exploring the galleries, retail shops, and restaurants.

One Line Coffee’s Franklinton location is larger than its original Short North coffee shop. The 2,500-square-foot coffee shop is a gorgeous modern space with enormous picture windows flooding the place with natural light. Comfortable tables, chairs, and booths offer a great place to enjoy savory coffee and food.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 24

Pistacia Vera

In 2004, the brother and sister team of Spencer Budros and Anne Fletcher opened Pistacia Vera in Columbus’s historic German Village. The sweet shop is known for its savory baked goods, like macarons, tarts, and cookies. I recommend the lemon tart made with freshly squeezed lemon curd or the delectable Chocolate Bombe.

But Pistacia Vera made it onto the Columbus Coffee Trail because of their coffee beverages. The variety includes espresso, drip, and cold brew coffee made with freshly ground and locally roasted beans.

The modern dessert and coffee shop is anachronistic inside a traditional brick German-style building. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the cavernous interior with natural light. Interior seating is limited, but additional tables and chairs are outside on the peaceful sidewalk.

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Photo courtesy Experience Columbus.

No. 25

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

This is 4 of the 4 Stauf’s Coffee Roasters locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

Tom Griesemer developed the idea of opening a coffee roaster after a horrible experience at one of the city’s few coffee shops in the 1980s. In 1988, he opened Stauf’s Coffee Roasters in Grandview Heights.While celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary in 2018, Grisemer told the Columbus Monthly that the coffee shop was profitable within the first two months.

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters sells their roasted beans by the bag or via subscriptions. The extensive coffee menu uses freshly ground beans for every cup, offering espresso, drip, cold brew, and tea.

The German Village location embodies everything charming about the historic neighborhood. The architecturally gorgeous building has limited indoor seating, but there’s plenty of room along the wide brick sidewalk in front and in the small courtyard.

It’s also conveniently located beside the German Village’s best attraction – The Book Loft. Plan to browse the endless bookshelves for a great book before getting coffee next door.

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No. 26

Chocolate Café Express

This is 2 of 2 Chocolate Café locations on the Columbus Coffee Trail.

In 2007, the husband and wife team of Phil Wolfe and Lisa Boyle opened the Chocolate Café in Kingswood near The Ohio State University. After watching their Video Central franchise collapse beneath the weight of Netflix, the couple saw the coffee and chocolate shop as an exit strategy.

The locals loved the café because of the diverse menu and “dessert catalog.” Made-to-order breakfast, lunch, and dinner give guests savory food to enjoy at any time throughout the day. Display cases are filled with savory cakes, cookies, and brownies baked fresh daily. And the coffee menu includes a variety of espresso and drip options using locally roasted beans.

In 2021, Boyle expanded her business with Chocolate Café Express, a smaller location she calls a “satellite shop.” Indoor seating is at a premium in the express coffee shop, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating on the wide sidewalk. Although, admittedly, it’s not peaceful to sit outside along South High Street, the main thoroughfare through the German Village.

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No. 27

Winans Coffee & Chocolate

In 1961, Max and Dick Winans opened the Winans Carriage House Candies in Piqua, Ohio. When Max’s daughter, Laurie Winans Reiser, and her husband, Joe Reiser, bought the company in 1993 and added coffee to the menu.

Max once commented that chocolate and coffee “seem to fit together like a glove.”

There are almost two dozen locations across Ohio, with two in Columbus. But the German Village location is the only one on the Columbus Coffee Trail. The chocolate and coffee shop occupies the first floor of a typical German-style brick building. Interior seating is limited, but additional tables and chairs are on the wide sidewalk.

Although it’s delightfully painful to browse the chocolates in the display case and enjoy the sweet aroma, the best option is to take the coffee to go. Schiller Park is one of Columbus’s best public parks, with walking trails and plenty of places to sit with a coffee and chocolate treat.

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No. 28

Community Grounds: Coffee & Meeting House

Everything about Community Grounds Coffee is about the local community. When the small coffee shop opened its doors, the idea was to create a friendly co-working space while offering locally roasted beans and fantastic coffee drinks.

But the most interesting aspect of Community Grounds Coffee is their “Suspended South Side” program. Customers can pay for a drink or food item in advance for a future customer in need. Called “suspensions,” the pay-it-forward scheme is not a novel idea, but it is still nice to see in a local coffee shop.

Get a drip coffee, pour-over, espresso, or tea drink, take it to the comfortable tables with wooden chairs, or relax on the sofa while getting work done.

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No. 29

Mission Coffee Co.

In 2015, Matt Roberson opened Mission Coffee Co. in Columbus’s Short North area. The renovated warehouse served as a roastery and café until 2021 when Roberson moved to an industrial building in The Fort area on South High Street.

The move comes with a new method for customers. Orders from a mobile truck are picked up and taken inside a wonderfully industrial lounge. The concrete floors, vintage furniture, and rollup door offer a comfortable place to enjoy the espresso and drip coffee beverages.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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