I found a terrific coffee bar yesterday! It's called Rising Star. Located in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, it occupies a former firehouse on the corner of West 29th Street and Church Street just south of Detroit Avenue.
While primarily a small batch roaster that supplies to local restaurants and individual customers, it has a storefront and bar in the firehouse building. I visited the storefront yesterday and spent some time talking with the owner and employees.
These guys are devoted to finding the best quality sources for coffee, and using the best methods for roasting, grinding and extracting the brew. Most roasters use coffee brokers to purchase their lots, but Rising Star goes directly to growers (the owner had just gotten back from Peru when we spoke yesterday) to sample the coffee in person. They also rely on samples sent from growers.
They buy only micro-lots of coffee. All the employees I spoke with sample LOTS of coffees on a routine basis to keep current with what's out there.
They deliver or ship their coffee within one day of roasting to guarantee freshness. You can also pick up orders in the store.
The coffee is roasted in the firehouse behind the bar area.
You can watch the roasting while you drink.
The employees are very open about the business and really enjoyed talking about coffee with me. They have a very unpretentious attitude about their craft and offered me some tips on how to improve my home roasting and my espresso making.
Although the store's offerings change regularly, yesterday they had two espressos available -- one single origin from Bali and another that was a blend. There were three different coffees available brewed -- one from Peru, the Balinese and one from Guatemala.
There were also specialty iced coffees and sweets available for purchase.
Perhaps most interesting was that they offer three different ways of brewing the coffee :
Each order of coffee is made individually. No one is in a hurry to process your order. Shots are pulled carefully and with attention. No beans decaying in Lucite bins, no giant carafes with brewed coffee mouldering in them, no coffee blackening on burners.
The coffee has not been roasted off-site at some indeterminate date.
I tried the Balinese espresso. It was one of the best shots I've ever had. A lighter roast with a great mixture of tartness and sweetness. This was followed by an aeropress Peruvian and then they offered me a pour over Colombian that was extraordinary.
The storefront is very basic with just a few stools and a table for eating and drinking, so if you go, don't expect a lounge atmosphere with Wifi and outlets for laptops, a fireplace, groovy music, etc. This is a workplace that just happens to have a coffee bar that serves the best coffee I've had in Cleveland!