UPDATE: Boston Stoker has closed this location and moved to Grandview. Read about their First Avenue store here.
Boston Stoker (Facebook / @BostonStokerOSU)
1660 Neil Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43210
Open Mon-Fri, 6:30a-7p; Sat & Sun, 8a-2p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Date of Visit: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 12:30pm
Coffee on Ohio State’s campus – or any college campus, for that matter – can be a dubious affair. Students in need of caffeination are surrounded by shops hawking extra large lattes and towering cappuccinos. And let’s face it, as a student you’re usually focused more bang-for-your-buck caffeine stimulation rather than the true coffee experience. And that demand is met by places like Brenen’s Cafe, Starbucks, Panera, or any of the OSU food service run coffee shops.
So if you’re someone like me, and you want coffee, but something beyond a sugary iced chai or a grande cup of acidic dark roast, you’re usually out of luck. Until about a year ago, when a Dayton-based chain called Boston Stoker opened a store on Neil Avenue near the center of campus. Like the Brenen’s Cafe that previously occupied the space, Boston Stoker fills the front half of the building, while the back half is dedicated to a bank branch. So in some ways the coffee shop feels like a glorified bank lobby, but it’s got enough personality to be a real coffee shop: couches for chatting, outlets for laptops, plenty of tables for studiers.
The Boston Stoker company roasts their beans in Dayton, where they have nine other stores. In Columbus, menus are printed daily with the coffees available for espresso, French press, or pour overs.
They also serve tea, plus munchables like bagels and muffins.
The real feature of their coffee service is the brew bar, where cups of coffee are prepared individually using the pour over method.
Pour overs provide a little song-and-dance routine for the customer, as it’s slightly more involved than just shooting coffee out of a press pot. This process includes pouring hot water over the coffee grounds in a funneled filter.
This maximizes the appropriate contact time between water and grounds, and it allows you to do it one cup at a time.
The result allows you to best feature the roast’s flavor profile. Seriously, you don’t need cream or sugar with it.
I tried a cup of the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe on the recommendation of the barista, and I loved it. Clean, rich, a little fruity.
This is why I’m so happy to have Boston Stoker on campus: no one else nearby is making coffee like this! Sure, maybe not all college students are looking for the ideal coffee experience, but there’s got to be a crowd for this. Especially given that the closest places preparing coffee well are further south in Short North or up in Clintonville. I know I’m going to create some slight detours to Boston Stoker on the walk between my office and my classrooms.