Cafe Brioso (Facebook / @CafeBrioso)
14 E. Gay St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Mon-Fri, 7a-4p; Sat, 9a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Ah, Brioso. It’s both easy and difficult for me to write about them. It’s easy because seasoned food and coffee fans of Columbus will already know about Brioso and their amazing roasts, their passion for coffee brewing, and their enthusiasm for sharing and teaching coffee culture. But it’s difficult because there’s not much to write beyond saying that they do coffee, and they do it really well. So maybe I should aim this review toward people who haven’t visited Brioso.
In short: you should go. Brioso is one of downtown Columbus’ premiere coffee stops. It’s conveniently located on the corner of High and Gay Streets. Parking is easily found on Gay Street, in both long- and short-term meters.
ATMOSPHERE: Brioso does all of their roasting on premises, so at the front of the store facing High Street you’ll often find roaster Jeff Davis hard at work, making anywhere from 15-20 different roasts. It makes the whole cafe, and the street outside, smell lovely. It’s particularly inviting in the colder months.
FOOD: In addition to their coffee, they serve a wide range of fresh-baked goods, from scones to cookies to muffins. Their scones rotate from sweet to savory flavors, often incorporating seasonal fruits. One of their top sellers are the blueberry muffins. It’s hard to go wrong when you pair that with a coffee drink.
You can order coffee however you like it: lattes with beautiful art, cappuccinos, cubanos (one of my wife’s favorites), or pour-overs featuring any of their roasts. They usually have a featured pour-over each day, so even if you’re a daily fixture there, you can work your way through the full menu of beans.
They serve much more than just coffee and muffins. Stop in for lunch especially, where they rotate soups, salads, and sandwiches.
SERVICE: The staff at Brioso keeps busy – they have to with the active downtown crowd – but they’ve always been friendly to me, and willing to chat about coffee. Their baristas are also some of the best trained in town, so you know that they’re pulling shots of espresso, pouring latte art, or foaming up your cappuccino the right way. Brioso often hosts regional latte art competitions, so they’re also doing a lot to raise Columbus’ coffee profile.
OVERALL: Whether you have time to stop or are in the to-go mood, the Brioso breakfast serves you well. If you work downtown, or are just bumming around seeing the sights, the cafe is a must-see for a drink and a snack. But if you want to take your love of coffee a stop further, they can lead the way. J.J., one of the managers, has a business card that reads, “Coffee Evangelist,” and that about says it all.
-> my (614) Magazine write-up about coffee shops, including Brioso