Date of Visit: Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:30am
IMPRESSIONS: When my wife and I first moved to Columbus, we lived in Short North across the street from The Coffee Table, a ramshackle little corner coffee shop that served good espresso. We used to judge the weather based on how many of their white plastic tables they set out each morning. Alas, Coffee Table is now gone, but Short North is still well caffeinated what with Cup O’ Joe, Impero, and Travonna opening their doors up and down the district (while a Starbucks did not survive – ha ha!). And now a new roaster has set up shop, right in that central part of the neighborhood, around the corner from where Coffee Table once stood: One Line Coffee.
ATMOSPHERE: One Line has roots all around Ohio – Granville, Newark, Heath – but this is their first permanent spot in Columbus itself. In my mind, they’ve found a good location. Large exposed brick walls are complemented by a nice wood floor and rustic chalkboard signage that can be rewritten to feature the day’s roasts. The room feels nice and bright, with big windows facing right onto High Street. The main counter is in the middle of the space, with thinner counters running along some of the walls.
One of the most enjoyable parts of our visit to One Line was interacting with the owner Dave and his employees. They are enthusiastic about coffee, and about informing their customers and including them in that excitement. The best coffee shops around town are able to educate you while still serving you as a customer and not intimidating you. All of One Line’s signage (and there’s a lot of it) goes toward explaining what you’ll get with each roast and each preparation.
FOOD: We ordered a couple drinks. My wife opted for an espresso out of one of their daily roasts (a Burundian coffee). The shot was expertly prepared, and had such a pleasant, surprising flavor. It was sharp, nutty, and fruity. Really a delight.
I ordered Kenyan coffee prepared in what’s called Kyoto-style. It’s a cold preparation that involves slowly dripping ice water over a matter of several hours through the grounds.
The glassware keeps the water in contact with the grounds for an extended period.
The water drips at a slow rate. Dave said he was aiming for one drip every one-and-a-half seconds. It’s a fascinating setup to watch. Like a big chemistry set.
The result is a concentrated coffee liqueur that’s served over ice in a tumbler glass. Dave said the drink is meant to be sipped like a glass of scotch or bourbon served on the rocks. The cold brew certainly did retain a lot of flavor while losing a lot of the bitterness. Very strong notes of citrus fruit.
Their hot coffee is served with a pour-over cone (I think these were Hario V60s). This apparatus allows the barista to prepare a single cup of hot coffee in a way that ideally brings out the coffee’s intended flavors. A few other shops in town use this method at their brew bars, too.
SERVICE: Dave and his crew are very welcoming. They weren’t busy when we visited mid-morning Monday, so they took extra time to chat with us and show us around the shop. So far, they’ve created a pretty low-pressure way to explore and enjoy coffee.
It’s also nice that One Line (like many other shops around town) is serving their own roasts. Which means they can serve coffee that fits their preferences; they’re controlling nearly every step of the process.
They sell coffee beans and roasting equipment at the store, too. We picked up a bag of the Kenyan peaberry.
OVERALL: It’s great to see another high-quality coffee shop in town. Columbus’ coffee scene is very strong indeed, as evidenced by the huge turnout at the North Market Coffee Roast (where One Line first made an appearance). Already I’m a fan of One Line’s space, roasts, and hospitality. I look forward to returning, and hope others go explore it, too.