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Issue Date: January 2014 Issue

Brew Crew

The pour-over trend has created a new level of java obsessiveness.
Jillian Kramer

The barista at Pour Cleveland bathes the pre-warmed filter with water, allowing the freshly ground, sun-dried Biloya coffee to bubble and bloom for several seconds — blackberry and cocoa aromas wafting from the pot — before continuing his three-minute pour. Each tip of the spout is measured and timed by the digital V60 plate beneath the clear pot, now filling with the dark Ethiopian blend. "There's a perfect water-to-coffee ratio," the barista explains, of the art to the pour-over coffee. Pour Cleveland opened in the 5th Street Arcades in December, joining a handful of destinations offering this single-serve process that yields an intense, true-flavored brew so smooth people will wait to try it. (Yes, at three minutes a cup, lines can get long — especially during peak hours.) "More care goes into anything that is artisan," says Troubadour Coffee Roasters owner Tony DiCorpo, "and the taste of a pour-over coffee reflects that."

Pour Cleveland

The minimalistic decor — white subway tile backsplash, midcentury modern furniture and Edison light bulb chandeliers — allows the coffee to be the star.

What They're Brewing

What they're brewing Four rotating pour-over coffees, including one decaf option, are front and center on its menu.

Level of Obsessiveness

Owner Charlie Eisenstat buys his beans from Counter Culture, a direct-trade roaster in Durham, N.C., that encourages farmers to use ecologically responsible cultivation methods. "We met with a bunch of roasters,"Eisenstat says, "and it was really important that we chose one that is socially responsible."

What We're Drinking

Eisenstat's favorite brew, the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe ($3) smells like oranges and tastes like sweet, tart cherries.

Troubadour Coffee Roasters

Warm red and yellow walls welcome you to the wide bar, covered in coffee sacks from the shop's bean suppliers.

What They're Brewing

The menu rotates weekly, with four to eight coffees available in pour-over, siphon pot and French press methods. The drinks are served without cream or sugar. "We want to show respect to our growers," says owner Tony DiCorpo.

Level of Obsessiveness

DiCorpo hosts two-hour tastings on Saturday for up to 10 people.

What We're Drinking

An Ethiopian Illubabox ($3.75) sits on your tongue like peach preserves — fruity and full-bodied with a sweetness that increases as the cup cools.

Rising Star Coffee Roasters

Nestled in the lower level of Ohio City's restored firehouse, it offers a historic ambiance and a clear view of the roasters just behind the bar.

What They're Brewing

Rising Star specializes in lighter roasts. "You taste everything," explains general manager Erika Durham. Try one in three pour-over options, AeroPress or vacuum pots, plus a bevy of espresso beverages.

Level of Obsessiveness

Rising Star only buys beans with a score of 85 or higher on the Specialty Coffee Association of America's rating system.

What We're Drinking

A Panama Emporium Estate ($3) is complex, with floral notes and a strawberry finish.

Phoenix Coffee Co.

The Lee Road spot offers red-cushioned seating for at least 50 and walls adorned with flora artwork made from coffee sacks.

What They're Brewing

The store's six rotating, single-origin coffees are available by pour-over or in espresso beverages, cold brews and French presses. "We're really proud of our Euro short lattes," says coffee director Christopher Feran.

Level of Obsessiveness

Baristas take education seriously, explaining how patrons can repeat the process at home.

What We're Drinking

A New Guinea Kimel peaberry ($2.95) smells like honey but has a twinge of tangerine.

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