Coffee. It’s also called java, joe, cuppa, dirt, brew, mud, morning jolt and many other things. Coffee is probably the most popular drink in America and the entire world. Some say it’s good for you, some say it’s not. Some love it, some hate it. But there’s one thing for sure, millions, if not billions of us need that first cup in the morning in order to start our day.
In Ohio, coffee is of course popular – as expected. But closer to home coffee demand seems to be unusually high on a per capita basis. In fact, it is so popular one might pose the following question: Is Urbana possibly the epicenter of coffee in Ohio? Well, you initially might not think so, considering some of the larger metro areas such as Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. But by all accounts, there is certainly an unusually large number of great places to drink good coffee within about a 40-mile radius of Urbana. In fact, there are over 75 coffee houses that one can visit including several original coffee roasters, one international roaster and a couple of coffee stores.
With so many great places to visit for a memorable java experience one must, in fact, entertain the possibility that our area may be somewhat of a “Micro Mecca” for Ohio coffee lovers. And we certainly must now come up with a catchy name for our newly identified coveted area of coffee bliss and our collection of wonderful local bean towns in order to get it on the map and make us famous. Right? Yes, right!
Well, I’ve been drinking the “forty weight” while writing this story and the java jitters and brain juices are starting to kick in. I guess I’m what you would call “on the bean” – so to speak. So let’s see what I can come up with.
I’ve got it! Let’s call our territory of nearby area coffee towns collectively the “Blue Hills Coffee Trail.” Since Urbana is the epicenter of these small “bean” towns and Champaign County is also known for its “Blue Hills” (according to Google), it really seems appropriate, fair and even copacetic to bestow that name upon us. Right? Right! Plus, it kinda sounds cool, doesn’t it? We could even get really “hip” and call Urbana “Java Junction,” the center of it all.
OK, so here’s what you are going to encounter on our Coffee Trail heading out all points north, southeast, west and in-between from Urbana. You’ll encounter stuff like: pour overs, house brew, french press, beans, cappuccinos, espressos, lattes, flat white, mochas, fair trade, direct trade, single origin, blends, cold drip, americano, green beans, drip coffee, siphon, red eye, roast date, micro-lot and the list goes on and on.
Did you get all that? Yeah, it’s a lot to take in, especially if you might be new to coffee. People in these parts take their brew very seriously, and usually with a little cream or sugar.
Don’t worry though, just hop on our now to-be-famous Blue Hills Coffee Trail via the Urbana “Coffee Junction” and check out some of these java gems and you’ll become a coffee aficionado before you know it.
Let’s just go ahead and say it, you are now entering the newly self-proclaimed “Coffee Belt of Ohio.” Forge ahead coffee lovers, a new path has been cut for your discovery.
And don’t forget to take in some of the sites-to-see in these small towns while you’re searching for your java oasis. “Sip and See” so to speak at these area “bean towns.” Walk the streets of downtown with coffee in hand and explore. Meet the local folks.
Don’t worry. You’re going to have a great time. Like bacon, coffee makes everything better!
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.