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Columbus Coffee Chronicles: Going Gaga over the Baba (Budan)


Local knowledge is valuable, whether picked up in brief and fleeting tips from a helpful native or acquired over actual residential time in an area.

But you could have a good chunk of both in hand and still not know quite the full story behind the similarities...or is that differences?...between Cup O' Joe and Stauf's.

The front of Stauf's flagship Grandview Heights location
As I begun the long distance dating process with my spouse-to-be, I received piecemeal information about both places. I knew Stauf's roasted some pretty mean coffee beans - one of my favorite long-distance dating phase gifts from my spouse was a pound of Kaldi blend beans, which worked quite well with my then newly purchased Bialetti Moka Express. And I knew that their Grandview store in the historic Bank Block served up breakfast and lunch goodies (including one of the more delicious black bean burgers we've had) as well as had all the coffee equipment one could ever want.

Inside Cup O' Joe's bustling Clintonville location on North High Street
And then there were these seemingly "boringly" named places under the Cup O' Joe label whose coffee was anything but. Every early morning flight in and out of Port Columbus we secretly wished that the airport Cup O' Joe (sadly, no longer open) before the security line could be magically swapped out with the Starbucks within the terminal. The big cup motif planted firmly atop the Cup O' Joe at the Lennox Mall brought a bit of whimsy to my mind every time I drove down State Route 315 into downtown. Another (former) mall location, the MoJoe Lounge at Easton provided ample opportunity for people watching while enjoying an adult beverage or an afternoon dose of java-based caffeine.

The front of the downtown Cup O'Joe/MoJoe Lounge cafe near the Columbus Commons
As I figured out eventually, Cup O' Joe and Stauf's were at one time separate companies, with Cup O' Joe being a wholesale customer of Stauf's. Investors bought the companies around the turn of the millennium and merged them, with Stauf's eventually becoming a national supplier of its roasted beans and Cup O' Joe staying more or less a local presence. All current operating locations are members of the ever growing Columbus Coffee Trail.


Adult beverages! And a pretty tasty lunch to boot from the downtown MoJoe Lounge
With all these different locations mentioned, I believe off the top of my head/random stream of thoughts works well at this point

I think of the downtown MoJoe Lounge now more for lunch than the flagship Grandview Heights Stauf's location, and I like indulging in their monthly drink specials. I still think of the flagship Grandview Heights store as one of the best sources for roasted beans and equipment, but the company's most recent addition in German Village has a pretty good stash in its own right, plus plenty of additional seating.

Equipment is in plentiful supply at the two Stauf's locations
Fresh baked goodies (including some truly great buttermilk blueberry muffins) are available at all locations as well as offerings from local staples like Sammy's New York Bagels, Pattycake Bakery and Food for Good Thought. The Clintonville location is as much a part of the neighborhood as its Stauf's counterparts in German Village and Grandview Heights.

All sorts of baked goods at the German Village Stauf's
Finally, the pumpkin blend at Cup O' Joe goes great in a lot of different drinks. And no matter what label its under, the Baba Budan blend is one of our top five go-to coffee beans for our breakfast coffee.

What's it all mean? The folks who appreciate consistency in a multi-location coffee joint can have their Starbucks. Those who know better can enjoy the mishmash of better that Cup O' Joe/Stauf's brings to the area.

Cup O' Joe (locations covered in this blogpost)
2990 N. High Street (Clintonville - Google Maps)
1791 Olentangy River Rd (University View - Google Maps)
149 S. High Street (Downtown - Google Maps)
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Stauf's Coffee
1277 Grandview Ave (Grandview Heights - Google Maps)
627 S 3rd St (German Village - Google Maps)
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