7 minute read

The Coffee Life

Coffee is life. But for me, nothing can compare to a flawlessly pulled shot of espresso. My attention is stolen by the smells, the process, the chemistry between the ground beans and hot water, and of course… the final product. The near-black, liquid gold espresso flowing into a tiny cup, followed by the frothy crema floating on top like a puffy caffeinated cloud—it’s like science and art.

If you don’t live the coffee life like me and my fellow caffeine zombies, here’s a fair warning… If you talk to us before our first espresso of the day, we’re not responsible for the big mood you’re about to encounter. I’m pretty sure most of you can relate to this! Call it an addiction or an obsession, but I call coffee a friend and partner, and I’m basically a monster without it.

I’m sitting here at 12 a.m. about to drink a quad espresso and perk myself up so I can finish this article on time. It’s like threat level midnight over here, and without the extra caffeine, it’s unlikely that I’ll get my brain to engage properly. Oddly, I can also consume mass amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep like a baby. If you’ve ever been over for a late-night movie and coffee with me, you know this to be gospel because I’m falling asleep every time.

Fresco Bistro—641 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

So how do you like your rocket fuel? Straight-up espresso in a tiny cup? A flavored latte with a beautiful design on top? How about a classic cappuccino stacked high with milk foam? And you definitely can’t go wrong with a dirty chai or breve!

Just don’t say decaffeinated because that’s what insane people drink. I love to try and guess what the person ahead of me is ordering. I can spot the Americano guy a mile away. And hey… extra foam, not too hot, and a dash of cinnamon guy—I see you in the back!

Monkey Island Coffee—500 Shipyard Way, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

And we all know Becky is ordering five blended iced caramel lattes with whipped cream and extra caramel drizzle. Me? I’m a triple macchiato kind of guy, lots of espresso and a little bit of foamed milk. That, or just give me a straight-up quad espresso to get me through the insanity of it all. I like to keep it basic.

What about coffee shop vibes? Are you a drive-through/carryout kind of person? Or do you like to sit inside and savor each moment of your drink while it’s served in a ceramic mug? Which do you prefer, mainstream coffee chains or locally-owned shops?

Monkey Island Coffee—422 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Without a doubt, I'm all about the small, local joints. Even when I'm traveling, one of my favorite parts of the trip is seeking out little indie coffee shops. I've been to hundreds all over the country, and I heart them all.

Union Town Provisions—422 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Speaking of local coffee shops… have you ever been on an awkward "coffee date" with a complete stranger? Guys, gals... don't ever make the rookie mistake and invite them to your usual hangout spot. Because if they turn out to be a complete psychopath, you can never, ever return to that place again.

Don't find yourself texting your friends to get that emergency bail-out call. "Ummm, Bridgette… I'm so sorry, that was my sister, she had an emergency. Turns out she got locked out of her house while battling an army of rogue ninjas that showed up to steal her power crystals, and now they're holding her cat, Artemus, hostage. I've gotta leave right now and help her, I'm so sorry, let's not do this again. K byeeee." On the flip-side, I think it's cute seeing first dates happening. But guys, put your phones away and talk to her! People aren't texting while on coffee dates in the Hallmark movies, so take a hint from these important resources that are available to you!

Broadway Mary's—939 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

On a more serious note, which spot in Lorain is your go-to coffee shop? And which places do you still need to try? Currently, we have four unique shops that serve espresso!

Broadway Mary's

Broadway Mary's—939 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

At Broadway Mary's, you'll be greeted with comfy 1970's vibes and a coffee menu that has all sorts of specialty drinks like the Snowy Owl, named after the owl that hangs out at the lake nearby. Broadway Mary's brews up beans roasted locally from Cleveland's Rising Star Coffee Roasters.

Broadway Mary's—939 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Monkey Island Coffee

Monkey Island Coffee—500 Shipyard Way, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

The newest place in town is Monkey Island Coffee, located at The Shipyards. This cozy little spot brews up freshly roasted beans from Red Cedar Coffee in Berea and has a funky vibe, quick service, and a really unique setting. Grab your drink to go and walk down to the river overlook for the best views of the Bascule Bridge.

Monkey Island Coffee—500 Shipyard Way, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Fresco Bistro

Fresco Bistro—641 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Right next door to my studio, you'll find Fresco Bistro. Sit inside and get a super tasty latte brewed from Colombian beans and watch how pretty the layers separate in the glass coffee mug. Later in the evening, check out their sister business, Brass & Bronze, and be sure to order an affogato off the dessert menu! If you've never had one, you need this!

Union Town Provisions

Union Town Provisions—422 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Union Town Provisions will brew you an extra frothy cappuccino for those who love their coffee a little more European in style. Their espresso and coffee beans are sourced from Lorain's own Earth & Oak, located just two blocks away. Have them add a shot of whiskey and make it an Irish Coffee!

Broadway Mary's—939 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer

Having this many coffee shops around town is a blessing for the city. Coffee shops are beacons for social and business meetings, places where ideas are hatched, and the best hangouts for artists and creatives. They're also a place for friends to meet for the first time.

I actually met 90 percent of my Lorain friends at Brew & Stew when it was across the street from the studio. Coffee shops are more than just a place for hot drinks and scones—If you know, you know! And if you're lucky, a coffee shop can be a place for an unexpected meet-cute with a total stranger, and maybe you'll get to have a movie moment in your life!

Let us collectively rejoice that our downtown is not devoid of espresso and freshly brewed coffee, that our tummies are warm with caffeine, and our minds are full of interesting conversations. Let us thank these places for investing in our city and bringing us hot, delicious bean water!

And remember always to support your local businesses—It's good for your soul!

Broadway Mary's—939 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio, USA
photo by Jason Shaffer