TALLMADGE — Whether you sip tea or slurp coffee, you will find your drink of choice inside the Crimson Cup.
Or at the drive-up window.
Crimson Cup Coffee and Tea opened last month at 116 Tallmadge Circle. This marks the company's first retail store outside of Columbus.
Crimson Cup founder Greg Ubert owns three retail stores in Columbus, where he has been a coffee roaster since 1991. Ubert has one location in Clintonville and another in Upper Arlington, both minutes from the Ohio State University main campus, according to the website. A third store is located in the Columbus Conventions Center.
The idea of venturing outside of Columbus came after he received a call from developer Tony Faber, who would eventually become his landlord, said Ubert in a telephone conversation from Columbus. “He said, 'Would you like to come up to Tallmadge?' And I said, 'Tony, I've got to understand where Tallmadge is first.'” When Jaber told Ubert he wasn't far from Akron, Ubert agreed to drive to Tallmadge and look at the property.
“Tony said he wanted the best coffeehouse in Ohio from Ohio and a friend recommended Crimson Cup,” Ubert said. “So I met Tony up there and toured the circle and met some people. Part of what we do is look for communities where we would fit in and I believed we would fit in there.”
Ubert said Jaber then traveled and toured the Crimson Cup facilities and learned about how they do what they do. “He confirmed we were somebody he really wanted to have up there and I decided this would be a nice place to start in Northeast Ohio.”
“I just knew that location needed a coffee shop with cutting edge, world renowned coffee and the lead in innovation of coffee,” Jaber said by phone from his office in Akron's Merriman Valley. “I told him about the circle and how it's one of the busiest intersections in Ohio. I said, 'When you come up here and see the traffic, you'll understand what I'm talking about.'”
Jaber, who developed Bumpas Commons on the Circle, said he was prepared to put a drive-thru in, which he did, and he believed Crimson Cup was a good fit for the Tallmadge community. “That's why I chose them and aggressively went after them,” he said.
Rachel Friend, the coffeehouse manager for the Tallmadge Crimson Cup, is a graduate of John Carroll University where she received a degree in communications which, she said, has served her well in small business. While attending John Carroll, Friend student-managed an on-campus coffee shops which served Crimson Cup coffee.
Independently owned shops that sell Crimson Cup coffees and teas typically state on menus and cups, “We proudly serve Crimson Cup.”
After Friend graduated from John Carroll, she accepted a full-time position with the university managing all of its on-campus coffee shops that “proudly served” Crimson Cup, Starbuck's and Einstein Brothers products. She said she also completed student meal plans for the food service company Aramark.
One day while she was on the Crimson Cup website placing an order Friend read the company was planning to open a new location in Tallmadge. Thinking the name of that town sounded familiar, she looked it up and found it was only 13 miles away from her home in Bath. “Which is fantastic because it's a lot closer than John Carroll,” she said.
Successfully applying for a job at the new proposed location, Friend moved to Columbus for training.
“I really got immersed in the culture. I really learned a lot about coffee,” Friend said. “I didn't know half of what I know now. There's really a lot to it. There's a lot of science involved.”
Equipment near the counter almost looks more like a couple of science experiments than coffee makers. Friend said they are like hot water guns and they are used to make hand-poured coffee. Each machine has a computer that controls the temperature, amount and frequency water is released.
“Both put out about 400 grams of water,” she said. “I think they're set at about 210.1 degrees. When you make pour-over or hand-poured coffee, you first have to flume, or initially wet, the coffee so all the CO2 and the flavor come out. Then you add water in increments. So it's a very scientific, very specific way of brewing coffee.”
Pour-over coffee is nothing new, Friend said. People used to make pour-over coffee at home with a plastic funnel. “Now we have nice, ceramic funnels and other contraptions,” she said. Friend said she received training in making pour-over coffee in the Crimson Cup laboratory in Columbus.
But hand-poured coffee is not the only kind of drink you can order at Crimson Cup. There are many ways to have your coffee or tea. They have cold brew coffee, nitro coffee and signature drinks like the seasonal maple cinnamon latte made with Ohio maple syrup and fresh cinnamon.
Standard drinks include anything and everything available at other stores.
Feedback has been positive, Friend said, both in person and on social media. Her store already has a lot of regulars, she added, which is “the best feedback you can get.”
According to Friend, in addition to Ubert's four stores, there are more than 300 independent stores owned by small business owners that proudly serve Crimson Cup, including the Corner Cup in Stow. Crimson Cup offers a book and support to those interested in starting up their own coffee shop.
Crimson Coffee's house roast is a mysterious five-bean blend that no one but the roaster knows what goes into that blend, Friend said. Their coffees come from South America, Zambia, Guatamala, Ethiopia and Costa Rica. According to crimsoncup.com, their coffees are harvested thousands of miles away by small-plot coffee farmers, selected and then roasted in small batches in Columbus.
The Tallmadge Crimson Cup has six full-time employees and five part-time employees. Occupying 1,934 square feet, the business seats 42 people. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. To 7 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 234-678-0917.