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A Cup of Culture

Columbus seemed a little small to 26-year-old Brent Davidson after having traveled the world with the military. He missed the cultural opportunities bigger cities and other countries had to offer… and so began his quest to bring a little of the world to Columbus.

So Davidson, along with his mother Carol, decided to open Coffee House on 5th in downtown Columbus. After renovating the building, owned by Gregg Davidson, and doing extensive traveling to sample the best coffee’s and learn the art of roasting the beans from professionals, they opened their doors on March 16 of this year.

“This was a long journey,” said Davidson. “We started renovations in August of 2011. We had to gut the building, which used to be an insurance office. It took a lot of time.”

The building itself had roots as a coffeehouse, in 1913 it was the Bell Café, and is commemorated by utilizing the original floor tiles that welcomed patrons with its name.

“We decided that if we were going to do this, it was going to be the best coffeehouse in Columbus,” said Davidson. “We wanted to have the best coffee, atmosphere, everything. I took a lot of trips all over the Southeast to other coffeeshops, branched out and contacted roasters, most of them welcomed me and were happy to show me their process.”
Davidson wanted to learn from the experts. “Coffee Roasters actually import and make the different blends that you can buy. After learning everything I could, I got samples from all the high rated placed. We probably ran through 120 different samples of coffee.”

They settled on Primavero Coffee, which is produced in Birmingham, for their current main blend. However, Davidson is quick to say that they are constantly ordering new blends from places, trying to better the shop.

“We’re constantly looking for coffee that can beat what we have now. It’s a continual process to improving. We’re always on a road to getting better.”

Not to settle for just the best coffee they could find, Davidson also set out to give Columbus options for types of food and drinks they might never have tried.

The most popular of which thus far has been bubble tea, which according to Davidson, is a favorite of both customers and his three-year-old daughter Gracie.

“Bubble tea is green tea and half and half with tapioca pearls at the bottom,” said Davidson. While the tea is originally from Taiwan, it is very popular in Asian countries and is sometimes found in the Northern states. Another treat he offers is cold press coffee, which he described as “basically a coffee extract. You get a lot more flavors that way.” The cold press coffee takes 3-8 hours to siphon through a large glass countertop machine.

“I wanted to have stuff that Columbus hadn’t seen or experienced before,” he said. “I also just wanted to have good food. My family has always had an appreciation for really good quality food and that is what I wanted to serve.”

So the Davidson’s home make all of their baked goods, soups and sandwiches and their breads, meats and cheeses all come from the local Mennonite community.

“I grew up here outside the military base,” said Davidson. “This is an everybody-knows-everybody town and a lot of people here don’t travel. Columbus is a great traditional town, but it’s hard to find things here that are different. I’ve been to all but four state and to almost every continent. I knew that we could bring in all this exotic stuff and give Columbus the opportunity to come in and learn and try things they would otherwise have to travel to find.”

So Davidson plans to have coffee tastings on every other Thursday night to spread a little world culture around Columbus. He has already had a Vietnamese coffee tasting, which he says people enjoyed.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of long hours, and it’s a new business and new business is tough in Columbus, but we’re having fun with it and trying to expand and do new things at every opportunity we get,” he said. “It’s just wonderful.”

Coffee House on 5th is open Monday through Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays from 7:30 – 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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