To call me a coffee drinker would be an understatement.
I love coffee and drink it pretty much around the clock. And I like all kinds of coffee from traditional strong espresso to the sweet blended versions that more closely resemble milkshakes.
The Summit City has plenty of places that serve the eye-opening elixir, and here are some of what I consider to be the city’s best in a variety of forms:
Where: Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island, Don Hall’s restaurants and Casa are among several places serving it in the city
Address: 131 W. Main St.
Cost: $1.35 at Coney Island
What’s brewing: Sometimes you just need a regular cup of Joe and Cadillac Coffee is hard to beat. It has the right strong – but not too strong – flavor and isn’t at all bitter. It is the kind of coffee your dad and his dad loved, and a kind I still love, too. Coney Island has been serving it more than 50 years, and Hall’s chain has been serving it for a whopping 65 years. Cadillac Coffee was founded in Detroit in 1888, made its home in the Summit City 25 years ago and is still owned by the same family that started it.
Where: Queen of Sheba
Address: 2805 E. State Blvd.
What’s brewing: The Ethiopian coffee is not only brewed-to-order here, it is roasted-to-order. The beans are tossed by hand in a pan over an open flame and the intoxicating aroma fills the restaurant. It is served in a ceremonial fashion with frankincense burning next to the pot. Much like Turkish coffee, it is very strong, but not bitter, and it’s a wonderful end to an Ethiopian meal or just a great little treat on its own.
Type: Café Sua Da (Vietnamese iced coffee)
Address: 2006 Calhoun St.
What’s brewing: Coffee – the chickory-infused Café Du Monde brand from New Orleans in this case – is brewed by the cup in nifty little metal cup-topping brewers and mixed with sweetened condensed milk. Customers stir the coffee and condensed milk together, pour that over a large cup filled with ice and then voraciously stir it with a long spoon until it gets frothy (if you are new to the process, they will help you out). It is a must when having some spicy Vietnamese fare, but is also great any time.
Where: Caliente Cuban
Address: 1123 E. State Blvd.
What’s brewing: A special blend of beans from the Caracolillo Coffee Mill, which caters to the Latin market, is brewed into espresso and then mixed with steamed with milk (about three parts coffee to one milk). It creates a silky, frothy, but still potent drink. Served in tiny demitasse cups like espresso, it is wonderful.
Type: Counter Culture
Where: Trionfale Espresso
Address: 2910 E. Dupont Road
Cost: $2.85 and up
What’s brewing: Trionfale serves a variety of these organic, direct-trade coffees. Owner Sean Wang uses a single-cup brewer and takes great care to ensure the temperature of the water is optimal. He also does it slow, making sure the grounds bloom properly to ensure the richest flavor.
This is the kind of coffee that coffee snobs love. Trionfale also makes the best cappuccino in the area in case that is your cup of tea … or coffee in this case.