Roasting Columbus: Mission Coffee Co.

  • Photos by Jodi Miller
By
From the February 23, 2012 edition

Their coffee bar is as sexy as any in town.

Exposed ducts and concrete floors give the space an industrial, bohemian feel that’s accentuated by leather seating and roughhewn wooden tables. Granite counters race around an intimate bar and display sleek bean grinders and delicate glassware for single servings.

Coffee is a social drink, and the guys behind Mission Coffee Co. have crafted an ideal spot to relax and enjoy it. They plan to serve their first cup this weekend, co-owner Jonathan Starr said.

“Coffee in general is such a sensory experience,” he explained. “We wanted to be able to have a lot of room where people can get up in here and be able to see and smell and everything along the process.”

Starr developed a love of boutique coffee years earlier in Nashville and soon began roasting at home to cut costs on his growing caffeine habit. He gradually bought larger machines and honed his skills on bigger batches.

“When I was living in Nashville is really when I kind of realized that this was what I wanted to do,” said Starr, who moved to Columbus in 2008. “In Columbus, we’ve gotten to experience a lot of different coffee and just how everyone does it.”

Starr and Williamson operated a photography business before they realized that coffee had outgrown hobby status.

Like most java connoisseurs, he and Williamson are obsessed with quality and fascinated by traditional brew methods. Starr generally prefers a light, bright African bean, and Williamson’s favorite roast depends on the mood.

Mission will offer drip liquid for the to-go set, as well as cups prepared by the pour-over and siphon methods.

They currently roast in Cincinnati but plan to bring production on site within the year. Mission also will feature a range of roasts from across the country.

“We really want to bring those coffees that people might ordinarily not be able to experience here,” Starr said. “We’ll have the coffees that we roast, and then we’ll also feature higher-end roasters from across the United States.”