Whether it's an honest cuppa joe, gulped from a sturdy white stoneware mug in a little offbeat diner, or a sleek, dark espresso, sipped from a porcelain demitasse in a pricey salon, coffee is the indispensable ending to meals around the world. And in Cleveland, we have a wide selection of international styles from which to choose. Here are some of our favorites:
French Press Coffee at Century
When Eric Steinbock, GM of the downtown Ritz-Carlton, talks about the medium-dark roast beans that go into Century's French press coffee, his voice sings. "We get the perfect blend of strength, with a round, mellow flavor." Of course, the perfect cup of coffee is a thoroughly subjective experience. "But that's what makes coffee drinking so much fun."
1515 West Third Street, Cleveland; 216-902-5255
Ethiopian Coffee at Empress Taytu
This coffee -- best enjoyed as part of a traditional coffee ceremony -- is intense but never acidic. Enjoyed from inside an aromatic cloud of roasting beans and incense, it's almost a religious experience.
6125 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland; 216-391-9400
Brazilian Coffee at Sergio's
The secret isn't in the beans (which are 100 percent Brazilian), but in the grind: Coarsely ground beans work best in the little glass presses and, along with a touch of sugar, ensure that the flavor is mellow but never too harsh.
1903 Ford Drive, Cleveland; 216-231-1234
Greek Coffee at Greek Isles
Little demitasses of robust coffee put the finishing touch on meals at the Greek Isles. Do as the Greeks do and try reading your fortune in the grounds at the bottom of the cup. Just don't be surprised if the message reads, "You won't sleep tonight!"
500 West St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland; 216-861-1919