Monday, June 30, 2014

@ Mocha Joe's in Stow

Hold The Coffee this week is featuring a coffee shop that I am quite embarrassed to say I never knew existed despite living 10 minutes away from it for nearly five years when I was a Kent State University student. (For the record, I CAN read, CAN write.)

In fact, I drove by Mocha Joe's Coffee House more than a dozen times as a college student and didn't notice. Nowadays, my nose perks whenever I am in a block's length of a neighborhood coffee shop, but back then in college I was a different man. I cared far more about reading comic books on clearance and following the latest video game industry news than scouting coffee shops in every Ohio city and village.

Luckily, I have friends like Nicole Stempak, a journalism school graduate who is finishing up her Master Degree in Library and Information Sciences this summer at Kent State. Nowadays, she's one of a very short list of friends who keep me connected to my alma mater. Having lived in Kent far longer than I, Nicole also knows of more coffee shops in the area--including Mocha Joe's.

There's plenty of metal tea pots here to share!
On Saturday, June 14, Nicole exposed me to Mocha Joe's for our irregularly scheduled chit-chat-after-church-minus-the-church.

Location: I take no joy in saying this, but if you've never been to Stow, you're not missing all that much. It's a Summit County suburb between Kent and Akron that resembles any typical suburb in Northeast Ohio. Does it have an Applebees? Check. Does it have a Target? Check. Does it have state routes filled with shopping centers for businesses? Absolute check.

In fact, Mocha Joe's sits inside a shopping center at 3707 Darrow Road near Graham Road.

While parking, Nicole and I debated whether Mocha Joe's is considered to have what I consider America's greatest pitfall and attack on pedestrian-friendly streets, the frontal parking lot. I argued that Mocha Joe's parking lot might not be considered frontal because there's no parking between the state route and the building--A similar situation for the Erie Island Coffee Shop in Rocky River. But Nicole countered my argument by pointing out the shop's entrance faces the parking lot--therefore the building is really facing the parking lot.

Sure the sandwiches looked great, but the colorful mugs
are what stole the show!
In the end of the day, it doesn't matter all that much whether it's a frontal parking lot or side parking lot. Every community needs a neighborhood coffee shop, and if a community subscribes to a car-worshiping lifestyle, it doesn't make it less deserving of a nearby neighborhood coffee shop.

Food and Beverage: Mocha Joe's offers more than just Joe. Breakfast and lunch are offered also. With a mostly empty stomach, Nicole and I ordered lunch. She got a Vanilla Custard Macchiato and a turkey panini for $11 and change and I bought a large mug of S'mores flavored coffee and a cowboy panini for $9 and change. Nicole asked me why I don't order more signature coffee beverages when doing this blog post. I told her I have a tight budget, but truth be told, part of the reason is because I don't often know what I am ordering beyond anything more than an iced coffee, and whenever I try to experiment, I somehow end up ordering nothing more than steamed milk and two shots of espresso. (Upon editing this post, my boyfriend Matt exclaimed 'What's the problem with steamed milk and two shots of espresso?')

Dear coffee shops around the world, please provide 
chess boards. Thank you.
Space and Atmosphere: Despite all of the jabs against Stow and Stowians, Mocha Joe's has a trendy and vibrant interior with its exposed ventilation, big windows, and a neat fireplace near its seating area. With plenty of open space and seating, a large gathering of friends can enjoy themselves without imposing their loudness on other. The shop also has a remarkable collection of vintage metal tea pots and kettles along its walls. They sparked some nostalgia in me. So much so, I wondered where the brainless scarecrow and cowardly lion were hiding.

Again, if you have suggestions of a coffee shop for a future entry, send it to me via on Twitter at @SimonSaysNH.

1 comment:

  1. Proper steaming and aeration while steaming and frothing milk results in a silky and frothy steamed milk as well as a smooth, high quality foam.