Opened in spring 2010 by a couple of Oberlin College grads who decided to stick around, Slow Train Cafe was an instant success. After all, the idea of no decent coffee joint in a small college town is hard to wrap your mind around, especially when you haven't had your coffee yet.
The beans are roasted in nearby Cleveland, and the baristas are trained latte artists, swirling rosettas onto steaming espresso drinks. The pastries are all made by local vendors. Try the coffee cake, made from the same recipe that the co-owner's mother used back when he was a kid in Seattle, or the lavender vanilla scones.
The coffeehouse has a great stage set up for musicians (lots of jazz from the Oberlin Conservatory, as well as touring indie groups that come through), poetry readings, and a weekly trivia night.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, wine is only $3 a glass, and the bar has recently started making a series of signature cocktails — basil sours, cardamom vanilla gimlets — that change weekly. They infuse a number of their own flavored liquors.
Business is booming, and a second location is opening in November. Local Coffee & Tea is more of an Italian-style espresso bar, serving only two sizes of five espresso drinks, pour-overs, and French press coffees, along with a wide selection of loose-leaf teas in the space underneath the local bike shop about two blocks over.
If you happen to be in the Oberlin area, stop by for a cuppa. Ask for Josh — he pulls the best espresso.