Sunday, April 24, 2016

Roebling Point Books & Cafe - Covington, KY

A Coffee Maven Review

The wedding of friends in Cincinnati was the occasion for our first visit to the city since I quit working there in 1990. Since I commuted (the only time in my life) from outside the city, I never really knew it very well. So we enjoyed a morning of wandering its many parkways and neighborhoods. When we found ourselves downtown near the famous Roebling Bridge, we decided to extend our jaunt into Kentucky.
Facing north on the Roebling Bridge, into Cincinnati. This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1866, and it figures prominently in the sense of place for the two cities it connects. It is the prequel to the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened three decades later. Note the condo development named "Current" in the middle-right of the photo.
Immediately upon entering Covington -- a city which I remembered mainly as the butt of impolite jokes -- we were pleased to find Roebling Point Books & Coffee. We took an acrophobic walk out near the midpoint of the bridge, 100 feet above the Ohio River.
We returned to find the best of both worlds in this coffeeshop/bookstore. Both the coffee and the books were selected and presented with care. We found a lot of our favorites among the books, and ended up buying two that were totally new to us -- an illustrated Moby Dick and a book about the geography of Christmas lights.
Pam rocking her anti-censorship t-shirt in one of several book rooms in this cafe. the book she is holding, of course, will be taken to our Whaling House near New Bedford Harbor.
We each enjoyed a cup of light-roast black coffee -- Pam had the River Rowing blend in honor of my rowing -- and because the barista said it was her favorite. I had the cafe's new Panama single-origin, in honor of a friend currently serving in the Peace Corps in a coffee-growing area of Panama. I was remiss in not asking for more details about the coffee sourcing, but have inquired online.

I was intrigued, though, by the point-of-sale equipment (aka, the register). As with almost every independent business we visited in the Cincinnati area, transactions were conducted using an iPad. What made this cafe a bit different is that the owner -- described by the barista as "crafty" -- had created a cash box from a recycled wooden door (the same material used in the main counter) and had fit the iPad into it in such a way that the barista could read it, and then flip it up for the customer to read when she opened the box.
I find many cafes in which the cup warmer on the espresso machine is used to store paper goods, either because the cafe has no real cups or because nobody has been thoroughly trained on the machine's features. This was the first cafe in which I saw that the warmer was not only being used for cups, but also to keep the honey supply warm!
The sense of place -- and pride of place -- in its location steps away from the Roebling Bridge is captured in the graphics used in the main coffee-serving area.

One way to explore both Cincinnati and Covington is by Red Bike -- a network of automated rental kiosks located throughout both cities -- including this stand directly in front of the bookstore/cafe.

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