For someone who runs two coffee-related businesses, Charlie Eisenstat once had no taste for the drink.
Eisenstat found refuge in coffee shops while studying in law school, falling in love with the coffee shop atmosphere more than the drink itself. However, after he tried a pour-over at a more serious specialty shop, he was hooked.
“That cup totally changed my perspective of what coffee could be,” he says.
Eisenstat has been a lover of coffee ever since, leading him to open Pour Cleveland in 2013, a multi-roaster pour-over and espresso bar downtown, which closed its storefront due to the pandemic but still operates online.
That next year, lawyer Anthony Lazzaro contacted Eisenstat for help purchasing a new espresso machine. The two bonded over their shared appreciation for good coffee and decided to make the kind of coffee they loved right here in Cleveland by starting a roastery, Pour Coffee Co. They started producing roasts in 2019, selling them to wholesale and retail customers.
Eisenstat and Lazzaro purchase high-quality, unroasted coffee beans and do a Nordic-style roast, which results in lighter and brighter coffees. This differs from the process that many American roasters use, in which you’re tasting the roast rather than the coffee itself. With a scientific-based approach, Pour Coffee instead emphasizes the inherent flavor of each bean.
“We take one-kind-of beans and we find the best possible way to roast it so that we can bring out its natural-occurring flavors, whether it’s cherry or apricot or chocolate,” says Lazzaro. “It's more like drinking wine than drinking a lot of American coffee.”
Eisenstat and Lazarro bring in a range of flavors to satisfy different customer preferences and also rotate their offerings depending on what’s in season. Most recently, they source their unroasted beans from Nordic Approach, a Norway-based company that works with farmers and mills everywhere from Brazil to Uganda. The origins of each coffee can also be found on Pour Coffee Co.’s packaging.
“We're always rotating to try to bring a new thing, new interesting flavors for people,” Lazzaro says.
Eisenstat and Lazzaro recommend the Tanzania Kilimanjaro PB ($17 for 8.8 ounces), which is bright but has a sweetness like red grape juice.
“It really smells like brown sugar, like a pie crust right out of the oven,” says Eisenstat.
Their current lineup also includes the Peru Estrella Divina #2 (Organic) ($16 for 8.8 ounces), which is an approachable drink with a light, caramel-like and apricot-like sweetness, and Colombia Los Idolos ($19 for 8.8 ounces), which has an oolong tea flavor and a Bing cherry juiciness and sweetness. Eisenstat and Lazzaro also recommend the Colombia Decaf Valle Del Cauca ($14 for 8.8 ounce), as it’s made without the harsh chemicals that are often used to decaffeinate beans.
Pour Coffee Co.’s in-store offerings are available for purchase on its website, where you can buy subscriptions and bundles if you want to try multiple flavors. Their roasts can be brewed with any method and enjoyed however you like your coffee. You can also find their roasts at Luna Bakery & Cafe in Cleveland Heights and Moreland Hills, at Goodkind Coffee in Lakewood occasionally and other locations around the country.
“We're roasting coffee differently than other roasters in town and in the U.S., and we are really focused on bringing out natural, inherent flavors in the coffee that range across the board,” Lazzaro says. “It's a coffee that you don't need to add creamers and sugars to enjoy.”
When You Go: 807 Literary Road, Cleveland, 216-284-2739, pour.com