Phoenix was just about the only specialty coffee game in town when I moved to Cleveland in 2011. A friend told me about some "Rising Star" coffee they served at The Root in Lakewood. After being burned buying burned beans (shiny, totally black) when I knew nothing about coffee, I tried Phoenix and Rising Star and was amazed at the range of flavors.
While Rising Star was opening in Ohio City, I'd bang on the door until they let me in and put up with my questions about coffee, even helping me learn to roast my own in a thrift-store popcorn popper. By then you might say I was obsessed with coffee, scouring social media for any mention of new coffee shops and roasters. Before Pour opened, I called the number on their facebook page several times, and a confused Charlie told me they weren't open yet.
It took me years to really understand the difference between coffees from different parts of the world, processing methods, roasting profiles, and brewing methods. After hundreds of cups, I know my favorite coffees are naturally processed African coffees roasted lightly and brewed by pour-over. I wished there was an easier way to learn what your favorite coffees are without having to drink an insane amount of coffee.
This desire and my enjoyment of our coffee scene led me to start Cleveland Coffee Tours.