Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Coffee Shop Hits Eastlake

If you’re a coffee connoisseur like myself, then you probably enjoy the little coffee shops more than the Starbucks and Arabicas of corporate America.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get coffee at both of those places – though I do prefer Arabica over Starbucks – but when it comes down to the coffee drinking “experience,” nothing seems to beat mom and pop places.

They not only often have signature drinks and creative concoctions you won’t find at the chain stores, but the atmosphere can be just as magnetic to the customer as the product itself.

My recent business story,, on the opening of Blue Planet Coffee Co. in Eastlake, brought that feeling right back to the forefront of my mind.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a family-owned coffee shop. The last one I went inside was Enchanted Grove in downtown Willoughby (they have an excellent chai tea selection there, in my opinion).

What struck me about Blue Planet was not only the welcoming feel of the warm colored walls and artwork, but the owners, Gary and Alison Petric, and their crew’s enthusiasm for the job.

Gary, who was a pallet manufacturer for 28 years, decided to completely switch gears, open this shop and truly, it’s inspiring.

Not many people actually make that choice, take that leap and live a longtime dream like he has. I haven’t tried their food yet, but their fresh panini sandwiches and their ice cream selection definitely looks worthy of a sampling ... or two.

I did, however, try their Masala chai tea and it was very rich with flavor and went down smoothly.

In addition, they are featuring the pour-over coffee method, which basically makes individualized cups of coffee almost instantaneously after the beans have been grounded.

It’s a pretty entertaining process to watch and our photographer, Michael Blair, approved his sampling of the coffee.

Personally, I look forward to revisiting them and trying some myself. And this time not as a reporter, but as a customer.

If you're interested in doing the same, they're located at 35400 Vine St. in the shopping strip next to Classic Park.

-- Cassandra Shofar


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