Cleveland Local: Phoenix Coffee


Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

In the hidden corners of Cleveland, there is a rustic little coffee shop many will stop in to satisfy their daily caffeine needs. Phoenix Coffee Company presents its mascot as a representation for the company, explaining that the mythical phoenix would burst into flames and start a new life by arising from the ashes of its former self. As the years pass, the company demonstrates that it can do just that.

The business was started in 1990 by Carl Jones, who initially founded Arabica Coffee in 1976. The current director of Phoenix Coffee, Christopher Feran, says the symbolism of the phoenix represents the company in two ways. First, the company “rose from the ashes” of Arabica Coffee and second, the metamorphic change that happens to coffee when it goes into the roaster.

“Life and all its constituent parts are in a constant state of recycling and renewal,” says Feran. “Phoenix is no different. We periodically are reborn under new leadership or with a new mission.”

Phoenix is one of the premiere roasters of Cleveland. Its history, integrity and intentionality is put into each product, says Feran.

“We’ve been a specialty roaster in Cleveland for longer than our local competitors have been in business,” Feran adds. “We work with coffee producers who we know year-after-year, paying them a price higher than their costs of production and well above Fair Trade minimums.” The company’s relationship with their producers and the process of roasting the coffee downtown in the state-of-the-art, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Loring coffee roaster helps give the customers the best quality beverage.

Kenny Farona, manager of Phoenix Coffee on Lee Road, shares more ideals of the company. “Our approach is governed by what we can do well,” says Farona. “We don’t extend ourselves in this area where we’re trying to do too much. We know what we can do. We have a very balanced approach.”

Alongside the taste, they also modernized the interior design of the cafés, executed by the Cleveland design firm, Type Twenty Seven. The aesthetics of the coffee shop are minimalistic and give off calming vibes as you enjoy your beverage. “This latest refresh, in 2014, was designed to bring more light and a sense of airiness to the café,” says Feran.

Phoenix’s menu is a simple coffee menu, complemented by fresh pastries and other baked goods. Customers get an unparalleled cup of coffee each visit. As for the seasonal coffee for the fall time, Phoenix has the fall spice latte, which is the café’s take of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with brown sugar, honey and cinnamon.

Farona recommends the new Golden Chai Latte, which is made with golden milk, an Indian drink made from tumeric and other spices. “We did a play on that with a chai latte,” states Farona. “It’s a lovely fall drink.”

Phoenix’s success has been noteworthy, being that they are one of Cleveland’s premier roasters, with five cafés scattered around the city. Feran and Farona state that each café is unique to each neighborhood it serves.

“We’ve seen the neighborhood change in our 20 years on Lee Rd. and believe that our investment in the café helps to anchor the neighborhood in a way that has helped the street navigate the tumult and turbulence of the past decades,” says Feran. “Lee Rd. has grown quite a bit over the past few years,” adds Farona. “I’m really happy to be part of it. I feel more connected to the community.”

Phoenix’s updates and changes have made the café what it is today, while still reflecting on its colorful past. Its design is set to fit the artistic Cleveland architecture as well as bring each customer a perfect cup of coffee.