All of my favorite moments from the past two years seem to revolve around one common denominator: coffee. Whether it be at the beginning a of road trip to Pennsylvania to see family, a surprise daytime date with Andrew, early morning farmers’ market trips, coffee is a constant smell and taste that runs through these events. Heck, even waking up early on school mornings to Andrew making me breakfast, coffee, and the smell of coffee has been a constant these past few years.
Now, I will admit I haven’t always been the coffee consumer I am today. During a trip to Italy in the spring of 2014, I fell in love with coffee in the various little cafes and coffee bars that seemed to be everywhere. I also credit the fact that as a teacher, I always seem to receive $300+ in Starbucks gift cards from students. Through the generosity of my students has allowed me to not only enjoy some decent coffee throughout the school year, but has also made me a Starbucks Gold Card member up through 2020. So it is safe to say that my coffee addiction is justified by not only by my trip to Italy, but also by the students who have seen me shotgun a double shot cappuccino without blinking an eye.
After returning from our trip to Italy, Andrew and I immediately set upon the quest to find the perfect coffee spot in Baltimore. After many hours spent meticulously researching and tasting numerous coffees from multiple shops, we came to the conclusion that there is only one perfectly Baltimore coffee spot. This place is possibly one of the best coffee places we have ever been, period. This place is so much invested in both coffee and Baltimore that many of its coffee flavor offerings are named in honor of the Charm City. We love this place so much we even named one of our kittens we adopted from BARCs after our favorite coffee place. That place is none other than Zeke’s Coffee.
Zeke’s Coffee and retail shop is located at 4607 Harford Rd in the Lauraville neighborhood of Baltimore. The coffee shop itself sits in an adorable little building that boasts Baltimore art on the walls along side other local businesses’ offerings. Multiple tables and chairs decorate the room that would make any study session or date feel cozy. As you make your way towards the register to order, you can’t help but notice the large silver shelving units that hold the most precious item Zeke’s sells: it’s whole bean coffee. Zeke’s is also known for having it’s roasting facility just a quarter mile down the road, which literally makes it a local coffee.
Now, when I say it’s literally a wall of coffee, trust me when I say it’s a wall of coffee. Zeke’s sells its whole bean coffee for customers to take home to brew and enjoy their coffee in the comfort of their homes. If you look close, many of Zeke’s blends are given Baltimore themed names such as Black and Orange blend, Bad Birds of Baltimore, 1812 Espresso, Tell Tale Dark, etc. Zeke’s also offers many blends without Baltimore names such as Hippie blend, which is a huge hit at both sets of parents’ house whenever we bring it to them. Most of Zeke’s packages also include a darkness indicator on the pack to allow the consumer to know how deep of a blend they are getting into. Zeke’s also grounds your coffee to the way you need for your coffee maker at home. Lastly, Zeke’s also sells apparel and my personal favorite, chocolate covered espresso beans. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that on more than one occasion my students have watched me devour a half bag of these chocolate covered beans of deliciousness. I am pretty sure my students think my blood stream is mainly composed of coffee at this point.
On this particular trip to Zeke’s, Andrew and I ordered our usual winter month drinks of choice: a regular coffee for him and a cappuccino for me. My favorite part about Zeke’s cappuccinos is that they get the mix of coffee/frothed milk just right. Many times I have had cappuccinos that are 99% milk with a hint of coffee. In my opinion Zeke’s gets their milk/coffee mix down perfectly. As for Andrew’s cup of coffee, well, he was an extremely happy camper. Andrew drinks Zeke’s 5-6 times a week and has begun to shun all other types of coffee. In short, he is a faithful believer of Zeke’s.
Now, one of my favorite Zeke’s offerings was not available during our visit. It was not available because they ran out of it, but because it was not in season. During the summers, Zeke’s offers a coffee float, which is possibly the best coffee related drink I have ever tasted. Made in their shop with homemade ice cream, Zeke’s serves up the perfect combination of ice cream and coffee. The best part of Zeke’s coffee float is that the customer is able to customize their drink by picking various ice cream flavors to accompany their cold coffee. I highly recommend using a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate. I love this concoction of ice cream and cold coffee so much that many times during the summers I drag Andrew to the shop to simply get my coffee float fix.
Now one of the only drawbacks to Zeke’s is that it is a drive to go out to the coffee shop. From our house, it takes about 10-15 minutes in the car to get to the shop. Luckily though, Zeke’s a mainstay at the Farmer’s market under 83 on Sundays and is offered in a variety of stores across the city if you need your Zeke’s fix. Zeke’s also has shops located in D.C. and Pittsburgh, so if you ever need your fix while you are in those two cities, you are in luck. Also, recently Zeke’s has partnered up with another Baltimore main stay, the Brewer’s Art, to create the Zeke’s Coffee Porter. So, even though traveling to the main retail
So, based on my Adam Jones’s pies to the face, I give Zeke’s a four out of five. It is definitely a place to go for your coffee fix, no matter how you like your coffee. The atmosphere and welcoming make Zeke’s feel like home and its dedication to being a Baltimore based roaster makes it a necessary stop for those true Baltimoreans at heart.
If you want a deeper look into the life as the self proclaimed Charm City Princess, follow me on Twitter @charm_city_kay and on Instagram @charm_city_princess.