Roasted rumors 

Photo: Mark Hancock

It’s not OK how scared I was of Coffee Slingers.

Laugh all you want, but many have heard the stories about how mean they are, how snobby, how expensive the coffee is, how cool the customers are, and on and on. And for the decidedly uncool among us (that’s me), it gets in your head.

The fact is, Coffee Slingers Roasters, 1015 N. Broadway Ave., is a very modern-looking coffee shop. It’s a little sparse. There’s nowhere to hide. Not that you need to hide, really; but if someone comes in looking for you for a game of Where’s Waldo? it’s over pretty quickly.

But the baristas behind the counter are nice, smiling, willing to help. And all the cool people sitting at their cool tables are all involved with their own stuff. Nobody cares. You’re just getting coffee, man.

Which is a pretty good reason to go into Coffee Slingers, come to think of it. Because it is sourcing and roasting its own coffee. Those (still very nice) baristas know how to prepare said coffee. And then whatever you want to put in that coffee — cream, sugar, your own fingers because nobody taught you manners — the baristas don’t really care.

I was absolutely blown away by its Americano ($2.75), which is just a shot of espresso with hot water on top of it. This Americano was smooth and flavorful and needed no cream or sugar to be palatable.

If you, like me, are a bit frou-frou, Slingers makes an excellent latte ($4.50). The steamed milk adds plenty of sweetness without it becoming a dessert.

If you want a dessert, there’s the mocha ($4.75), and let me just go ahead and tell you that if you’re looking for Hershey’s syrup poured straight into your Folgers, look elsewhere. But this is dark and just the tiniest bit grainy, like they made it with real dark chocolate.

There’s sweetness there, but it’s subtle. And it’s addictive.

The French press ($3.50) isn’t quite as smooth as its espresso drinks, but it’s still a damn fine cup of coffee. Strong. Rich. I had the Guayaba, a Guatemalan coffee, and the Malacra, which seemed a bit greener. I added cream and sugar, and no one gasped or fainted dead away.

If there was one thing I didn’t care for, it was the huckleberry espresso ($2.75). As much as I loved the Americano, the shot of espresso was too much for my delicate sensibilities. Take that with a dark-roasted grain of salt, though — I’m not a big espresso drinker anyway. I just figured I ought to try it. So I did. Not my thing.

And that would worry me more if I wasn’t so taken with everything else on the menu. But as it is, I’m staring at the clock and trying to figure out how long it would take me to get there for another Americano. I might still be a little scared to walk in there, but now that I’m hooked, I don’t have any choice but to face my fears.

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