The next time you stop at Zeke’s Coffee (2300 Rhode Island Ave. NE) for a quick caffeine fix, don’t expect to meet anyone who goes by that name. “Zeke is a term my grandfather used to describe his family and those in his inner circle,” says John Kepner, who owns the just-opened roastery.
The name is fitting, considering the operation is a family affair: The original Zeke’s, in Baltimore, was founded in 2005 by Kepner’s uncle; the Pittsburgh outpost is run by his cousins. (We can only imagine the energy levels at their Thanksgiving dinners.)
The new space is definitely more roastery than cafe: Seating is sparse and ambiance is nonexistent. But over 20 varieties of 1-pound bags are available for home-brewing ($14-$40), and at least three flavors are available “on tap” at any given time ($1.75-$2.75). If what you crave didn’t make the cut, Kepner offers pour-overs of your preferred flavor ($3).
Beans are sourced from far-flung places (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Yemen) and roasted in a Sivetz fluid bed roaster. “It’s like a giant air popper,” Kepner says. “The beans never come in contact with a hot surface, so there’s no risk of burning them.”