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Location visited: Towson and Baltimore, MD
Subject: Spro Coffee
Subject: Spro Coffee
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
I never thought that I would pass by an alleged amazing coffee stop three times before I finally stopped at it. But sure enough, several trips brought me past Jay Caragay's Spro Coffee in Towson, Maryland with either circumstances that demanded I push on with no rest or with promises that we'll hit it on the way back (which we didn't).
Finally, on the way home from a great trip in Baltimore (great, except for my coffee fortunes that is) I got to stop into the Towson Library where Spro's initial flagship store resides (there's another one opening in Baltimore soon). Parking proved interesting but on a slow side street my steed came to a rest and my wife and I walked over.
The Towson Library is a gargantuan public biblioteca in a very oddly-shaped building. Spro itself sits on a bridge off to the left when you first enter the main portion. Spro's set up is definitely minimal and a little bland (but there's little that can be feasibly done in such a space). Spro is basically a long counter and a group of tables off to the side in a spot where one couldn't ask for a better visibility.
Spro Coffee definitely seems to have a nice rotating selection of various coffee roasters (just check out the list for their new Baltimore location under the 12/12/09 post on Jay's blog) but they seem to stick pretty close to Origins Organic Coffee. Despite the option of vacuum pot, I ordered a filtered cup of Java Kali Bendo from Origins, a smooth coffee that demonstrated milk chocolate, a bit of blood orange and a tinge of nougat; a good coffee to pair with a dessert as I really had a hankering for sweets while I ingested the brew. The espresso, pulled short and expertly, had flavors of sugar cane, a bit of a lemon, cocoa and a nice flavor of cloves. As for tea, they use Rishi.
While I could see the downsides of operating in a public venue such as a library, I can't help but think how much more reading I would do if there was such a splendid coffeehouse in my library. If you're in Towson, especially if you are looking for a great place to have some coffee while you read, make sure to bookmark Spro.
I made out to the Baltimore location and I must say I was further impressed. There were many options for coffee infusion (I believe there were 6) and the coffee and espresso were delightful. The cafe is also cozy and a nice addition to the Spro name.