Seven Of The Best Coffee Shops in Michigan

Seven Of The Best Coffee Shops in Michigan

People frequent coffee shops for all sorts of reasons. Some show up to read, and some are there to sip a cup of coffee and soak up the atmosphere. You will find me in one – as you will find many of my fellow students – hunched over a table with a bottomless cup of Joe, cranking out a paper that is due in the morning. Coffee shops are also great places to meet your friends for a hot drink on a cold evening, and for board games, conversation, or whatever suits your fancy. Here is our list of seven of Michigan’s best.

The Awesome Mitten-7 Best Coffee Shops
Photo courtesy of Brian Murray

1. Biggby

Many locations throughout the Midwest.

I know what you’re thinking. A chain? Really? Fear not – Biggby isn’t just any old chain, it’s Michigan’s very own chain. The first store opened in East Lansing in 1995 and since then, Biggby outlets have spread throughout Michigan and into Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Florida, and Texas. Biggby roasts and blends their own coffees, including specialty brews like Michigan Cherry. You can’t beat the price, either: a 20-ounce cup of coffee, or “grande” in Biggby cup sizes, will only set you back about two dollars.

2. Brew

108 E. Front Street
Traverse City
Hours: 7:00am – 1:00am, Wednesday through Saturday; 7:00am – 12:00am Sunday through Tuesday

When I heard that Brew was a coffee shop that also had a bar, I thought it was some kind of cruel joke, getting my hopes up before dashing them to the ground. Not so – this aptly named joint in Traverse City is my dream come true. I’m not alone: the readers of the Northern Express named it the best coffee hangout spot in Grand Traverse County. Every Sunday morning, Brew features a French toast and mimosa breakfast and, for the musically inclined, they have free acoustic music starting at 8:00 on Sunday evenings. You can check out their Facebook page to keep up with upcoming specials and events.

3. Java Jones

131 River Street
Elk Rapids
Hours: 7:00am – 2:00pm Monday, 7:00am – 5:00pm Tuesday through Friday, 8:00am – 8:00pm Saturday, 8:00am – 5:00pm Sunday

If you like specialty coffees, Java Jones is the place for you. They have a variety of mouth-watering specialties including Elk Rapids Cherry Mocha, and Caramel Apple Latte. They also serve gourmet sandwiches, and  make much of what they serve themselves, including salsa and salad dressing. There is a great atmosphere to the place: come in during the colder months and take a seat by the fireplace or, when the weather is warmer, move outside and enjoy the breeze off Grand Traverse Bay.

The Awesome Mitten-7 Best Coffee Shops
Photo courtesy of JP’s Coffee

4. JP’s Coffee and Espresso Bar

57 East 8th Street
Hours: 6:00am – 11:00pm Monday through Friday, 7:00am – 11:00pm Saturday, 1:00pm – 6:00pm Sunday

Downtown Holland is a great place to wander around, and nobody benefits from that foot traffic quite like JP’s. Their location has housed everything from a sporting goods store to a Radio Shack, but in 1993 Jack Groot dreamed of a coffee house there, and made it a reality. One of the coolest features at JP’s is their Home Barista Training Class, which is done in partnership with the Midwest Barista School. They teach you the basics of the business, from pulling espresso to crafting the perfect latte. Sounds a lot like school, but don’t let that scare you off!

5. Sweetwaters Café

123 West Washington Street, 407 North Fifth Avenue, and 3393 Plymouth Road,
Ann Arbor
Hours: vary by location

In addition to their list of great coffees, Sweetwaters offers an amazing selection of teas for all palates. It’s quite intimidating if, like me, your tea is either black or green, and anything more specific sounds like a foreign language, but be daring! Take a chance on the White Peony, or on their house blend, the Empress Flower. While you drink your coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy the open, modern design of all three locations. Their smooth lines and natural lighting make for a very relaxing experience.

6. Water Street Coffee Joint

315 E. Water Street, and 3037 Oakland Drive,
Hours: vary by location

The good folks at Water Street take their coffee very seriously. Their website will help you learn all you could hope to about the characteristics of coffee, its history, and the different beans that go into the mix. The only thing they seem to care more about than giving you a perfect cup of java is art. Each location features a different artist every month, and they’re always on the lookout for new talent from all walks of life – you can apply to have your own art featured in one of their stores. If you’re not feeling up to that, you can still come on in and enjoy whatever’s happening.

The Awesome Mitten-7 Best Coffee Shops
Photo courtesy of Brian Murray

7. The Bitter End

752 West Fulton,
Grand Rapids
Hours: 24/7

If you’re like me and don’t properly wake up until the sun goes down, the open-all-hours Bitter End might just be your home away from home. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time; the building is a century old, and they’ve held on to the original tin ceiling, oak woodwork, and leaded glass windows. They have an extensive selection of specialty drinks and, for Italian Soda fans, over fifty flavors of Torani syrup. The Bitter End uses Fair Trade coffee whenever possible. It’s a friendly place to get a cup of coffee and have a good time – they have a selection of card and board games you’re free to borrow and play whenever you’d like.

Brian Murray – Feature Writer

Did we leave your favorite off the list? Tell us about it in the comments! And stayed tuned for our next feature on even more of Michigan’s awesome coffee shops!

  • Joseph Symons

    The Lucky Bean Coffee House on Mackinac Island! I was just there last weekend, great pastries for really fair prices!

  • kristarodz

    Where is Detroit on this list? There are so many great coffee shops/roasters in the city of Detroit as well as neighboring cities. Huge miss.

    • awesomemitten

      Check tomorrow’s feature for several shout outs to Detroit coffee shops :)

      • kristarodz

        Phew! :)

  • shoebox

    Ck out Brew Ha Ha in Niles MI =)

  • CK

    No MadCap? No Rowster? I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    • dale


  • Gina

    How about Ugly Mug in Ypsi or Comet coffee in A2? Excellent coffee! I can’t believe Biggby is #1.

  • MED

    I agree, no Mad Cap? And although I live in Kalamazoo, I have to say Water Street makes some pretty lousy coffee. Not even in the same universe as Mad Cap. And Biggby? Really?

  • Chris

    This list is bullshit because Biggby is number one. Clearly, you have nooooo idea what good coffee is.

  • Chris

    Clearly, Biggby paid for this endorsement. Also, they do not roast their own coffee; Paramount Coffee in Lansing does!

  • ms


  • Shannon

    The Raven in Port Huron is by far the coolest coffee shop I’ve ever walked into. It’s like walking into the world of Harry Potter with bookshelves the line the walls! Amazing!

    • Jordan

      Port Huron, my hometown. Now Ann Arbor

  • Jennifer

    No mention of Higher Grounds in Traverse City, either. We’re the organic, fair trade roasters behind Brew’s coffee–so we at least should have been mentioned!

  • rawmustard

    I think just within the two months they’ve been in business, Black Owl Café (from the new Kalamazoo Coffee Company) has become Kalamazoo’s best coffee shop. They have an ambitious plan for expansion, and they easily have the potential to become one of the best in the state if not the Midwest region.

  • Satish

    Comet coffee and Lab (both in Ann Arbor) definitely belong here. The Drowsy Parrot (Saline) located in what used to be old Saline Library deserves a mention too. 10 is a small number so obviously smaller coffee shops will only attract as much attention as the community around it unlike a chain like Biggby.

  • Paul

    Brownstone, downtown Battle Creek.

  • Chad

    People, people. Like all lists of “Top ______” whatever; this list is subjective. No one person has been to every coffee shop, and people have different things that they enjoy/look for in a coffee shop. I love Rowster, and am not a huge MadCap fan, for example. Yet some people are die-hard MadCap fanatics. Take lists with a grain of salt: if something you like is featured, smile smugly to yourself that your tastes are shared by the author, if not roll your eyes a little and go get a mug of your favorite coffee and let it be. No need to attack a dude for his preferences.

  • Chris Machielse

    Where oh where is Astro Coffee in Detroit?

  • john stevenson

    No Drowsy Parrot?!

  • jaynell

    You obviously haven’t been to Guidos in Owosso, MI!

  • smeddy

    Kahuna Coffee in Hartland. Simply the best!

  • Steve

    Wow. What were the guidelines for choosing these? Missed a lot of great shops.

  • Ron Gibson

    You missed the newest best coffee shop yet in Michigan; The Daily Grind Coffee Cafe’ & Deli @ 209 North Broadway Street, Union City, Michigan 49094 follow us on Facebook @

  • mbr

    Commonwealth in Birmingham serves up the best coffee, lattes and food!

  • Therightage

    You are missing The Bakery behind the Towsend Hotel on Merrill in Birmingham. They feature Lavazza coffee and freshly made bakery goods from The Townsend Bakery. I did not want ot tell you cause I dont want it crowded! :)


    Who wrote this? Do they even drink coffee? Comet Coffee and Mighty Good in Ann Arbor should be on this list.

  • AG

    Wow. The criteria for this list obviously doesn’t take taste into account. I literally thought this was a joke….but it’s not.

  • Kell’s

    I always thought this place was really good.