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Fall in Love with Autumn at These Michigan Coffeehouses

Fall time in Michigan is magic. Pretty sure you can look it up in the dictionary and there it would be, MAGIC: autumnal Michigan. Ahhh 😄 … Synonymous.

Or, maybe I’ve built this all up in my mind a bit? No, I’m certain it will be as magical as I remember. This is my first Michigan fall in 10 years. My family and I moved back to Michigan in April and I have SO looked forward to this time of year!

As I sip a hot seasonal beverage with a chill in the air and feel the warmth travel down into my middle, I feel the urge to belt out the ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion.

Celine Dion View Gif - Find &Amp; Share On Giphy
Celine Dion, killin’ it.

You may not understand, but I have been ordering iced pumpkin lattes in the HOT Central Valley (CA) for way too long. It’s just not the same and borderline wrong.

To celebrate my harvest time homecoming, support Michigan businesses, promote caffeine intake, and finally, increase back-to-school-fall-fuzzy feels for all! I present my samplings and comparisons of mitten-based coffee shop seasonal menus.

Some coffee shops provided descriptions of their seasonal menu items, others did not. Any product details that were available have been shared below. Also, the list is not in order of preference; all the beverages were tantalizing!

1. Walnut & Park – Most Likely to Change the World

I ordered a Pumpkin Coconut Latte and it was impactful.

Street View Of Walnut &Amp; Park Café - Michigan Coffeehouses
Street view of Walnut & Park Café.

Seasonal menu items:
• Salted Caramel Apple Cider – Fresh cider steamed with Jo Snow Salted Caramel Syrup topped with whipped cream and cinnamon
• Lumberjack Latte – Like a pancake on a crisp fall morning, this smokey maple latte is sure to warm up your tastebuds
• Pumpkin Coconut Latte – Not your typical PSL, this unique version of a classic fall favorite has a tropical twist
• Caramel Apple Frappe – Cider and caramel blended into a creamy, coffee-free treat topped with whipped cream and cinnamon
• Chaider – Fresh cider and spicy chai steamed to perfection, a sweet and spicy treat
• Cafe Miel Honey and Cinnamon Latte (this is available all year round, technically not a seasonal item, but the barista highly recommended this for fall!)  

• Walnut St. Kalamazoo
• Harrison Circle on E. Ransom St. Kalamazoo (temporarily closed due to staffing)
• Walnut & Park Diner, Portage St. Kalamazoo (opening soon)

The Kind Of Latte You Can’t Spill… More On That Later.
The kind of latte you can’t spill… more on that later.

You read that right, impactful. When you go to Walnut & Park you’ll get a great cup of coffee, but you should know that it’s also going to help someone. Not just anyone, most likely it will help the person right in front of you.

I had no idea when I placed my order, but most Walnut & Park employees are residents of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP). KPEP is a community corrections provider based in Kalamazoo. The people who prepare the food and drinks are students or graduates of the KPEP culinary arts program; a 10-week training program that equips previously incarcerated individuals with skills they need to help them have a better future.

Visit Walnut & Park and feel good, genuinely GOOD, about treating yourself this fall.

2. Water Street Coffee Joint – Most Likely to be Valedictorian

I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte and proceeded to feel studious.
Sneak Peeks Of Water Street Coffee Joint, Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo Location.
Sneak peeks of Water Street Coffee Joint, Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo location.

Seasonal menu items:
• Hot Apple Cider
• Chaider 
• Nutmeg Dirty Chai – A shot of espresso topped with your choice of house-made spicy or sweet chai concentrate steamed together with our new nutmeg syrup
• Pumpkin Spice Ice Queen – Blended frappé drink with espresso
• Pumpkin Spice Latte – House-made Pumpkin Spice Syrup with espresso shot(s) topped with textured milk and a dollop of textured milk froth

• E. Water St. Kalamazoo
• Oakland Dr. Kalamazoo (I went here!)
• Gull Rd. (Ascension Borgess Hospital) Kalamazoo
• W. Centre Ave. Portage
• S. Sprinkle Rd. Kalamazoo
• Harrison St. Kalamazoo

Back-to-school time is in full swing, combine that with the ambiance at Water Street Coffee Joint and suddenly I want to enroll at WMU and study. That’s saying a lot because I don’t enjoy exams. May I ask who does?

Perhaps I’ll just pose as a student because I’d really like to nestle in there with a hot beverage and learn something new without the testing part. Hey, you can call me an undergrad if it means I get to spend more time at Water Street Coffee!

Read a bit more about Water Street Coffee and two other happening study, I mean, coffee spots, not on my list in “3 Must Try Coffee Drinks in Downtown Kalamazoo.”

3. Creation Coffee – Most Likely to be the Next Bill Gates

I ordered the Brown Sugar Roasted Hazelnut Latte and felt like a million bucks.
Creation Coffee Signage.
Creation Coffee signage.

Seasonal menu items:
• Brown Sugar Roasted Hazelnut Latte
• Maple Miel
• Pumpkin Spice Latte 
• Pumpkin Spice Chai
• Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

• Eastman Ave. Midland
• E. Pickard St. Mount Pleasant (I went here!)
• Tittabawassee Rd. Saginaw

A Look Inside Creation Coffee On E. Pickard St. In Mt. Pleasant.
A look inside Creation Coffee on E. Pickard St. in Mt. Pleasant.

Pull up to Creation Coffee in Mount Pleasant and one can tell straightaway the building was once a bank; the drive-up teller window is now a drive-through. Don’t let that deter you from going in and staying a while. Their fall menu will have you snuggled up in no time at all. I ordered a great sandwich with my latte and the combo was money.

Do people still say that as a way to describe nonmonetary things they deem worthy? See, this is just another reason to go back to college and hangout at coffeehouses. I need to brush up on my colloquialisms.

4. Fourth Coast Café and Bakery – Most Likely to Become a Superhero

I ordered the Maple Spice Latte and it was as if I was a damsel in distress being saved by a spicy waffle champion.
Barista (Aka My Hero) At Fourth Coast Café And Bakery.
Barista (aka my hero) at Fourth Coast Café and Bakery.

Seasonal menu items:
• Pumpkin Pie Cold Brew
• Vanilla Honey Latte
• Maple Spice Latte
• Pumpkin Spice Latte

The one and only! Located on S. Westnedge Ave. in the Vine Neighborhood of Kalamazoo with a bakery in the back and a restaurant upstairs.

I realize that’s a lot to wrap your head around. Let me explain. My almost 4-year-old and I experienced a near disaster at Fourth Coast when my kid dropped his oversized chocolate muffin on the floor. Thankfully, we were swiftly saved by a Maple Spice Latte-wielding barista. She was so attentive to our needs, wants, and whims; she had a replacement muffin before my child could even react. My hero!

Fourth Coast Specials Menu And My Muffin Monster.
Fourth Coast Specials menu and my muffin monster.

Unfortunately, as we packed our things to leave, my boy knocked over the last precious sips of my latte, too. How do these establishments let us come in? Seriously, how?

Art On Display (And For Sale) At Fourth Coast.
Art on display (and for sale) at Fourth Coast.

I’m thankful they allow us in because Fourth Coast is vintage eccentric, features moody art, and has yummy drinks I’d hate to miss out on.

5. Five Lakes Coffee – Most Likely to Win a Grammy AND Humanitarian Award

I ordered the *off-menu* White Chocolate Pumpkin Chai and it made me feel like a benevolent superstar.
Five Lakes Coffee Signage.
Five Lakes Coffee signage.

Seasonal menu items:
• Pumpkin Pie Latte
• Twisted Pumpkin Maple
• Pumpkin Chai
• White Chocolate Pumpkin
• White Chocolate Pumpkin Chai (this is not on the menu, a barista recommended the merger and it was GOOD)

• W. Main St. Kalamazoo (I went here!)
• W. Chicago Rd. Sturgis
• W. South St. Sturgis
• Ft. Wayne, IN
• Angola, IN
• Auburn, IN
• Kendallville, IN
• Shipshewana, IN

Five Lakes Coffee Bags And Swag For Purchase.
Five Lakes coffee bags and swag for purchase.

In 2002, Five Lakes Coffee started in Sturgis, MI. Even after expanding outside of their hometown, the brother-owners still do all their roasting in small batches and even now, in Sturgis. Gotta love the constancy.

Moreover, being a small-batch roaster allows them to be selective with the beans they process. This is essential to a Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade certified company with philanthropic tendencies. For instance, Five Lakes is community-focused and donates $1 of every purchased bag of Chris’ Blend to Forgotten Children’s Ministries of Honduras.

For the love of Michigan, tropical forests, reciprocal trade, social unity, and for goodness’ sake, CHILDREN! Visit Five Lakes Coffee soon 😉

Honorable Mention: Factory Coffee – Cutest Couple

Factory Coffee's Motto, &Quot;Everyone Deserves Good Coffee.&Quot;
Factory Coffee’s motto, “Everyone deserves good coffee.”

Factory Coffee has two locations with polar opposite feels, one modern and sleek the other a well-worn-chic workshop. Hey, they say opposites attract!

I wanted to feature this place but the seasonal menu consisted of just two items. SO, mention and praise it is! Thanks Factory Coffee for a good brew!

Taste the Fall Michigan Magic

I hope this scrumptious listing has inspired you to continue your education. Just teasing! Get out there this fall and visit one of the above coffee spots.

Seasonal drink in hand or not – simply being in the hand/mitten/America’s high five/Michigan this season is sufficient to feel the magic autumn brings.