Flint, Michigan is the New Coffee City

Flint, Michigan is the New Coffee City

Things are brewing in the city of Flint. While the city receives its share of bad press now and again, businesses here dedicate themselves to transforming this city into what “could be.” The Flint coffee scene exemplifies that vision.  These six businesses are changing Flint into a veritable “coffee city.” While each venue has amazing crafted coffee, they each have a unique week of giving back to the citizens of Flint and beyond.

The Good Beans Cafe

Flint Coffee The Good Beans Cafe

One cannot talk about coffee in the city of Flint without mentioning The Good Beans Cafe. With 17 years under their belt, they are the oldest coffee house on the scene. Looking for true Italian roasted espresso? Good Beans proudly serves Lavazza brand and nothing else. Owner Ken Van Wagoner hand crafts amazing signature drinks like their Cappuccino Creme Brulee. Topped with sugar and heated with a blow torch, it truly is a show stopper.

Aside from amazing coffee, the dedication to the local art scene continues to be a hallmark of this Flint coffee oasis. They feature locally produced art for sale, and their Anteroom performance space features musicians and more from across the country. They are also dedicated to being a safe space, and support the LGBTQ community. Their goal is to invite you into a place that is as comfortable as your own living room.

Cafe Rhema

flint coffee cafe rhema interior
Cafe Rhema in downtown Flint has a 1920’s theme. Photo courtesy of Margaret Clegg

When you enter Cafe Rhema, you are greeted with rich 1920’s decor. Even the staff dress in the style, complete with the gentlemen sporting a handlebar mustache. Even though the decor is historic, their coffee is forward thinking. This third wave craft coffee shop takes great care to know the coffee process from bean to pour. While you will find a fantastic espresso or cappuccino here, you’ll also find cold brew coffee and cold brew tea, all created in house. Try their hand crafted syrups, including their new Michigan bourbon infused coffee syrup! Don’t forget to check out the shows in their Agora Lounge. This Flint coffee hangout hosts everything from concerts to classes to weekly devotions.

Cafe Rhema’s mission is more than just a cup of good coffee. Their motto is “A place where conversation starts.” They want their business to be a place where relationships, business and personal, form and grow. Whether you’re there for a quick drink or a few hours to study & unwind, this is a place for everyone. Feel free to start a conversation with your barista as well. They all have a heart for meeting and caring for the people of the community they find themselves in.

Heyday Coffee Roasters

Flint Coffee Heyday Coffee Roasters
Heyday Coffee Roasters is open daily from 7am – 11 am. Photo courtesy of Margaret Clegg

While Heyday Coffee Roasters has only had a serving counter since the summer of 2017, Heyday has been roasting their Flint coffee blends for the past two years. Owner Robb Klaty first started roasting coffee for his business, the Flint Crepe Company. He wanted to source and serve the best ingredients to his customers. Eventually Klaty fell in love with a coffee farm in Costa Rica. His entire family traveled to the farm for 6 months learning everything there was to know about the process.

Heyday Coffee resides inside Tenacity Brewing, also owned by Klaty. They open the doors from 7 am – 11 am for those looking for a pour over or a cup of cold brew. The real draw for some are the Blue Line Donuts. These donuts are made by the men and women at the local homeless shelter. Through the partnership between Heyday and Carriage Town, men and women are learning baking and business skills that can help move them forward in life.

Wildroot Coffee

Flint Coffee Wildroo Coffee
Wildroot is now located within Woodside Church for the time being. Photo courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Wildroot Coffee is a very unique Flint coffee business. Currently, when you order a cup of coffee, they don’t charge you. Everything is on a donation basis. Why? Originally located in their own shop on Court Street, they later moved into the lobby of a historic church. Woodside Church, designed by famous architect Erro Saarinen, invited Wildroot Coffee into their building. Woodside agreed to not charge them rent if they agreed to never turn a customer away for inability to pay. The volunteer run business maintains their budget with donations from customers.

Although they don’t charge a set price, their coffee is still top notch. They constantly change their coffee menu, serving beans from some of the best roasters across the country. You can get an amazing pour over or iced coffee. Much like their coffee, the staff here goes with the flow. Right now they have to, as they learned last month the church was recently sold to the community college next door. While they figure out where they will end up, they will stay in the chapel as long as they can, pouring you a great cup of coffee.

Foster Coffee Company

Flint Coffee Foster Coffee Company
Foster Coffee opened in Flint on November 4th, 2017. Photo courtesy of Foster Coffee Company

Foster Coffee is the newest addition to the Flint coffee scene. This  is a second location for Foster Coffee, which originates in the quaint town of Owosso. Co-owner Nicholas Pidek, graduate of Flint’s renowned Kettering University, started Foster to create a sense of community in his home town. Now he and his co-owners are bringing their mission to “Foster community through coffee” to downtown Flint.

So what will you find at Foster Coffee in Flint? A great pour over, espresso and more. You’ll specifically find many fellow Michigan companies, like MadCap roasters and Moo-ville Farms dairy. At their Owosso location, you’ll find children’s story hours, game and trivia nights, photography mixers and coffee tasting events. Here’s hoping that we can enjoy all those community events and more at their new downtown Flint location in the historic Ferris building.

Fireside Coffee

Flint Coffee Fireside Coffee Company
Orange You Glad is the signature drink at Fireside Coffee Company Photo courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Fireside Coffee Company is located beyond the heart of downtown Flint* coffee scene, on the very edges of Flint Township. While they only opened their coffee shop a year ago, they have been in business since 1988. Fireside started as a small family business, selling mocha mixes at craft fairs and local stores. Now one can purchase their mixes, chai blends and roasted coffees around the world. This in turn has allowed them to buy and roast some of the best coffee beans from around the world. They are most proud of their partnership with a specific Honduran farm, where they know the growers personally and pay them above “Fair Trade” value for their coffee.
(*You can sometimes find their coffee in Downtown Flint at the Hot Cups stand, located inside the Flint Farmer’s Market.)

Their international success allows Fireside to proudly support the local community. They donate a portion of sales of their “Flint Strong” roast to local Flint charities. They partner with the local Eastern Michigan by serving free coffee during the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser. It was through this event that they connected with Guy Adamec, who hand crafts all of their coffee mugs. So come for their special “Orange You Glad” cold brew (made with almond syrup, chocolate bitters and orange peel) and go home with a specially crafted mug knowing you’ve invested in helping make the area a better place!

flint coffee foster vision statement
The vision of Foster Coffee exemplifies the view of many of Flint’s coffee roasters. Photo courtesy of Margaret Clegg

The impact of the Flint coffee scene is one of transformation. The improved brewing methods and roasting techniques are creating a better cup of coffee. However, the biggest impact is on the city itself. Bringing renewed interest in the city and a source of pride in what it has to offer. Thanks to the vision of these coffee entrepreneurs, Flint can begin to change its reputation from crisis to a whole new kind of “craft brewing.”

Which Flint coffee business is your favorite? Which business on the list are you most intrigued to try? Leave us a comment below!

  • Natalia LaFuente

    All very wonderful establishments but you forgot a very important coffee vendor right in the Farmers Market! Hot Cups is a amazing place and is ran solely by a great woman who puts her heart and soul into serving people quality organic coffee and teas! Big names/companies seem to get all the love! Save some love for the smaller businesses who work just as hard if not harder to claim a place in the ever expanding coffee world!

    • Margaret Clegg

      Dear Natalia,
      Thanks for you sharing about Hot Cups.

  • the good beans cafe

    Thanks Margaret for an incredible article!

  • R K

    Very excited to welcome Foster’s coffee to the community. Hopefully Foster’s coffee shop is able to do what Cafe Rhema hasn’t been able to do…provide good customer service with quality brews!

  • Patty Warner

    Lovely article on Flint coffee scene; well written and you captured the essence and vibe of each shop! Keep up the good work!