It’s important to consider what makes for a good cup of coffee, but more than that, it’s important to consider the coffee shops that make the best coffee. I believe it all starts with the coffee being fresh and made right when you order it. The coffee beans used should be recently roasted and grounded, scoring extra points for being roasted in-house. All coffees are similar once you add things like cream, sugar, and syrups. What is really important is how the coffee stands on its own, the aroma, its taste, and how it makes you feel as you sip.
Whether it be a true coffee or a specialty one like a latte, the care taken in making each one, its presentation, and the surroundings with which you drink it are just as important. With those things in mind, here are some Michigan coffee shops that are doing it right and offering a great cup of coffee:
Sitting alongside Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids is this hip coffee roaster. Park at the window and enjoy the neighborhood vibe as you sip a craft coffee made with their Milky Way beans. Many brewing methods are available, though the menu is limited. No creamer, milk, sugar or standard syrups here as they think coffee should be experienced in its natural state. They do, however, offer a sweet in-house made almond milk. Maybe you’ll catch them “rowsting.”
When locals in Ann Arbor think quality coffee, this coffee roaster is front and center. I recommend ordering a Long Pull using their signature Lobster Butter Love coffee beans. They roast at their original location on Rosewood Street, where you can find a quirky café with a throwback décor. The new shop downtown is more modern and is where you will often find me sitting outside at a table that is also a bike.
This is the place in Muskegon for a true craft coffee experience. This award-winning small shop in the Russel Block building uses a drip-style, pour over coffee brewing process. The time it takes to make/craft their offerings is well worth it. Get the iced pour over! Lattes and cappuccinos are also available. Get there early, as a line usually forms and seating is extremely limited to take in the shop’s cool vibe.
This quaint, redone cottage in the heart of Oscoda is the place to grab a cup of coffee along the Sunrise Coast. I’ve grabbed some of their freshly made hot brew and walked to nearby Lake Huron and wandered the beach with my cup in hand. I also recommend staying inside this charming, decorative shop and enjoy an in-house made cinnamon roll or other pastry with one of their signature specialty coffee drinks.
Latte lovers should head to Owosso’s historic downtown. You can be assured that you are going to get a great pour with the care and time they take with each one. I also recommend a pour over made with beans from Michigan’s own Madcap Coffee. I love the shop’s buildout, including the custom painted logo on the penny tiled floor. Their ultimate vision is to “foster community through coffee.”
Not everything is in the Mitten, for this shop, head across the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace and this colorful coffeehouse. I could go here early every day and enjoy a cup of joe reading the morning paper. Upon entering, you’ll be amongst all the décor, murals, knick-knacks, and a never ending breakfast menu. The shop is a tourist attraction in and of itself. Grab a shot of the renowned espresso (in the U.P.) or a latte made with any flavor you can imagine.
Opening this year, this indie shop is helping to introduce Flint to third wave coffee. They currently use local Populace Coffee beans among others, but roasting is in the plans. Guests order from the pour over, latte, and espresso coffee drink options. If you bring a group, there is space to do some work or just enjoy your coffee in cozy community space situated in the College Cultural neighborhood. They showcase their environmentally friendly side by using sustainable Sleeveless coffee sleeves.
When in Detroit, head off the beaten path in Corktown to the factory building that holds the coworking and co-making space, Ponyride. Here, you’ll find a delicious Detroit roaster where their countless coffee gadgets sit on an island in the middle of the room, helping to form the craft coffee magic. They serve you at your table and you can pour your own coffee out of a carafe and enjoy it straight (of course) amongst the minimalist and peaceful shop. Tip: Grab a four-pack of in-house bottled cold brew to go.
Part of the growing Lansing coffee scene, they started as a coffee roaster and recently opened asit-down café in artistic Old Town. While there, you should go the pour over way and pick from a rotating bean selection where you can watch your coffee bloom as they make it right in front of you. Enjoy your single-origin coffee on the wood counter top and you might see them roasting. I love the overall vibe and neighborhood feel.
Another roaster who recently opened up a café, this one performs their coffee magic in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. Whether grabbing a coffee to sit at the large wood community table, or buying a bag of beans to go, their Ethiopian variety coffee beans are the prime choice.
What are your favorite Michigan coffee shops? What makes them amazing? We love to try new places!