Coffee Houses

365. Germack – October 6, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018Germack1 (2)October2018Germack3 (2)Surrendering to the experience at play brought about my visit to Germack last Saturday.

If you read my last post regarding my visit to Wheelhouse Detroit, you’ll know that Saturday was my birthday and the day I took a guided bike tour to Eastern Market during rain showers. During a hiatus in the tour where our group was allowed to explore Eastern Market on our own, I found myself wandering in a downpour with two hours on my hands and no umbrella.

What to do? I felt crabbiness at the situation start to settle in – then shrugged it off. Nope, I wasn’t doing the bad-mood thing – not on my birthday. “Surrender to the adventure” became my mantra.

The practice was at play then. After fortifying myself with some pierogis from the People’s Pierogi Collective stand at Eastern Market (and discovering that its Corned Beef and Swiss pierogis are LIFE), I surrendered to the adventure by wandering towards Germack’s Russell Street-based café and shop.

As you may already be aware, Germack is a Detroit-based purveyor of nuts, coffee, chocolates, dried fruits, and other dry goods. (When I think Germack, the Tigers-branded bags of roasted and salted shelled peanuts sold at Comerica Park always come to mind. So simple and yet so addictive!) According to its website, it’s also an O.G. of nut-roasting, declaring itself the “oldest roaster of pistachio nuts in the United States” (who knew?).

Aware of the company’s rich local history, I was pleased at the opportunity to visit Germack. Desire for a hot beverage and to scoot my soaked and bedraggled-looking personage away from the crowds was also a motivating factor.

The building’s interior is allocated for the coffee house on the left and the shop on the right, with no dividing wall in between. I didn’t browse the shop, but I know it sells nuts and coffee and chocolates and spices and coffee-brewing equipment and probably a myriad of other things. In that visit, I was focused on ordering a coffee, settling down, and drying off.

I ordered a cappuccino and felt extremely fortunate to nab the last open table in the bustling café. My cappuccino was brought to me, and it was boldly flavored and piping-hot. Initially disappointed that I had no book with me, I remembered the reading app on my phone and opened a writing about – interestingly enough – being relaxed about life to encourage a positive outcome.

The book’s stance could be dismissed as woo-woo, sure. But as I sat there reading it, sipping my cappuccino and enjoying the urban-rustic coziness of the Germack shop, I realized that my mood had become relaxed, present, pleasant. And that – miraculously! – the rain had alchemized into blue skies and sunshine. Surrendering to the adventure felt pretty good right about then.

2517 Russell St.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.germack.com

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359. Detroit Vintage – September 9, 2018 – Detroit, MI

September2018DetroitVintage1 (4)September2018DetroitVintage3 (2)September2018DetroitVintage2 (2)Detroit Vintage is MAGICAL!

This most enchanting of coffee shops is in an unlikely location, sandwiched as it is between a weed dispensary and a liquor store on Eight Mile Road in Detroit.

But does pure, magical goodness depend on prime real estate from which to derive its powers? Heck no! If anything, the disparity between Detroit Vintage and the surrounding area enhances the ethereal otherworldliness beyond the coffee shop’s threshold.

This place is STUNNING, a cozy-beyond-cozy space decorated with knick-knacks and bunting and stacks of books and twinkle lights and chandeliers and cushy leather chairs and COLOR – so much bold, bright color. Another delight of a gem in the D!

As is often the case with otherworldly realms, entering Detroit Vintage can be complicated – at least for a first-time visitor unaware of the admittance process.

While I’d read online prior to visiting the coffee shop that patrons should access it via its back entrance, when I attempted to do so, I encountered a locked metal gate obscured by colorful decorations beyond the exterior door.

Is this right? I stepped back to re-assess the building.

In the meantime, two more would-be first-time visitors to Detroit Vintage appeared. Together we puzzled over the latched gate-door – until a woman inside heard and let us in.

It turned out that this door was the proper one through which to enter; to gain admittance, we were supposed to ring a bell attached to the gate-door, which we had missed.

Once inside, I could see why Detroit Vintage is guarded so carefully. I was immediately taken with the beautiful space, as I was with the two welcoming women who ran it.

I ordered a cappuccino at the counter to the rear of the shop and was told that it would be delivered to me. I took a seat at a small wooden table decorated with a stack of books and a teapot stuffed with flowers and soaked up the enchanting ambiance, complete with classical music playing softly in the background.

My cappuccino was brought to me a few minutes later. It was piping-hot, perfect on that blustery Sunday afternoon, with a deliciously rich flavor.

I spent about an hour nestled inside Detroit Vintage on that visit, in sweet sojourn from the outside world. The charming environs captured my imagination, and I knew I would be back for a revisit. Magical spaces such as this linger long in my memory!

10335 W. 8 Mile Rd.

Detroit, MI 48221

(Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; cash only)

www.bucky313.wixsite.com/detroit-vintage-

 

356. Always Brewing Detroit – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018AlwaysBrewing1 (2)August2018AlwaysBrewing3 (2)Independent coffee shops are my JAM, so you know I was down to visit Always Brewing Detroit last weekend!

A Detroit jaunt was the obvious choice for me last Friday after an early work dismissal in honor of Labor Day weekend. With Grandmont Rosedale fresh in my memory after a recent visit to Detroit Vegan Soul, I opted for a return to the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood and the chance to become acquainted with another local coffee shop.

Upon stepping into Always Brewing Detroit, I immediately liked it. The shop had a cozy, welcoming vibe with its glinting copper ceiling tiles, vintage-looking furniture, strands of exposed-bulb lighting, bookshelf available for browsing, and floor-length rose-colored curtains pulled aside to let in the sun. A chalkboard above the service counter advertised now-past events open to the community: an open mic, a game night.

I had a hankering for an iced coffee and ordered a medium-sized one from the laid-back, friendly barista. It was awesome, rich in flavor and not at all tasting diluted by the ice. I confirmed with the barista that it was a cold brew; he said that’s the only way they’ll do iced coffees there. Obviously, they take the craft of coffee brewing seriously, which I appreciate!

Hanging out at Always Brewing was a chill experience, a wind-down from my workday and an excellent start to the holiday weekend. This is definitely another indie coffee shop that I’ll be adding to my rotation!

19180 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.alwaysbrewingdetroit.com

346. New Order Coffee – July 21, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July2018NewOrderCoffee3 (2)July2018NewOrderCoffee1 (2)July2018NewOrderCoffee2 (3)As I’ve exclaimed in many a post, I ADORE coffee shops – especially locally-owned ones, naturally. So I was thrilled to finally visit New Order Coffee on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary (hence the birthday balloons in the above photos).

What a lovely space this is! I didn’t expect to spend over two hours at New Order Coffee that Saturday afternoon, but I found my experience in the bright, airy shop so pleasant that I didn’t want to leave after one drink – so I consumed another.

That first drink? It was a Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Latte, as pictured above in all its whipped-cream-and-sprinkles-bedecked glory. The barista who served me recommended both it and the regular Cereal Milk Latte when I remarked that it was my first time at New Order; I chose the Crunch Berry one because he told me it was his favorite. He said both lattes are made with milk imbued with sugary cereal – I believe frosted cornflakes are used for each of them, and then the Crunch Berry latte has the addition of the Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries Cereal in its infusion.

Does that not sound like a formula for deliciousness? Indeed, this Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Latte was creamy deliciousness, sweet without being overly so. I sucked it down and transitioned to sipping my second beverage, an Earl Grey tea latte topped with frothy milk – a fine representation of the cozy classic.

Those delectable drinks weren’t the only reason I had a hard time leaving New Order. All of the baristas I encountered were polite, friendly, and professional, fostering an awesome ordering experience, and in general, the place just had good vibes. It felt relaxing, restful – an ideal place to momentarily slip away from the oft-chaotic everyday.

I enjoyed my spot perched at the window-facing counter looking out along Woodward Avenue, watching passersby. Additional seating options exist toward the back of the shop, as well as in a separate section across from the barista’s station. I didn’t realize until I left and was walking by it from the outside that the latter area has a patio-esque element, with windows that open to the outdoors.

Every seating area was pretty well populated during the Saturday afternoon I was there. I got the impression that New Order is a hub for academic study; “Are you a student?” was a commonly asked question by the baristas, making me wonder if college attendees qualified for a discount (worth asking about if you’re in school!).

Whether you’re a student or simply a coffee-shop devotee like me, I would highly recommend stepping into this shop for a cereal-milk-fueled sojourn from the outside world the next time you need one.

3100 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.newordercoffee.com

327. Trinosophes – May 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

May2018Trinosophes1 (2)May2018Trinosophes2 (2)I have a new coffee-shop obsession, people: Trinosophes in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit!

What a gorgeous space this place is: light and airy, with long communal tables, book-crammed shelves, and vibrant greenery. I instantly fell in love with its ambiance.

I also fell in love with the fact that it’s located right off of Gratiot Avenue and has its own parking lot (free, easily accessible parking in Detroit is LIIIIFE!).

This affection for Trinosophes was pretty much predestined, given my long-held infatuation with independent coffee shops. Reveling in the chill, escape-the-world vibes of a good coffee shop while my bloodstream revels in caffeine is one of my favorite pastimes.

While I savored Trinosophes’ soothing, welcoming aura, I also savored two of its brews: a richly flavored cappuccino and a sumptuous cardamom latte. At the end of my two-hour sojourn there, I was vibrating with caffeine-induced energy and contentment.

A portion of that goodwill I felt during my visit to Trinosophes was due to the barista on staff who served me. She was friendly and approachable, as was the 20-something female patron who perched at the other end of the communal table I was working at. We chatted a bit between typing away on our computers.

It felt good to be out in the world on a Thursday morning, connecting with people, feeling part of a little community. I know I simply spent a couple of hours in a coffee shop – I wasn’t forging a friendship circle – but Trinosophes does embody that friendship-fostering spirit that makes you feel that you could meet the next important person in your life there.

Perhaps Trinosophes emits that community-cultivating vibe because it’s more than a coffee shop. It’s also a café, offering enticing breakfast and lunch dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options, plus a performance and exhibition space that regularly hosts music performances, art exhibits, and other creative events. It bills itself as a library, too, boasting the collections of several impactful Detroiters on those book-crammed shelves.

Leaving the coffee shop/café/library/performance space on this May morning, I felt the magic of the almost-summer season in the vivid green grass and budding trees surrounding it – and the elation that comes with discovering a new place I love.

I knew I’d be back to Trinosophes, that it’d been filed away into my local-coffee-shop rotation, further fueling my obsession with quality caffeinated beverages and quiet, creativity-inducing places.

1464 Gratiot Ave.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.trinosophes.com

316. The Bottom Line Coffee House – March 20, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018BottomLine2 (2)March2018BottomLine3 (2)Coffee shops are one of my very favorite categories of places in the world. A good coffee shop has a soothing, inviting vibe, a community-fostering spirit, and of course, bomb coffee. Upon visiting The Bottom Line Coffee Shop in the Midtown area of Detroit last week, I was ecstatic to discover that it possesses all three of these qualities. Another wonderful local coffee shop for my collection of go-tos!!!!

After lunch at Motor City Brewing Works with a friend from out-of-state who was passing through Detroit, we took the five-minute walk to the coffee house located on the ground floor of the Beethoven Apartments building. I’d been wanting to visit The Bottom Line for what feels like forever (a.k.a. several years), so I was psyched to finally be there.

I immediately dug the welcoming, unpretentious vibes of the small shop with its wood and brick and white walls, vibrant artwork, and garland of twinkle lights and colorful fake flowers festooning the entryway to the nook designated as the “Book and Record Den,” where one can sit with headphones on and groove to music while perusing the book collection (LOVE it). A tiny outdoor patio area nestled in an alleyway to the right of the shop entrance also caught my eye and had me dreaming of the as-of-yet elusive summer.

I know coffee houses are my particular brand of safe spaces, but really, is there anything better than stealing away to one on a Tuesday afternoon when you should be at work, sipping cappuccinos and chatting about life with an interesting person? I think not – especially when the cappuccinos you are sipping are super smooth and rich and flavorful, as they were at The Bottom Line.

That cappuccino! I’ve been fantasizing about it every day since I drank it, it was that good. I need it back in my life – and I’m hell-bent on achieving that soon while using the $2-off coupon emailed to me after my visit (thanks, The Bottom Line!). I’ll be sure to pass on the love while I’m there via the coffee house’s Suspended Coffee program, which allows patrons to make an advance purchase of a $2 cup of coffee for someone in need who comes into the shop and isn’t able to purchase it on his or her own. How great of a program is that? That’s that community spirit I’m talking about!

That community spirit is also fostered by The Bottom Line in its selling of local artisans’ goods, such as that colorful artwork displayed on its walls. Shirts, sweatshirts, and coffee mugs emblazoned with fun sayings such as “Detroit Grinds” and “Anything can Happen over Coffee in Detroit” (YES!) are also available, as are pastries to go with the ample selection of coffee and tea drinks.

Speaking of the ample selection of coffee and tea drinks: The Bottom Line offers a lavender latte, which enticed me as much as the prospect of sitting in its nestled-away patio area. Hurry up, summer: patios are another one of my happy places!

4474 3rd St., Ste. B2

Detroit, MI 48201

www.thebottomlinecoffeehouse.com

312. Anthology Coffee – March 3, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018Anthology2 (2)March2018Anthology3 (2)New-coffee-shop time!!!!

I’m always excited to visit an amazing, new-to-me independent coffee shop, because I LOVE independent coffee shops with singular vibes. And Anthology Coffee in Detroit is most certainly a coffee shop with a singular vibe, in the best of ways.

Plus, it has its own parking lot.

As you may know from reading previous posts on this blog, I am, yes, obsessed with establishments in Detroit that have their own parking lots, because the act of formal parallel street parking is essentially a phobia for me – I will park blocks away simply to avoid having to wedge my car within the confines of two painted lines narrowly abutting other cars at the curb of a busy street (not my idea of a good time).

So when I pulled up to Anthology Coffee, this java shop located within the Ponyride building in an industrial-looking part of town that feels isolated and deserted (but that in reality is very close to the Corktown-neighborhood drag of Michigan Avenue) and saw the ample number of parking spaces in the adjacent lot, I was like “Heck yes, Win #1 of the day!” (No victory is too small in my book – baby-stepping through life is my M.O., people.)

The exterior entrance to Anthology was a bit hard to identify on this Ponyride building (which, according to its website, rents out office and coworking spaces to various local businesses – how awesome is that?). I spied a set of unmarked doors sandwiched between two vibrant graffiti-art murals and confirmed with people departing from them that they indeed led into the shop.

Once inside, I was immediately taken with the clean, modern look of Anthology’s space: walls white here, paneling in blonde wood there; the pop of the turquoise coffee counter and the vibrant nature-themed mural painted in one corner; the concrete floors and the sunlight streaming in through the windows.

The friendly barista working behind the counter greeted me and helped me choose which of the various bean varieties I wanted in my iced coffee. When I assented that I preferred a bolder flavor over a fruity one, he suggested a variety from Myanmar.

I found a seat at one of the smaller tables, and he delivered my iced brew in its tall glass to me when it was ready (now there’s a touch I always appreciate at a coffee shop, the barista bringing the coffee to my table so I don’t have to stand at the counter and wait for it). It was delicious: bold, but very drinkable.

I appreciated not only the flavor profile of that coffee but the profile of Anthology’s overall vibe on that afternoon of my visit. It was humming with activity, with other visitors chatting and/or working and even a few kids running around, but it wasn’t overwhelming or distracting; it was pleasant. It radiated a sense of fostered community rather than a sense of being overrun by people. It felt amiable and also low-key, relaxed. The music played at an ideal volume level, enjoyable ambiance rather than a blaring distraction.

As I paid for my drink at the end of my visit, I commented to the barista on how much I’d enjoyed the coffee and the overall experience. I’d found a space I could envision as my own personal coworking space in a future where I worked for myself amongst other local entrepreneurs – where each of us, in our respective caffeine-induced flow states, teased out ideas on how we could best contribute our gifts to this wonderful city.

1401 Vermont St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.anthologycoffee.com

295. Chazzano Coffee Roasters – December 6, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

December2017Chazzano1 (2)December2017Chazzano2 (2)Hi, guys – happy Friday! If you’re looking to start the weekend with a little caffeine-fueled enthusiasm, may I suggest Chazzano Coffee Roasters in Ferndale?

As with many places I’ve covered on this blog, Chazzano had been on my radar for years. I’d passed the coffee shop many a time, dreaming of stopping in and savoring a cappuccino. Tuesday I finally made that dream a reality. I was dying to check out a new place after a 2.5-week lull, and I was going to be in Ferndale anyway, so why not tack on the visit?

The reason for me being in Ferndale on that day? A massage. And you know, downing a caffeinated beverage is how I routinely prepare for a relaxing rubdown. Just kidding – consuming a strong coffee drink in the late afternoon pre-massage = probably not the wisest choice I’ve made all week. But sometimes you’ve got to throw caution to the wind in the name of exploration, right?

And regardless of the soundness of my decision relative to what followed after, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Chazzano. The tiny coffee shop is the perfect place to hang out, savor a coffee drink, and get some work done. Both classic rock and funky hip-hop played during my time there, which I was totally jamming to as I TCB’ed (Took Care of Business!) on my computer. More importantly, the coffee was on point! My cappuccino was richly flavored, capped by a weighty foam, and totally delicious.

It wasn’t a surprise that the coffee was good given that Chazzano roasts its own beans and is purported to take care in curating and crafting its coffee. A selection of single-origin brews are available from locations such as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Brazil; various loose leaf teas and even organic vegan hot chocolate are available.

I left Chazzano feeling pleasantly buzzed but not overly amped by the caffeine; by the end of my massage, the jitters had entered the equation. When I told her about my pre-appointment foray, my massage therapist commented on how massages have a circulatory affect and that mine had probably accelerated the affects of the cappuccino in me. Perhaps this was actually a blessing, chasing the coffee out of my system sooner than it would’ve exited if I hadn’t gotten a massage.

At any rate, I was happy to have treated myself to that Chazzano visit, because it infused my Tuesday with a little specialness – and I’ll take more specialness in my everyday life whenever I can get it.

1737 East 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.chazzanocoffee.com

278. A Bean to Go – September 23, 2017 – Lake Orion, MI

Bean1Bean3I had the BEST ICED COFFEE OF MY LIFE at A Bean to Go in downtown Lake Orion a few weeks ago. It was prepared with cold-brewed coffee, and it was wonderfully rich in flavor – not at all like the watery iced coffee you’re presented with at some java joints. And it was strong – that coffee had me revving for hours afterward! Granted, that’s not a hard thing to achieve in someone with a low caffeine threshold like me, but still. What I’m trying to say is, this stuff is the good stuff!

I had to lead with that information because it was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of A Bean to Go as I sat down to write – that COFFEE! While the delightful cold-brew sealed the deal, I’d gathered that I’d like the Lake Orion shop from the moment I stepped into its interior with its rustic-chic, inviting vibe and plenty of work spaces. This is the perfect place to camp out and get some writing, studying, or other work done whilst infusing one’s veins with a steady stream of delectably-flavored caffeine.

No wonder A Bean to Go has such excellent coffee; it roasts its own beans at its facility in Goodrich, MI, where it also has another coffee shop location, as I found out on its website. It sells bags of its various bean blends in the Lake Orion shop and on its website.

Not only did I get to experience another Grade-A coffee shop in the Metro-Detroit area with this visit (I collect them like baseball cards!), I also was able to represent Lake Orion on 100 Places in the D. Yes, Lake Orion is a new-to-the-blog city! We’ve got back-to-back repping-new-cities posts with this one and yesterday’s on Colasanti’s!

While I’m on the topic of Lake Orion, can I comment on how cute its downtown is? It was my first time down there, and I was digging its picturesque small-town vibes. I will definitely be going back there at some time in the foreseeable future – at the very least to revisit to A Bean to Go.

16 West Flint St.

Lake Orion, MI 48362

www.abeantogo.com

271. Narrow Way Café and Shop – September 4, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170904_11142320170904_111959I’m so excited to write about today’s featured place because I absolutely LOVED it. Narrow Way Café and Shop is an excellent addition to the Detroit coffee scene!

Seriously, this coffee shop in the Avenue of Fashion neighborhood of Detroit (Seven Mile and Livernois area) is PHENOMENAL. It can be challenging to find a coffee shop that has it all: great service AND excellent coffee AND delicious snacks AND great ambience AND ample seating options. Narrow Way Café and Shop checks all the boxes – especially the one important box I didn’t yet mention, the I-Want-to-Stay-Here-all-Day-and-Escape-from-the-World-Because-this-World-is-Lovely box.

Good vibes: those are the words that come to mind when I recall Narrow Way’s interior. It is light-filled and pleasant and cozy and there-can-be-no-anxiety-here tranquil. Instrumental jazz music is playing in the background. The walls are painted blue-green and white, and the expanse behind the dark wood counter is white-tiled. The tables are white; the chairs are white with a black criss-cross design; the lighting is hanging gold globe fixtures. There’s a map of the world on one wall and a purple fluorescent Narrow Way logo glowing on the wall behind the counter. I loved it.

The baristas were lovely to me, very polite and friendly and calling me “Miss Jackie,” which I found completely charming. This is not some corporate mega-chain where they scrawl your name on a cup and then holler it out incorrectly when your order is done. “Miss Jackie, would you like your pastry warmed up?” Heck yes, I would! And you’re going to deliver it to me in my seat? Best customer service EVER.

That pastry by the way: it was a spinach, feta, and brioche one, and it was absolutely phenomenal. The savory spinach, salty feta, and buttery brioche . . . OH YEAH. Narrow Way’s baked goods are from Avalon, so of course it was gonna be amazing. I mean, come on.

Plus, the mocha-almond frozen coffee I got was addictively delicious. I was bouncing-off-the-walls euphoric after consuming that frozen, flavorful, caffeine-saturated goodness. Narrow Way serves Zingerman’s coffee, so it’s official: they’ve got good taste over there – and they’re repping other local establishments, to boot (which you know I heart).

My one regret about visiting Narrow Way was that I did not stay long. I’d driven there with the intention of hanging out for a while with my journal, but then I was paranoid about where I’d parked (in the lot of the nearby grocery store, Mike’s Fresh Market), because there were warning signs about non-patrons being towed. Would they really have noticed and towed my car? Probably not, but I was with a friend once in Denver where they did notice and tow her car when we left it in a market parking lot, so I’m always leery of the possibility. Anyway, I should have parked on the neighborhood street behind Narrow Way instead – or Lord forbid, in one of the parallel parking spots in front of the shop (my phobia – yes, phobia – of parking in a parallel parking spot prevented me). Next time, I’ll ensure I find a legit parking spot so I can bask in Narrow Way’s good vibes longer.

19331 Livernois Ave.

Detroit, MI 48221

www.thenarrowwaycafe.com