Coffee Houses

425. Madcap Coffee – August 22, 2019 – Detroit, MI

August2019Madcap1 (3)August2019Madcap2 (2)Madcap Coffee – what a delight it is to recount my visit last month to this coffee shop in Detroit. It’s also making me crave their coffee something fierce!

Coffee shops, with their ability to make me feel as if I stepping away from the oft-chaotic world into one of tranquility and divine caffeination, have long enchanted me. So it’s always a treat to visit a new one, especially when the shop is independently owned (because we heart indie and Michigan-owned establishments here on 100 Places in the D!) and as fantastic as Madcap Coffee is.

Us Metro-Detroiters are fortunate that the Grand Rapids-based coffee chain recently opened a location in downtown Detroit, because Madcap Coffee brews some good coffee. The cappuccino and nitro cold-brew coffee I enjoyed there were excellent.

Stepping inside Madcap’s sleek, stark interior, I’ll admit that I mentally prepared to be met with pretension. Instead, I was greeted with warm friendliness by a barista and received some of the best customer service there that I have in recent times. Silly me, pre-judging a place based off of its décor!

Madcap continued to wow me with its coffee. Its cappuccino was rich, creamy, and flavorful.

Being a lightweight, I could have stopped right there, having achieved my caffeine quota for the day with that cappuccino, but I couldn’t leave Madcap without also sampling the nitro cold-brew coffee, which I had spied whilst waiting for the cappuccino and which intrigued me – because, nitro cold brew?! It tastes as amazing as it sounds, luxuriously rich and creamy; it goes down easy.

I visited Madcap for a few hours, first while perched at a counter seat inside, then at one of the outside tables scattered before its storefront, where I basked in the sun while sipping my nitro cold brew and tapping away at my computer.

Not only does Madcap have interior and exterior seating, it also has interior and exterior ordering counters. The front of the shop opens up to make it open-air, and people can walk over to the counter there and order off of the street rather than entering the shop. Presumably, this part of the coffee house will be closed during the cold-weather months, but in the meantime, it’s a cool feature.

I left Madcap Coffee with a bounce in my step, invigorated by new-place vibes and caffeine pulsing through my veins, happy to have discovered another coffee-house haven.

1413 Farmer St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.madcapcoffee.com

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421. Drifter Coffee – August 6, 2019 – Ferndale, MI

August2019DrifterCoffee1 (2)August2019DrifterCoffee2 (2)My visit to Drifter Coffee inserted a little slice of tranquility into an otherwise busy day. I’d long been wanting to visit the Ferndale-based coffee shop, and I’m glad I finally did on a Tuesday afternoon in early August. I got to enjoy its warm hospitality, homey ambiance, and delicious coffee – not to mention, the mean chocolate-chip shortbread cookie it serves!

The shop gets its name from the business’ heritage of being a coffee purveyor on wheels. Drifter Coffee started out as a purely mobile establishment, selling its wares for four years from what it lovingly refers to on its website as its “coffee caboose,” a sweet vintage travel trailer.

The Ferndale-based shop opened earlier this year, in partnership with local coffee roaster Gooseneck Coffee Co., which has its roasting room on site. Yay for indie-business fusion! The coffee caboose still roves about town, vending Drifter Coffee’s goodies at sites such as Eastern Market and the Wayne State Farmers Market.

While I haven’t had the pleasure of encountering Drifter Coffee’s mobile storefront, I loved the vibes of its storefront planted in Ferndale, just down the road from Urbanrest Brewing.

It’s a beautiful space. The lower level is bright and airy and hosts the coffee counter and a seating area featuring a wall of windows and a plethora of potted plants. Outdoor seating is also available.

Upstairs is another seating area with a variety of places from which to perch: cushy couches and chairs, tables, and even a desk. This area is furnished more like someone’s home than a coffee shop; it’s cozy, with lots of books strewn about, more potted plants, and even a throw blanket nestled upon one of its couches. I loved kicking back in this upstairs seating area whilst savoring the richly-flavored iced coffee and tasty chocolate-chip shortbread cookie I’d ordered from the friendly baristas downstairs.

Indie coffee shops are my jam, and I’m always psyched to find a great one. Drifter Coffee is, most definitely, a great one!

770 Woodward Hts.

Ferndale, MI 48220

(Closed Mondays)

www.driftercoffee.com

407. Che Cosa – May 11, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

May2019CheCosa1 (2)May2019CheCosa2 (2)May2019CheCosa3 (2)Che Cosa!!! I got excited when I realized the next post on the docket for 100 Places in the D was this one for the Clinton Township-based coffee house, because I totally dig this place.

On a busy Saturday in mid-May, I was between engagements and looking to kill time at a coffee shop, and I’d long been curious about Che Cosa, which happily fit logistically into the scheme of my day. So I stopped in to see what it was all about.

The interior of Che Cosa is cozy, with furnishings (such as the plush leather couch shown above) that make you feel as if you’re hanging out in someone’s home. Then you see the tall metal shelf loaded with large jars of roasted beans, and it’s abundantly clear that you are in a shop that is serious about its coffee.

After waiting on a rush of customers ahead of me, the woman working the counter that morning explained that shelf of beans to me. She said the owner of Che Cosa roasts the many varieties of coffee beans on display and adds flavoring to some.  Beans with luxurious-sounding flavorings, such as Banana Nut Bread and Cinnamon Danish, are available for purchase via a cup of fresh-brewed coffee or bagged for at-home brewing.

Foods such as soup, ice cream, and biscotti are available for purchase at Che Cosa, too. But I was all about the liquid caffeinated goodness that day.

I was tempted to order a cup of coffee made with the flavored beans (Southern Pecan Pie, you were calling my name!), but in the end I went with my old-faithful coffee-shop order: a cappuccino. And I was glad I ordered that cappuccino, because it was the best one I could remember drinking!

The word that kept coming to mind as I sipped Che Cosa’s cappuccino was “balanced.” Its flavors were perfectly balanced: the espresso didn’t taste burnt, nor watered down by too much milk, and there was an ideal amount of foam. That Che Cosa cappuccino was perfect.

Not only was the coffee at Che Cosa delicious, but I really enjoyed how welcoming it felt to be there. For most of the time that I hung out there, I chatted with the woman working the counter and a gentleman who was a Che Cosa regular. He told me about his life, and I told him about mine, and the barista chimed in about her life, and it was just a really, really nice experience to connect with some kindly strangers during an outing when I’d simply been looking to kill some time and check out a new place. Cozy, community-fostering, and brewing up a damn good cappuccino: that’s Che Cosa for ya!

Worth noting: Che Cosa’s hours of operation appear to vary, so it’s worth calling before a visit to make sure it’s open.

24394 Crocker Blvd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48036

Phone: (586) 477-1200

400! Civitas Coffee House – March 19, 2019 – Hazel Park, MI

March2019Civitas1 (2)Visit Number 400 is hitting 100 Places in the D!!! Say hello to Civitas Coffee House of Hazel Park.

I adore indie coffee shops with their funky, cozy vibes, sense of community-fostering, and ability to make me feel as if I’m hiding away from the oft-chaotic world for a moment of blissful respite. So I was excited to visit this new-to-me one for some tranquil journaling time (fueled by a caffeine jolt, naturally).

The interior of Civitas Coffee House has a welcoming ambiance, with warm wood paneling, ample natural lighting, and walls painted a denim blue. During my visit in mid-March, tiny vases holding lime-green carnations graced each table.

I visited Civitas Coffee House for about 45 minutes, sipping a cappuccino whilst writing and enjoying the coffee-shop ambiance. The experience provided me with that special feeling of repose that only coffee houses can evoke, so: mission accomplished, Civitas!

Reflecting upon the milestone of this visit five months after it occurred (better late than never, eh?), I’m amazed by the fact that up to this point – and in just over five years – I’d visited 400 new-to-me, locally-owned places in the Metro-Detroit area. FOUR HUNDRED! Here’s to the magic of starting a project and seeing where it takes you.

906 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Hazel Park, MI 48030

(Closed Sundays)

https://civitas-coffee-house.business.site/

398. Three Cats Café – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019ThreeCatsCafe1 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe2 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe4 (2)After my visit to the lovely Leon & Lulu on a Friday night in mid-March, I continued on to the Three Cats Café, its sister business just next-door.

I was enchanted with the place. The Clawson-based establishment is more than a café housed in a former movie theater, its glittery marquee intact and its street-facing ticket booth still present, complete with a “talking” vendor mannequin rattling off facts about the place. It’s also an expansive shop selling artwork, mugs, handmade cards, and other perfect-for-gifting goodies, much of which are locally made and/or Michigan-centric.

The café counter of Three Cats Café is in the front of the building, near the entrance, while the shop/seating area is behind it. The nature of my visit (a pre-dinner-date jaunt) didn’t allow me to sample any of the café’s delectable-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other goodies (though the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese w/ Cup of Tomato Basil Soup on its current online menu is hitting me pretty hard with the cravings right now!). Instead, I opted for a cappuccino from its menu of coffee and tea drinks.

This cappuccino was steamy, creamy, foam-laden deliciousness that I enjoyed while sitting at a table in the Three Cats shop/seating area. It’s a brightly colored, aesthetically pleasing space, an ideal place to retreat from the outside world and relax. I could feel myself unwinding with every sip.

116 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.threecatscafe.com

382. Bikes and Coffee – December 16, 2018 – Detroit, MI

december2018bikesandcoffee1 (2)december2018bikesandcoffee2 (2)I’m forever enthused to find a new indie coffee shop. So when the recently opened Bikes and Coffee in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit popped up on my radar, you know I was there!

As its name implies, Bikes and Coffee isn’t simply a coffee house. It’s also a full-service bike repair shop that offers cycling-related gear and builds custom bikes by request.

The small shop artfully melds its two business elements, with counter and sofa seating up front for cozy latte sipping, a barista-station island in the center, and bike frames, tires, and other gear concentrated along the rear peripheral.

I’ve been to Bikes and Coffee twice: once on a gorgeously sunny Sunday in mid-December when I enjoyed a white tea latte while sunning at a window-facing counter seat and again two weeks later, when I sipped a rich cappuccino.

The first time I was there, the owner’s kitten was there, too, running and jumping and playing. What an adorable little guy! He pawed playfully at my legs and hopped up onto one patron’s lap.

Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or not, Bikes and Coffee is worth a visit. Bring your bike in for a tune-up and sip on some caffeine-fueled goodness, to boot!

1521 Putnam St.

Detroit, MI 48208

www.bikes-coffee.com

380. Populace Coffee – December 9, 2018 – Detroit, MI

December2018PopulaceCoffee1 (3)After Sunday-morning brunching at Brass Rail Pizza Bar and checking out the holiday markets at Capitol Park, friends and I decided it was time for piping-hot caffeinated goodness at Populace Coffee.

The downtown-Detroit-based coffee shop is located inside of The Siren Hotel, retro-chic accommodations housed within the previously long-abandoned Wurlitzer Building on Broadway Street near Comerica Park.

You know how some places are so inviting, so otherworldly in their coziness that you don’t want to leave? That was how I found Populace Coffee to be. With its velvet-plush furniture, potted palms, fringe-shaded lamps, and ornately carved bookshelf packed with tomes, it exudes antique glamour and a welcoming, come-rest-with-your-feet-up-and-a-cup-of-tea (or Colombian-roast coffee) vibe. I wanted to spend all Sunday afternoon holed up in that coffee house, sipping my rich cappuccino, chatting with my pals, and perusing the magazines scattered about.

We ended up spending about an hour inside Populace; then it was back out into the real world. It was an hour well spent, as I emerged exhilarated by communion, caffeine, and the crush I’d developed for yet another awesome independent coffee shop in the city.

1509 Broadway St.

Detroit, MI 48226

(with an additional location in Bay City, MI)

www.populace.coffee

376. Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters – November 21, 2018 – Rochester, MI

November2018DessertOasis1 (3)Pre-holiday coffee-shop coziness! That was what I was in the mood for when I jaunted over to Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters in downtown Rochester on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.

It appeared I wasn’t the only one who had that objective in mind: the coffee shop was bustling when I arrived around 3:30 p.m. The crowd almost overwhelmingly appeared to be composed of college students getting their homework on (studying the night before a holiday weekend? How ambitious!).

While it looked like I wasn’t going to find an open table in the crowded café before my order of a cappuccino and chocolate croissant came up, Fate intervened, and I was able to nab a seat at a small table.

I spent over an hour in the coffee shop, soaking in its congenial vibes whilst working on my computer and receiving a delicious infusion of caffeine and sugar via the cappuccino and croissant.

As made evident by its name, Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters is – like me – into the sweet treats. According to its website, the cheesecake it sells slices of is made in-house daily and is offered in such intriguing flavor varieties as Banana Nutella, Baklava, and Tiramisu. Cookies, savory puff pastries, and other baked goods (including vegan desserts) are also sold.

I’ve heard Dessert Oasis periodically offers live music, as well. I would love to come back on a performance night and incorporate that into the experience  – although the inviting ambiance, gracious staff, and delicious food and drink that characterized this visit are in themselves more than enough to warrant a return.

336 S. Main St.

Rochester, MI 48307

(With additional locations in Detroit and Royal Oak)

www.docr.coffee

373. Urban Bean Co. – October 27, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018UrbanBean1 (2)October2018UrbanBean4 (2)October2018UrbanBean2 (2)I love a good coffee house at any time of year, but one’s appeal is of course amplified in the midst of now – a.k.a. the cold-weather half of the year that oft feels as if it’s stretching on interminably here in the Metro-D. Cozy is what carries me through this time of year, and locally-owned coffee shops offer their own signature brands of cozy.

Thusly, on a rainy Saturday at the end of last month, I took myself downtown for some coffee-house-level coziness with a visit to Urban Bean Co., an indie establishment on Grand River Avenue.

The two-level shop is petite, narrow in width and therefore tricky to navigate when it’s busy – and it was kicking when I first arrived there that Saturday afternoon.

Urban Bean Co.’s vibe is retro: wood paneling on the walls; sepia-toned carpet that legit looks like it’s from the ’70s; a general color scheme of oranges and golds and browns, including plastic chairs done in those colors.

Taking my place at the ordering counter, I was greeted by the obviously overtaxed yet still friendly barista. I wanted to try the Pure Evil Latte, which I’d seen rave reviews of with its espresso infused with amaretto, cherry, and milk. But the shop was out of amaretto at the time, so I opted instead for the Green Fairie Latte infused with white chocolate and pistachio syrup. I took my drink up to the second floor, where the bulk of the seating is, and was fortunate to score a seat at a small table.

The narrow parameter of the room made for an intimate environment. Most people seemed to be engrossed in study except for two guys who appeared to be on a first date; it was hard not to feel like a creeper easily taking in their every word in the otherwise hushed room.

But that second-floor perch atop Urban Bean Co. was cozy, and it offered a fantastic view of the streetscape outside, glistening with rain and looking particularly less inviting than the dry, warm environs in which I sat, sipping a deliciously sweet coffee beverage.

What else do I dig about this coffee shop besides its fantastic views, retro-comfy quarters, and tasty signature lattes? Well, I’m pretty obsessed with the fact that it serves The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company’s wares, as well as those of other local purveyors such as Germack, Better Made, and the pièce de résistance, Dutch Girl Donuts (which you may recall I tried earlier this fall, and damn, were those donuts LIFE!).

200 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.urbanbeanco.com

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