Coffee Houses

575. Mugs Coffee & Grub – August 24, 2022 – White Lake, MI

Mugs Coffee & Grub makes a great coworking space! The White Lake-based coffee shop is clean and bright; the staff is pleasant; and it serves a mean cold brew.

I discovered all this during a visit in late August, when a friend and I spent the day working our fully-remote jobs together. Mid-morning, we took a break from her house and popped into Mugs for some sweet caffeine sipping and community mingling. I didn’t realize it then, but this was my first new-place visit in White Lake. Yes, White Lake is now represented on 100 Places in the D! [Cue the confetti!]

Mugs offers coffee- and tea-based drinks, smoothies, and milkshakes with names such as Oreoh! and Salted Caramel Pretzel. A photo on its website depicts the White Chocolate Strawberry milkshake with its drool-worthy layers of strawberry, mountain of whipped cream, and profusion of white chocolate chips.

Looking for food-based fuel to complement those shots of espresso you ordered? Mugs’ menu includes locally-made baked goods; breakfast items such as avocado toast and fruit-and-yogurt parfait; soups; and customized sandwiches that include your choice of bread, meat, cheese, and veggies (and the option of vegan turkey and cheddar for our plant-based friends).

With so much to love about this locally-owned coffee shop, Mugs is most definitely worth a visit!

330 Town Center Blvd., Unit D 102

White Lake, MI 48386

www.mugscoffeegrub.com

572. Berkley Coffee – August 5, 2022 – Oak Park, MI

Berkley Coffee has charm for days! From the drinks to the service to the ambiance, the good vibes are on overdrive at this Oak Park-based coffee shop, performance venue, and non-alcoholic bar.

Yes, Berkley Coffee isn’t based in Berkley, but Oak Park. But who cares? It’s Berkley adjacent – and its coffee is delicious. Berkley Coffee roasts it own beans and offers multiple varieties with origins ranging from Ethiopia to India, Nicaragua to Brazil.

The shop has multiple identities by design. By day, it’s the coffee shop, which is how I experienced it. I spent a couple of hours working at Berkley Coffee one morning, at a table bordering the performance stage. I loved the ambiance – both the lively energy (the place was bustling with customers that Friday morning) and the interior aesthetic. Berkley Coffee’s main room has a contemporary feel, with industrial details and neutral hues accented by pops of color (potted plants; stained glass in a pretty pattern of turquoise, white, and gold). Shelves housing nonalcoholic beers, wines, shrubs, syrups, and other drinks and drink ingredients dominate one corner. A room dubbed the East Room offers additional seating, books, children’s toys, a piano, and a plethora of board games.

I learned that Berkley Coffee takes a unique approach to ordering coffee. Cylindrical containers holding individual portions of beans are stacked on shelves facing the customer. When you place your order, you pick one of the vials and hand it to the barista, and they grind the beans and make your drink.

Staff members kindly ushered clueless me through the process, recommending bean varieties based on my preferences. I had two drinks that morning: a cappuccino with Brazilian beans and oat milk and a Japanese iced coffee with Ethiopian beans. Both were fantastic! (The Japanese-style iced coffee was something I’d never heard of but turned out to be a drink I regularly enjoy at home: fresh-brewed hot coffee poured over ice.)

By night, the main room of Berkley Coffee is the performance space. The shop regularly hosts bands and other performers. Amps, mics, PA equipment, guitars and other instruments are available for performers. The bar whips up cocktails that range from non-alcoholic versions of classics such as the Manhattan and Mai Tai to signature drinks with intriguing flavor components such as pine syrup, sesame oil, and blood orange cordial. According to Berkley Coffee’s website, it’s dedicated to offering a space where guests can socialize and enjoy live entertainment while also being sober.

With so much good to experience at Berkley Coffee, days’ and days’ worth of revisits are warranted!

14661 W. 11 Mile Rd., Ste. 500

Oak Park, MI 48237

www.berkleycoffee.com

570. Coffee Break Cafe – July 26, 2022 – Eastpointe, MI

Coffee Break Cafe has a devoted following! And it’s easy to see why. The coffee house tucked into a strip mall in Eastpointe serves delicious drinks.

During my visit to Coffee Break Cafe, not one but two customers raved to me about how great the place was. One loved it for studying; the other, as his regular supplier of coffee beans (which he said he’s taken with him all over the world). Both loved the owner, who is a friendly, welcoming guy.

Speaking of those beans: Coffee Break Cafe roasts its own. It offers varieties from all over the world – places such as Kenya, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala. The shop offers a plethora of coffee- and tea-based drinks. There’s an array of lattes, in enticing flavors such as Cherry Fudge, Cheesecake, and Tiramisu, and flavored cappuccinos, too. Baked goods and bottled drinks (pop, juice, sparkling water) are also available.

During my visit, I enjoyed a cold brew iced coffee and a Chai Tea Latte. The Chai Tea Latte was especially good: rich, foam-capped, warmly spiced deliciousness.

Next time you need a break from the world, make Coffee Break Cafe your place of respite!

19156 E. 10 Mile Rd.

Eastpointe, MI 48021

www.coffeebreakcafe.business.site

561. Café 1923 – May 22, 2022 – Hamtramck, MI

Café 1923, a sweet escape!

I felt like I was traveling back into the ’90s when I visited this Hamtramck-based coffee shop. It’s got an analog vibe that I found totally appealing. Not that Café 1923 doesn’t have wifi if you need it! It totally does. But it’s housed in this charming old building with tin ceilings and a wooden coffee counter that looks legitimately old-fashioned (and not like it’s trying to be old-fashioned for hipsterism’s sake). There’s this whole other room behind the main coffee shop area, a study room, with mint-green chairs and lavender walls and shelves and shelves of old books, the tops of them crowded with knick-knacks. Walking into that room felt like walking into another time, one where internet and cell phones and the complexity of modern-day life didn’t exist (apparently, represented by the ’90s for me – probably because that’s when I was a kid). It soothed me, felt like a safe haven. I wanted to stay there for hours, writing in my journal and sipping on the delicious cappuccino the friendly barista made me. But alas, I only had an hour. It was an hour I savored and made the most of.

Perhaps the prices are also what made me feel like I was walking into another time. I can’t remember what I paid for Café 1923’s cappuccino, but I remember it feeling cheap relative to the prices at other coffee shops (which have started to feel exorbitant during this time of inflation). Here’s to coffee shops with laid-back, welcoming vibes and welcoming prices!

2287 Holbrook St.

Hamtramck, MI 48212

551. Black Cat Coffee – March 25, 2022 – Mount Clemens, MI

Black Cat Coffee, a place where you want to be a regular!

I don’t appear to be the only one who espouses that sentiment about the indie coffee house based in downtown Mount Clemens. From what I’ve experienced of Black Cat, it attracts repeat customers – and for good reason. The baristas are super welcoming, happy to chat you up, recommend a drink – even make change so you can feed your parking meter. The shop is beautiful: a soothing-glam oasis with its gleaming tin ceilings, scarlet walls, potted plants, and crystal chandeliers. And the drinks! The drinks are oh-so-delicious, perfect little infusions of caffeine and flavor.

I’ve visited Black Cat twice now, savoring those tasty drinks during remote-work sessions. Its cappuccino is rich and creamy; its nitro cold brew is full of flavor. Its Spicy Cougar signature drink is phenomenal, a deliciously sweet, spicy, chocolatey concoction. And its Café Miel! Black Cat’s take on the classic espresso drink infused with steamed milk and honey is SO good. That’s going to become a regular in my rotation, for sure.

Visiting new-to-me places is (obviously) an obsession of mine. But some places are so good, I can’t help but revisit. Black Cat Coffee is one of those places. I see myself returning again and again to this sweet little coffee-lover’s haven.

55 Macomb Pl.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

www.coffeeatblackcat.com

548. Royal Oak Roast – February 7, 2022 – Royal Oak, MI

What a gem Royal Oak Roast is! A gem with multi-faceted charm: delicious drinks, friendly baristas, and mega-watt ambiance.

During a remote work session at the Royal Oak-based coffee house, I basked in the brilliance of all that charm. I sipped two of its decadent drinks, a cappuccino and an Almond Joy latte (an espresso-based drink infused with coconut, almond, and chocolate). I engaged with the baristas, who were cheerful and welcoming. And I soaked up the ambiance: the glistening tile and gleaming copper, the granite countertops and golden-bright lights. It all melded together to induce a pleasant flow state of productivity, and my couple-hour visit flew by.

As with all good things, my visit to Royal Oak Roast ended much too soon. The silver lining: it’s here for me, awaiting a revisit whenever I’m ready! All I have to do is follow the mantra emblazoned in neon light on one of its walls: “Wake up. Drink coffee. Be awesome. Repeat.”

25070 Woodward Ave.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

(With an additional location, Birmingham Roast, in Birmingham)

www.drinkroast.com

546. Momento Gelato & Coffee – January 30, 2022 – Detroit, MI

As if I needed another reason to love Corktown, here comes Momento Gelato & Coffee, really making me swoon!

The coffee house plus gelato joint resides on Trumbull Street, just a stone’s throw from 100 Places in the D favorite Ottava Via. And it’s not to be missed; its gelato is exceptional.

You’d think a frigid January’s morn wouldn’t lend itself well to gelato eating. But I’m here to attest that any day of the year is the perfect one to consume Momento’s gelato. I got a scoop each of its butter pecan and pistachio flavors, and WOW! They were so rich and creamy and flat-out wonderful. Gelato flavors featured throughout the year, according to Momento’s website, include Michigan Fresh Peach (a seasonal offering), Salted Caramel, and Italian Hazelnut Honey (a WOW-worthy flavor if there ever was one!). The Michigan-based business also makes several fruit sorbets.

And then there’s the caffeinated aspect of the menu. Momento offers espresso-, coffee-, and tea-based beverages (which include decaffeinated options). And you know there’s an affogato (espresso and vanilla gelato)! I sampled this portion of the menu via Momento’s cappuccino, which was the ideal rich-and-tasty treat to take with me on a brief stroll about Corktown, being as it was warming (I ate the not-so-warming gelato later in the car).

If you’re looking to make an ice cream, coffee, and meal run all in one, Momento’s got you! Its menu includes soup, pastries, a caprese salad, and several types of paninis. A lunch special combines all the goodies: a drip coffee, cup of soup, panini, and a small gelato. Now my heart is REALLY going pitter-patter for Momento Gelato & Coffee!

2120 Trumbull St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.momentogelatoandcoffee.com

544. James Oliver Coffee Company – January 18, 2022 – Detroit, MI

A visit to James Oliver Coffee Company’s Corktown café made for a sweet Tuesday morning!

I visited the indie coffee shop for some work-from-home-away-from-home time. This was my first time working in a coffee shop since I got a 100%-remote job two years ago, and it was an absolute delight!

It wasn’t my first time inside the Detroit-based building’s interior. James Oliver opened this café in the building that once housed Detroit Institute of Bagels (R.I.P.!). While I’m sad that the locally-owned bagel shop is no more, I’m happy that the business taking its place is just as wonderful. James Oliver’s coffee- and tea-based drinks are delicious, and the staff is lovely. Plenty of seating options are available in the bright, cozy café, including barista-counter seating and my favorite: window-facing counter seats that look out on Michigan Avenue. There’s a food menu, too, showcasing soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, and bagels. Vegan options are available.

James Oliver roasts its own beans, offering multiple varietals, from Tanzania Peaberry to Costa Rican to the decadent Cinnamon Hazelnut Chocolate Blend. Check out its website for its current offerings and to order online.

For two hours, I worked in a pleasant flow of coffee shop camaraderie and caffeine (supplied by James Oliver’s cappuccino and matcha latte). It was exactly what I needed that day, the perfect home-away-from-home, with atmosphere and amenities that beckon me to return for another sojourn.

1236 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.jamesolivercoffee.com

535. Sabbath Coffee Roasters – November 28, 2021 – Clawson, MI

Sabbath Coffee Roasters made a snowy Sunday morning extra special!

I visited the coffee house based in downtown Clawson over the Thanksgiving weekend, after the first real snow of the season. I was up early that Sunday and in the mood for some coffee shop time. So I headed to the locally-owned shop that roasts its own beans and serves coffee, tea, and espresso drinks – including a very dreamy-looking frozen oat milk latte. (It’s served from a frozen drink machine: the creamy, caffeinated version of a slushie.)

Walking into the tiny shop, I realized there was no seating; it’s carryout only. I was bummed – but still excited to try one of Sabbath’s cappuccinos. I ordered one with oat milk and savored its creaminess and rich espresso flavor as I headed out into the snowy landscape. It was a picturesque scene: sparkling white and quiet – the perfect backdrop for a piping-hot beverage.

Something I really appreciated about Sabbath – besides that tasty cappuccino – was the fact that the barista who made it took the time to engage in conversation with me. She asked me what I had planned for the day, seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and shared her plans, as well. It was a refreshing moment of connection that brightened my day – and reminded me that it doesn’t take much to positively connect with others. So thank you for that, my Sabbath barista friend!

Speaking of connection and community: what a hard week this past one was in Metro Detroit. Thinking about everyone experiencing the tragedy in Oxford and sending you love. May you have a caring community of supporters around you, to walk with you through this terrible time.

24 E. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.sabbathcoffeeroasters.com

533. The Commons – November 6, 2021 – Detroit, MI

The Commons exudes community spirit! I experienced that firsthand during my visit to the East Side-based laundromat/coffee house.

The Commons is owned and operated by MACC Development, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the residents of Detroit’s 48214 zip code. It’s located on the ground floor of a pretty brown-brick building on Mack Avenue, below the MACC Development offices.

I opted to experience both the laundromat and café aspects of The Commons. I had a comforter that needed laundering, and I was excited by the prospect of sipping a cappuccino while I waited for it to be washed.

Walking into the place, I admittedly felt the nerves of a new kid walking into the first day of school. There was a lot I needed to learn. Where would I get change? What size washer would my bulky comforter fit in? Where should I put my laundry basket so it was out of the way? And where were the restrooms?

These questions were graciously answered by The Commons staff members. I could get change from the quarter machine just beyond the coffee counter. They thought my comforter would fit in a four-load washer (it did, but barely, so I opted for a six-load washer). I could put my laundry basket in one of the wheely laundry carts they provided and wheel it over to where I was sitting. And the restrooms were through the exit door at the back of the shop and required a key for entrance. (May knowing this information ease your new-kid jitters should you decide to visit!)

Those staff members were welcoming from the get-go. They greeted me right when I walked into The Commons, explaining how I got a free coffee or tea just for doing laundry (how cool is that?). If I preferred one of the specialty drinks instead, they explained, I’d receive a $2 discount on one of those.

In addition to offering a variety of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, The Commons serves food, including delicious-looking cookies, pastries, ice creams, smoothies, and sandwiches. A drop-off laundry service is also offered.

Once I figured out how to use the washers (which was easier than I’d expected), I used the $2 discount to order that cappuccino I’d dreamed of. I sipped it in a seat at the end of the barista counter, reading as I did and listening to patrons I presumed were regulars chatting with the staff and each other. There was a convivial spirit to their interactions that I found heartwarming. According to its website, The Commons aims to act as a community space. It appears to be achieving that aim.

Did some of that community spirit rub off on me? Walking into The Commons with my laundry basket, I was stopped by a man driving by who asked if I’d like help carrying the load in. I was touched by his generosity. And a fellow patron chatted me up for several minutes while waiting for his drink. Who knows, maybe with another visit or two, I’ll be a part of the fold!

7900 Mack Ave.

Detroit, MI 48214

www.thecommonsdetroit.com