The world holds many wonderful things. One in particular is a little slice of heaven just within your reach. It starts with the wonders of nature forming & constructing strong fruit bearing branches that support its luscious fruit. The anticipation then builds when these little formed cherries are harvested at the highest level of quality, and shipped all over the world to eager citizens like you and me. To extract the tantalizing essence we crave daily, a ritual of roasting is preformed on the fruit by only the highest trained professionals. The dried pits, or beans, are then ground up into a rough powder, at homes and businesses alike, to be put through the final process of brewing. Hot, streaming water is strained through these grounds, releasing the dark, aromatic juices we’ve all been waiting for. It’s crazy to think about how long a journey these small fruits have taken, to bring all varieties of person so much joy. Coffee brings us all together; whether it’s your life energy for the long day ahead, or just a lasting memory of sitting with your dad, trying your first steaming mug. This booklet will take you on a short journey through various coffee shops, as well as where you can experience great local brews. The journey begins here, so grab a cup of jo, and riffle onward toward coffee wonderment and awe!
czyk Lisa Talar
The Bitter End
Map of Shops in Grand Rapids
MADCAP C O F F E E C O M PA N Y
Ryan fell in love with the brewing and preparation of coffee in 2007. After co-founding Madcap with his buddy Trevor, he continued his barista passion in-house, and has won multiple competitions in the past few years of the North Central Regional Barista Competition. Ryanâ€™s coffee credentials include being a dual citizen of the Roasters Guild of America and the Barista Guild of America, as well as a Lead Instructor of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
capriciousness, recklessness or foolishness.
Trevor has had a focus in coffee since 2001 when he found out how wonderfully magical coffee shops are. He is currently involved in highly esteemed coffee groups, including being the current Vice Chair for the Barista Guild of America, a Lead Instructor for the SCAA, a subject matter expert in espresso for the SCAA, an Editorial Advisor for Barista Magazine, and a contributor to Fresh Cup Magazine.
Madcap (mad-cap): adjective marked by
The first thing you noticed when making a trip to Madcap, is the delicious perfume of freshly brewed coffee that welcomes you at the door. The warm aroma is enough to make anyone thirsty for their award-winning coffee, and will excite even the most critical coffee snobs. Owned by Trevor Corlett and Ryan Knapp since 2008, you can feel safe knowing that these two make Madcap Coffee a remarkable experience.
Madcap Coffee can be found on the corner of Monroe and Ottawa inside one of Grand Rapids oldest architectural structures. The classic 19th century building titled the Karl Aldrich Building was first home to a Fanny Farmer Candies Shop for many years, leaving the atmosphere of the building one of comfort and cheer. Preceding the candy shop, the building was in the care of esteemed druggists, John Harvey and Edward Wilson, who are responsible for the buildingâ€™s Italianate-style design and construction. Today, Madcap has maintained the structure as a landmark under the instruction of the Michigan State Historical Preservation Commission, and continues to keep the building warm and welcoming for enthusiasts of coffee, and classic architecture alike.
F A C T
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Madcap is different than most coffee shops, because they take it upon themselves to personally visit the farms where their coffee is produced. They have personally visited 75% of the farms that yield their current menu coffee, but plan on raising that number to 100 percent by 2014. They are neither Fair Trade nor Direct Trade, but have an entirely different approach to the purchase of their coffee. Madcap spends time every year visiting their producers and building relationships on the farming level. They work closely with every link in the supply-chain to ensure that quality and sustainability remain the top priorities.
NEW AMERICAN COFFEE
Rowster (row-ster): noun; someone with a strong passion for roasting coffee. Whether it’s a comfortable squishy lounge chair you desire with your aromatic mug, or a high window seat for observing the spectacular view down Wealthy St., Rowster is the epitome of relaxation. The Baristas are great as well. A Rowster barista is as close to a mad coffee scientist as it gets. Behind the bar are all types of beakers, and Chemex’s that would blow any coffee lover’s mind. Their free time is mainly experimenting with the brewing process of coffee–starting with slight variations in temperature or water. If you have questions or opinions, striking up a conversation will certainly have any of them happily chatting away with you, which helps them figure out what drink you would best like. The Baristas have more control at Rowster than most places. There is no menu board for customers to weigh coffee decisions, and Baristas make what they think you will like best, or if you know what you want, they will of course make that.
The building was built late in the 19th century and has been vacant since the mid-1990s. Before it was vacant, it was home to John Seven Paint and Wallpaper Co. for several years before being renovated by local developer, Todd Ponstein, and sold to Kurt Stauffer in 2000, when he saw a remarkable opportunity to open an exclusive roaster. The interior was completely transformed into a contemporary coffee hang out. The initial name of Rowster was Regular Coffee before it was redesigned in 2013. The call for a change was because of a competitorâ€™s name similarity, and was developed to express the businesses sole motivation, which is serving excellent quality coffee, roasted from the best beans money can buy.
F A C T
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Rowster buys just-missed lots of specialty coffee from small farms. These beans are from growers that were hoping to score 90+ points on their quality beans, but ended up getting an 85, which is still far superior to anything you will find at the grocery store. Rowster makes sure the coffee is roasted to suit multiple brew methods, water quality, temperatures and equipment so it’s delicious for personal home use, and for the shops multiple customers. When a small producer doesn’t achieve perfection, the coffee could very well end up at Starbucks, who compensate farmers with very low wages. Rowster makes it their business to pay farmers a nice premium for their beans, which are then roasted and packaged for either customers at the Rowster shop. They treat coffee honestly, and lovingly to ensure your cup of jo exceeds the highest standards. “Damn good coffee. No fuss. No pretense. And easy on the pocketbook,“ is their motto.
about other things opinions or interests shared by each of two or more parties
common ground noun: something that people agree about even if they disagree
The atmosphere is warm and comfortable enough to chat for a few hours with friends and a latte. The chairs can get stiff after a while, but the Baristas are extremely nice, and willing to make whatever your heart desires. There is a nice low tone of music that breaks up the quite atmosphere of old men strategizing over chess, and college students tapping away at their keyboardâ€“ pouring over course research. The air has hints of sweet coffee, and fresh baked goods waft in from Shnitz Bakery next door. Unlike chain coffee shops, there is no loud chatter and everyone has a shared respect for the calming atmosphere of the room.
The coffee shop in the East Fulton Neighborhood has been serving direct trade, fair trade and organic coffee more than 15 years. Due to the quiet area of East Fulton St. and the hole in the wall nature of the coffee shop, business is slow yet steady and the staff is usually one dedicated, happy barista that is ready to fill your needs. The clientele is typically regular people that enjoy a relaxing cup of excellent coffee, and due to only one available employee at any given time, itâ€™s not unheard of to wait a minute or two for someone to emerge from a rear room from managing other coffee duties. However, the good-humored Baristas make your wait worthwhile, and will chat you up while creating your drink. If you are the type of person that wants your coffee straight away, perhaps itâ€™s best to take your coffee preferences to a quicker business, like Starbucks. In the meantime, Common Ground remains to serve locally roasted coffee to patrons that enjoy sipping their latte on a snug couch to break away from a hectic workday.
D N U O R G N O O
One of the best parts about visiting Common Ground is their board of themed drink specials. The names are nothing like your typical coffee drink, and at some point you won’t be phased with ordering a “Donnie Wahlberg” or “Operation: Hot Mother.”
Common Ground offers a vast selection of coffee beans that are locally roasted in Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Lansing. Their major distributor being Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters.
COFFEE TEA & NEWSSTAND
T H E S PA R R O W
Long before The Sparrow became the unique coffee, tea, and magazine shop it is today, Joseph Huizenga owned 1035 Wealthy St. in 1910, and opened his family business, Huizenga Hardware. His son raised a family of seven in the upstairs apartment. The hardware store closed in the late 1980’s and the building fell into disrepair. Following a fire in the building, the city wanted it torn down. Through the efforts of SEED, (an organization focused on empowering residents to collaborate with community stakeholders to transform their neighborhood) the building was saved and rehabbed in 1996 by Carol Moore. “Bringing 1035 back to life was an act of love, not gentrification.” Carol took it upon herself to restore the site to its former glory, and has since sold it to creative entrepreneur Lori Slager in 2007, who is the current owner of The Sparrow. Lori wanted the business to have a “homey-vibe” with an air for creativity and relaxation. Patrons regularly come in for the extensive tea, and coffee selections, and stick around a few hours to enjoy a quiet read.
The Sparrow (sparō): noun; originally names
The Stray Dog Cafe after a 20th Century Russian cafe. Meeting place of famous writers and poets. The business has been opened and going strong since 2007 and houses an exceptional space for creativity, networking, community, and of course coffee, tea and magazines. The Baristas are very nice and knowledgeable about their drinks, and if you enjoy your down time reading, then get psyched about The Sparrow’s insanely diverse selection of periodicals that can’t be found elsewhere in Grand Rapids. The comfy atmosphere extends to the outside terrace for relaxed, sunnyside sitting with your drink in the summer months. The walls of The Sparrow house a vast collection of local art for sale from paintings, to mixed media. For those of us that just like to drink their coffee in peace, there is never a dull moment for your eyes with the wonderful art accommodating the space of The Sparrow.
F A C T
The Sparrow is one of the few places that offers great bubble tea! If you’ve never tried bubble tea, it’s worth a shot. Essentially it’s chilled tea, with little balls of either tapioca or fruit that float around, and suck up your straw for
a surprise flavor. It’s definitely a unique try if you’re feeling adventurous with your beverage. They offer green or black tea, and you can try it with or without milk. If you want to give it a try,
but are hesitant on what to order, the raspberry black tea without milk, and mango-popping bubbles is a good start to see where you stand on curious drinks.
The Sparrow remains a unique neighborhood coffee shop that serves fair trade organic coffee and 50+ loose-leaf teas from local distributors. They create their drinks using local milk from MOO-ville Milk, and purchase from the local Nantucket Bakery for their pastry needs. Coffee is brought over from Schuil Coffee, and tea from Great Lakes Tea and Chartreuse Tea.
the conclusion of a difficult or unpleasant situation.
bit•ter end noun:
For nearly 10 years, the Bitter End has been serving some of the finest coffees available to their patrons from Central America to Africa. Baristas are welcoming, and will make whatever your heart desires, whether it be on or off menu. Drinks range from coffee and tea, to real Italian sodas. The Bitter End exclusively uses organic Fair Trade beans to create their award winning lattes. If you can’t drink coffee without a dose of sugar, then be prepared for the insane amount of Torani syrups The Bitter End offers. They basically offer every flavor you could possibly want to put in your coffee. The menu includes a large array of dessert lattes, and unique beverages that suit every pallet. Can’t find something you like? Don’t worry, Baristas are quite crafty, and would love to throw a crazy flavor combo at you, whether it’s regular, or sugar-free you prefer.
The original building was constructed in 1900 as the first branch of the Kent State Bank – which later became part of the Fifth Third empire, in what now is labeled the South West Area Neighbors area. The bank was built for the working class, mostly Polish immigrants, who dominated the city’s South West side and labored in the thriving furniture factories. As the factories moved to the suburbs, the area declined and the building was eventually renovated as the Bitter End Coffeehouse in 2004. The new owners restored the building to its original 1900’s splendor and keep the building’s history alive and strong in a neighborhood that had felt the pains of neglect. The Grecian facade, leaded glass windows and restored tin ceiling, blend seamlessly with the dark, wood paneled walls, which are covered with a wide variety of photographs and artwork.
N U O R G N O M M O
Ever have one of those days where you need an unhealthy amount of caffeine to make it though? The Bitter End’s “Bullshot” is available for the most adventurous caffeine addict. I’ve never had the pleasure of ordering this aptly named caffeine bomb, probably because of my aversion to heart palpations, but if you need to stay awake the combination of espresso, Redbull, sugar, and god knows what else, will do the trick.
All of Bitter Endâ€™s beans are high shade grown Arabica beans from Africa, South and Central America and Asia. They make it their business to make sure their coffee comes from an environmentally friendly, agriculturally sustainable, and culturally sensitive manner. We use organic, Fair Trade beans wherever possible and support efforts to improve the lifestyle of the Third World coffee farmer.