Before Paul and Jared Smith came onboard, the company that became Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Co. had no coffee to speak of: it only sold chocolate by the bag, box, or individual morsel. But the brothers recognized how well their rich chocolates complemented a hot cup of joe, and by 2004 they started roasting their own beans. Today, those yield coffees such as the Black & Tan, a combination of dark and light roasts, and the Honduran High Grown, which is harvested on the wings of airplanes.
The coffees add a jolt to Great Lakes’ hot drinks, including seasonal selections such as the egg nog latte. Organic and decaf teas, as well as cold beverages such as frozen lemonade and fruit smoothies, round out the shop’s drinkable options, all of which complement this family owned and run business’ stock of sweet treats.
Though inspired by the northern California cafés of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan’s modern coffee drinkers—in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.
Coffee House Creamery is certainly not just a coffee house. Serving a vast menu that boasts more than 40 types of drinks, the café also offers 24 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, sandwiches, and paninis pressed in a grill instead of under the seat cushion of a flaming couch. Inside the spacious interior, bowls of daily-made soup and colorful salads populate tables where visitors kick back and enjoy free WiFi.
Ann Marie’s, a '50s-style eatery, hushes hunger with classic diner favourites for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The menu showcases six varietals of eggs benedict ($8.99–$10.69) and homemade muffins, granting fuzzy-brained morning eaters the recommended daily bacon necessary for neural activity. Burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches such as the pulled-pork sandwich sate overeager salivary glands ($10.29). Enjoy two complimentary cups of coffee while selecting a dessert or brunch-hour palate cleanser, such as a milkshake ($4.99) or ice-cream sundae ($5.69). A black-and-white checkerboard floor evokes a bygone era, and diners dissatisfied with modern-day buggies will appreciate the classic-car theme imbued throughout the restaurant.
Roasting and blending its coffee beans on-site, the independently owned Foggy Bottom Coffee House serves a percolating variety of rich java-inspired flavors and a host of palate-balancing sandwiches. Drink one of Foggy Bottom's coffees in the café or take home a pound to brew at home, with variations including the Killer Baboons dark roast, a spicy cup of joe with a smattering of chocolate tones ($13.13/lb.), and the Kenyan AA, with hints of mandarin orange ($14.36/lb.).
Artisanal roaster John Roos selects worthy beans from around the world that are almost always organic, fair-trade, and produced on bird-friendly farms. The loving care and tenderness he shows his caffeinated craft is evident all the way down the line: each batch of beans is roasted in small quantities before being packaged in a handsome, hand-printed bag designed by the owner himself. Choose from a bevy of brews, including favorites such as the signature sipper, Lobster Butter Love, the brooding, bittersweet Mother Pheasant Plucker, and the Rich French Neighbor, which like most actual residents of France is imbued with notes of luxurious dark chocolate (all $7/half-pound, $13/pound).