Coffee Talk

. December 1, 2014.

The best beans and top spots of Washtenaw County.

By Will Morrison and David Wang

Now that the trees have dropped their leaves and the weather has cooled, it’s time to reach for a warm beverage to keep the chill at bay. And with darkness coming an hour earlier, you may also need more than your daily dose of caffeine to keep S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) from setting in. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite coffee shops in Washtenaw County. Whether you’re looking for a elephantine dose of caffeine, or just a sunny, warm (indoor) place to sit, we’ve got you covered.

19 Drips Coffee and Tea

If you’re looking for a new drip coffee, look no further than 19 Drips Coffee and Tea! Here, high-quality specialty coffee is done the right way. The small shop strives to take coffee beyond its commercial purpose by committing to sustainability and craftsmanship. With 19 Drip, coffee is an art that is created and sourced by fair-trade farmers around the world.

2263 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. 734-585-0461. 19dripscoffee.com.

Black Diesel Coffee

Black Diesel Coffee prides itself as a “third wave” independent coffee bar that serves incredible single origin coffees and loose leaf teas. Their coffee packs a strong punch that will wake up any patron! It also helps that Black Diesel also has some delicious snacks to pair with your hot cup of coffee.

1423 E. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor. 734-436-8355. blackdieselcoffee.com.

Brewed Awakenings

Brewed Awakenings has it all, from hand-crafted coffee and baked goods to soups made from scratch. The coffee here is perfected to jump start your morning (or afternoon, or evening). There are also a handful of seasonal specials that aren’t always listed on the menu, so be sure to call or visit and see what they offer!

7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline. 734-316-2084. brewedawakeningscafe.com.

Cahoots Café

Cahoots Café offers a modern ambiance with modern coffee. Located in the historic Kleinschmidt Insurance Building, the café offers plenty of street and garage parking for anyone interested in trying their coffee. They offer seasonal favorites that are changing and a rotating selection of pastries from Milk and Honey that are offered Wednesday through Saturday.

206 E. Huron St. Suite 2, Ann Arbor. 734-249-8898. cahootscafe.com.

Comet Coffee

Tucked away among the shops of the Nickels Arcade, Comet is Ann Arbor’s specialty coffee gem. The front door is flanked by two small counters and a couple of tables. Walk inside the compact shop and you’ll find yourself greeted with the intoxicating smell of freshly pulled espresso. Take one step forward and you’re in line to order. Check out the day’s menu and choose a drip coffee from some of the country’s best specialty roasters like Ritual, George Howell, Counter Culture, and Parallel. Peruse their selection of home brewing devices while waiting for your drink and absorb the hip tunes floating up to the high ceiling. Have a seat, enjoy the first half of your coffee, take a moment to contemplate life, and then head back out into the world.

16 Nickels Arcade, Ann Arbor. 734-222-0579.

Cross Street Coffee

Although once named the Ugly Mug, Cross Street Coffee has changed their name but not their look. Part junk shop, part art installation, and part refurbished warehouse, Cross Street Coffee is an eclectic Ypsilanti hodgepodge that you can’t help but love. Grab a seat and take a moment to admire your surroundings. A chalk sketch of a skeleton in a suit admiring a suit being tailored by another skeleton. Wire art depicting nubile torsos in a crucifixion scene. Did we mention they sell coffee? Try the Sumatran espresso or your choice of made-to-order drip coffees. All coffee is roasted in-house, and if you like what you drink, you can buy beans to take home. Don’t leave without investigating the large side patio – even though the trees have shed their leaves, you can plot your return in the Spring.

317 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti. 734-484-4684.

Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse

Cultivate is one of the best hangout spots in Washtenaw County. The building started as an old auto shop but has since been fixed up to be an inclusive and inviting coffee shop that all patrons can enjoy. This small, community space in Ypsilanti is obsessed with crafting excellent products and experiences.

307 N. River St., Ypsilanti. 734-210-9365. cultivateypsi.com.

Drip House

The Drip House is one of Ann Arbor’s newest coffee shops, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most impressive. The coffee shop sits across the street from the UM Football Stadium and Pioneer High School, making it the perfect spot to stop at after a game. Plus, it’s run by UM and Pioneer alumni which gives it the added local bonus!

1336 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. 734-800-4135. driphousecoffee.com.

Joe and Rosie Coffee and Tea

On the corner of Main and Broad in Dexter, Joe and Rosie Coffee and Tea is a great spot to grab a cuppa or a bite to eat. A popular cyclist pit stop, we rode in from Ann Arbor on a crisp Saturday afternoon and found plentiful bike parking. It’s a cozy café, with several tables and a number of wall outlets, making it equally suitable for laptop work or a casual lunch. An impressive teapot collection of all shapes, sizes, and colors adds character while the local art on display creates a warm atmosphere. The drip coffee was flavorful and clearly a step above your average black coffee, but the star of the afternoon was the Honey Lavender Latte — easy on the honey and subtle with the lavender.

8074 Main Street, Dexter. 734-253-2344. joeandrosie.com.

lab

Lab is an all-in-one wonder on Liberty, offering specialty coffee as well as frozen yogurt and craft beer. It is rarely empty, with a solid mix of students and professionals. Seating options include a sunny bar by the window, a communal bar in the middle, tables in the back, and a smattering of chairs in the front. Aesop Rock filled the space, and activity from neighboring Tomukun adds to the lively atmosphere. It’s a place to go to be energized.

505 E Liberty St #300, Ann Arbor. 734-827-2233. labannarbor.com

Literati Coffee

What’s better than a delicious coffee paired with the perfect book? Well, not much. Literati Coffee offers patrons a chance to peruse their bookstore and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee all in one place. Coffee beans are roasted every Thursday, which gives patrons a chance to enjoy a great roast. You can take home your favorite cup of coffee and keep reading!

204 S. 4th Ave, Ann Arbor. 734-585-5652. literaticoffee.square.site.

Mighty Good Coffee

Much more than a spot to grab-and-go on your northern exit from A2, Mighty Good coffee is so good that over 20 area restaurants and businesses have partnered with them—including Mani Osteria, The Ravens Club, and the aforementioned Songbird Cafe. Away from the din of their Seattle-made Slayer espresso machine, the spacious annex, with small tables and communal seating, is a go-to workplace (strong wifi signal) for Northenders and Kerrytown residents looking to avoid the Sweetwaters hustle. From their drip to their craft coffees, the baristas, with the intensity of laboratory postdocs pouring solutions into erlenmeyer flasks, get the most out of their ethically sourced beans.

217 N Main St, Ann Arbor. 734-222-4514. mightygoodcoffee.com

RoosRoast

Roo’s Roast refers to its beans as “Free Speech Coffee,” which is a good indication of the type of coffee shop it is. In fact, signs of the distinctive personality litter the parking lot even before you enter the café. Roo’s is an intensely local company, frequenting area farmer’s markets and distributing its beans to stores and other cafes. The space is small, but there is an impressive number of seats available. The morning crowd tends to be grab and go, but it’s also a nice place to sit down with a laptop. They offer a variety of daily roasts, which you can choose to run through the espresso machine or a pourover cone.

1155 Rosewood St., Ann Arbor. 734-222-9202. roosroast.com.

Songbird Café

Tucked in a nondescript strip mall, stepping into Songbird is like entering a different world. Benches upholstered with coffee bags and tasteful decorations give a modern farmhouse feel. The brunch crowd is strong on a Sunday, and there’s a nice buzz in the air. It is a big space with a variety of seating arrangements, from cushy chairs to big tables. Wifi is off on the weekends until 3:00pm, but it is undoubtedly an excellent study spot. Songbird offers a selection of baked goods and all the standard coffee options in addition to specialty drinks. The Rosemary Seasalt latte introduces a fabulous, unique flavor profile — worth trying at least once.

2707 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor. 734-761-1555. thesongbirdcafeannarbor.com.

Vertex Coffee

A vertex is a point where two lines meet, and what better vertex in Ann Arbor than Washtenaw and South University? Vertex coffee sits right at the point where the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor communities meet, making it the ideal spot for everyone to hang out! Vertex offers the perfect spot by working to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone to enjoy high quality coffee. They have zero waste practices and usher opportunities for creativity and the art. It’s a great space for public events as well.

1135 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-489-1914. vertex-coffee.com.

Zingerman’s Café

Zingerman’s Coffee Company is hidden behind Costco, and can easily be overlooked. However, once you find this gem, you’ll never want to leave. They use six unique hand brewing methodsf to ensure the best coffee is in your cup. Plus, the beans used are responsibly sourced right before your very eyes!

3723 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor. 734-929-6060. zingermanscoffee.com.

Zou Zou’s Café

Looking for an escape? Head over to downtown Chelsea and grab a cup of coffee and an afternoon sandwich at Zou Zou. If you visit on a weekend, you’ll be joined by cyclists stopping for a break during their afternoon ride or people just back from a hike in the Pinkney Waterloo recreation area. The café’s high ceilings, large windows, and whimsical artwork create an inviting atmosphere, and its menu of sandwiches, pastries, desserts, and crepes make for a full belly. To avoid a food coma and to complete your French experience, make sure to grab a latte and a seat by the widow.

101 Main Street, Chelsea. 734-433-4226. zouzoucafe.com

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