“Drifter Gooseneck” may sound like the work of a distracted barista, but at one new coffee destination in Ferndale, Michigan, it actually describes the opposite: a focused combination of quality roasting and quality retail.
Roasting company Gooseneck Coffee Co. has moved its 2-kilo Mill City Roasters roasting equipment into a 600-square-foot greenhouse-like structure located at the back of the new brick-and-mortar Drifter Coffee cafe.
Drifter Coffee Director of Media and Events Delainie Wheeler told Daily Coffee News that Drifter, which first rolled out its mobile coffee “caboose” in 2015, befriended the good folks of Gooseneck not long after they launched their company in 2017.
“It just turned out that they needed a space to roast, and we needed roasters… Fate” said Wheeler. “We are still independent companies. #DrifterxGooseneck is just a wonderful collaboration.”
Patrons in the recently opened 1,600-square-foot cafe can avail themselves of the fruits of that collaboration in the form of drip brewed on a Fetco batch brewer or espresso extraction on a 2-group La Marzocco Linea. Drifter’s house espresso remains the same blend by Ypsilanti-based Hyperion Coffee that’s been served through the window of the trailer for the past four years, though Gooseneck-roasted beans play prominently as well.
“Eric from Hyperion actually provided our staff with espresso machine training and theory,” said Wheeler. “Gooseneck roasts our house roast, the Divine Goddess Blend, which we have available on drip and iced. They also roast our pourover beans and decaf. Our shop is all about community, so we try to source from all kinds of local small-businesses.”
Plants do grow in the greenhouse where Bill Streicher and Noah Salter operate Gooseneck. Wheeler said lively plant life freshens up the space, where customers can catch a glimpse of the roasters at work through a window. Meanwhile, in the cafe, the retro-styled interior is intended to strike a chord reminiscent of the 1971 Serro Scotty trailer Drifter used to call home.
Ferndale’s Five Eighths Architecture led the interior design, which prominently features the brand’s pink and teal colors, as well as retro tropical wallpaper, and natural wood accents and surfaces.
“Our cafe has a similar vibe to our coffee caboose, which is very 70s and full of sunshine,” said Wheeler. “We also uphold values of inclusivity, community, diversity, and love for humans of all kind. And of course, we love a bit of girl power, since we are female owned and operated.”
Somewhat ironically, Streicher told DCN that Gooseneck’s next project is to establish a mobile cart of its own, for setting up Gooseneck coffee service at the Plymouth farmers market and other catering or popup events. Drifter, meanwhile, happy to drift less and lean into its sturdy home base.
“We’re just going to invest as much time and energy into making good coffee and connecting with our community,” said Wheeler. “We’re really excited to try new blends and learn a thing or two about roasting from Noah and Bill. Hopefully we’ll be able to expand in the future, but we’re really excited to have this first brick-and-mortar. We’re taking one day at a time and soaking it all in.”
Drifter Coffee and Gooseneck Coffee are located at 770 Woodward Heights in Ferndale, Michigan.