As Detroit continues to experience transformative redevelopment and population regrowth, quality coffee has provided its fair share of the fuel. Over the past decade alone, more than a dozen specialty roasters and third wave cafes have opened alongside the longstanding coffee roasters and retailers who have managed to survive through good economic times and bad.
As the city itself is being reshaped, many specialty cafes and roasters are focused on their immediate surroundings, catering to neighborhoods that may be new to specialty coffee while offering safe public spaces and pushing the creative coffee envelope. It is a veritable belle époque for coffee in Detroit and its immediate suburbs — or, to borrow a more locally identifiable term, a coffee renaissance.
Here we present 21 of Detroit’s finest coffee shops and roasters, including several enduring stalwarts of the Southeastern Michigan specialty coffee scene, plus a host of relative newcomers:
Ashe Supply Co. – 1555 Broadway St. (map it)
Owned by Detroit natives AJ Nichols and Mike Kennedy, Ashe Supply Co. provides specialty roasted coffee inside of a poshly decorated cafe on the ground floor of the historic Madison Building. Vintage motorcycle gear is scattered throughout the space, while a 5-kilo U.S. Roaster Corp. churns out freshly roasted coffees in the corner.
Ashe offers its single-origin coffees and a house blend through Hario V60 pourovers, Fetco batch brews, and espresso-based drinks prepared on a Rancillio Classe 5 machine. Cold brew made in-house is served in tall glasses over ice, or packed to-go in classic blue bottles, an homage to one of the first coffee houses established in Vienna, Blue Bottle. Artwork usually hangs on the north facing wall accompanied by retro stickers, postcards, and coffee-wax candles.
(further reading: Made in Detroit, Roaster and Clothier ASHE Supply Co.)
Cairo Coffee – 2712 Riopelle St. (map it)
Nestled within Savvy Chic boutique store in Eastern Market, multiroaster cafe Cairo Coffee serves up roasts the likes of Counter Culture (North Carolina), Cafe Grumpy (New York) and Metric Coffee (Chicago). Owner Monica Isaacs has been working in specialty coffee for more than 15 years and focuses especially on coffees roasted outside the Detroit area.
“There aren’t a lot of shops out here and we want to try and offer new and unique coffees to Detroit,” said Isaacs. “It’s nice to support our local friends, too, but there’s a lot of room for different coffees and offerings.”
Isaacs worked and trained with Counter Culture coffee in Washington D.C. for several years before relocating to Detroit where she opened Cairo. The bar offers single-origin espresso-based drinks made on a La Marzocco GB3 and pourover offerings through Beehive drippers. Cairo also offers a selection of tea and pastries, and a small library filled with an eclectic collection of books available to borrow.
Anthology Coffee – 1948 Division St. (map it)
Anthology Coffee is located in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, where it serves exclusively single-origin, single-variety coffees for pourovers, batch brews, and espresso-based drinks. Anthology’s new space is decorated with furniture from neighboring posh furniture store, Floyd, and shares the location with an architecture firm. Anthology is co-owned by Detroit natives Josh Longsdorf, Annie Longsdorf and Hernan Juarez-Martinez.
The Commons – 7900 Mack Ave. (map it)
The Commons is a specialty cafe and laundromat serving its own proprietary blend roasted by Michigan’s Populace Coffee. The shop has been operating behind a storefront on Mack Avenue Community Church’s (MACC) community space on Detroit’s east side since 2017.
Jesse Bandfield, manager and co-designer of the cafe, said, “Traditionally a person wouldn’t think to get a good cup of coffee in a laundromat, but we’re trying to break the norms.”
The Commons has several meeting rooms and provides educational, business and legal classes and seminars for residents. Bandfield also mentioned that the cafe provides profit-sharing and benefits for employees. Coffee is served as Fetco batch brew and espresso-based drinks prepped on a La Marzocco Linea. Pastries are supplied from Avalon Bread Company.
Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters – 1220 Griswold St. (map it)
Originally founded in Rochester Hills by Nathan Hamood, Dessert Oasis opened its second cafe in downtown Detroit’s Capitol Park, serving a variety of single-origin offerings through V60 pourovers, espresso made on a 2-group Slayer Espresso, and Fetco batch brews. The cafe’s bar is a semi-circle, which creates an open feel for guests. Dessert Oasis also provides baked goods and cakes from their bakery in Royal Oak, just just north of Detroit.
Bikes and Coffee – 1521 Putnam St. (map it)
As its name might suggest, Bikes & Coffee is a coffee shop and bicycle shop hybrid run by Detroit native Ben Kehoe, serving pourovers and espresso with coffees from Ypsilanti-based Hyperion Coffee. B&C offers full-service bicycle repairs seven days a week, alongside locally produced pastries, cold beverages, and breakfast burritos, which are served on the weekends.
The shop cat, Mr. Port Austin, can be found perusing the cafe and following Kehoe around as he performs bicycle repairs and checks in on the coffee bar. Whether you’re a cyclist, a coffee drinker or a cat lover, B&C provides a welcoming space for all. Said Kehoe, “The goal is to provide a space for Detroit residents to relax and enjoy good coffee, and hopefully get their bike tuned up.”
(further reading: The Rubber Meets the Road for Bikes & Coffee in Detroit)
Urban Bean – 200 Grand River Ave. (map it)
As one of the longest standing specialty cafes in Detroit, Urban Bean and its co-owner Josh Greenwood have been slinging coffee out of a two-story corner building since 2001. If you arrive early enough, you can snag a Honeybee breakfast burrito or a Dutch Girl donut (both Detroit staples) before they sell out. Urban Bean serves roasts from Michigan’s White Pine Coffee for pourovers, batch brews, espresso and cold brew while offering a variety of tea and cold beverages from other local businesses. Urban Bean accepts all forms of payment, including Bitcoin, and during the evenings Greenwood opens the second floor to live DJs and musical performances.
Germack Coffee Roasting – 2517 Russell St. (map it)
Originally a pistachio roasting company, Germack has been in business for 95 years and has always roasted nuts on a 250-pound-capacity coffee roaster, finally adopting coffee roasting in 2012 (don’t worry, they purchased a new, smaller roaster for their coffee operation). Germack simultaneously opened a coffee shop located within Detroit’s Eastern Market, operating as an espresso bar, spice and tea shop, serving single-origin and blended offerings using Melitta drip brewers, Fetco batch brewers and a Synesso espresso machine. There is also a large supply of brewing equipment for sale to home brewing enthusiasts .
New Order Coffee Roasters – 3100 Woodward Ave. (map it)
Known for beautifully designed cafes and delicious alternative lattes, New Order Coffee Roasters brings a bright, cheery vibe to the Detroit Cafe scene. Owned by Liz Rose, New Order uses Javabed roasters and roasts to order, right behind the coffee bar. There is typically has at least six single-origin coffees on offer.
New Order’s flagship cafe in Midtown Detroit has an array of brewing equipment, serving with Modbar pourovers, quick cups from Franke Evolution A800 automated brewers, and espresso-based drinks from a Synesso Hydra machine.
The Red Hook – 8025 Agnes St. (map it)
Located within the historic Indian Village just east of downtown Detroit, The Red Hook is a multiroaster cafe serving an array of specialty roasters such as San Francisco-based Ritual, Colorado-based Sweet Bloom, and South Florida-based Panther Coffee. Red Hook also consistently uses New York roaster Parlor Coffee and Portland’s Stumptown for espresso-based drinks. Pourovers are brewed on Hario V60s and espresso-based drinks are prepared on a 2-Group La Marzocco Linea. Red Hook’s pastries are baked in-house at their first location, and given their deliciousness, they tend to sell out.
Astro Coffee – 2124 Michigan Ave. (map it)
Known for a welcoming, low-key atmosphere and lo-fi musical playlists, Astro Coffee has been serving coffee, pastries and sandwiches in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood since 2011. Owners Jessica Hicks and Dai Hughes recently ditched the multiroaster model and began roasting their own on a 15-kilo Probat just down the road in a 1,500-square-foot facility. The roastery also offers some retail on site a few days a week, providing customers with coffee and pastries.
Astro’s newest venture and sister business, Ochre Bakery, supplies baked goods created by Hicks along with Astro’s roasted coffee. At the main shop, offerings rotate on a weekly basis, with single-origin espresso-based drinks made with a 3-group Synesso and pourovers using a Kalita Wave drippers. Astro has a steady supply of deliciously baked bread and some of the best quiche around.
(further reading: Detroit’s Astro Coffee Finds Probat in Space, Launches Roastery)
The Bottom Line Coffee House – 4474 3rd Ave. (map it)
The Bottom Line is a downtown favorite downtown, serving Detroit-roasted Anthology Coffee with a mission to provide a safe, comfortable place for the guests, particularly those among the LGBT community and people of color within the city. Bottom Line Co-Owner Noura Ballout, who identifies as a queer person of color, said one of the main goals of TBL is to uplift black and Arab solidarity by providing safe, comfortable meeting spaces that accommodate anyone who needs a sense of home. TBL provides fair wages and benefits to staff. Said Ballout, “Our community begins with believing in our members and we’re out to do just that.”
Batch brew is offered alongside pourover offerings from Hario V60s, and espresso-based drinks served from a La Marzocco Linea with syrups and spice blends made in-house. There are open mics and poetry readings on a weekly basis, and a den allows customers the chance to retreat and zone out to vinyl records or books from the shop’s rotating library.
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting – 3965 Woodward Ave. (map it)
Founded in 1994 by Greg and Lisa Miracle, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company operates a roastery located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, which supplies numerous retail locations around the city. In 2012, Great Lakes opened a cafe in Midtown Detroit with a European vibe, serving specialty coffee through pourovers or as batch brews alongside craft beer, wine and cocktails. The coffee station situated upon a lengthy wooden bar includes a La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine next to a curated selection of wines, tap beer and craft cocktails. Adjacent to the bar is a huge wall map of the world, showcasing the current coffee offerings. There is a full kitchen offering a variety of breakfast and lunch options, and live music is usually happening on the weekends. The company recently launched a new cold brew.
Trinosophes – 1464 Gratiot Ave. (map it)
Trinosophes is a cafe, art gallery, music venue and breakfast joint all wrapped in one cozy space just outside of downtown Detroit on Gratiot Ave. The shop recently partnered with Warda Pâtisserie to renovate its cafe space while bulking up its coffee and food offerings. The shop also partners with Cold Truth for ice cream in the warmer months. Trinosophes is owned by former Detroit Metro Times art editor and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) Deputy Director Rebecca Mazzie and her partner Joel Peterson. Established in 2013, Trinosophes concentrates on Detroit suppliers, serving local roasters like Anthology and featuring local musicians and artists.
Lucky Detroit – 2000 Michigan Ave. (map it)
A newcomer on the block, Lucky Detroit was started by the owners of Detroit Barbers, Chad and Jami Buchanan, in late 2018, along with longtime friend and coffee professional Patrick McDermott. Lucky resides on the second floor above Detroit Barbers and is decorated with antique furniture, including a coffee bar made from a reclaimed butchers block. A taxidermy moose head hangs in one corner and there is outdoor seating in the building’s private back courtyard. McDermott runs the cafe with a 1-group La Marzocco Linea while serving pourovers with a custom-made glass V60 stand and dripper, plus a Chemex.
The shop’s roasted coffees are from Michigan-based Populace Coffee and Portland-based Dapper & Wise. There are various snacks and sweets available, with comfortable, antique chairs and recliners in which to relax while listening to the hip-hop playlists curated by the barbers below.
Oloman Cafe – 10215 Joseph Campau Ave. (map it)
Located in the city of Hamtramck, which is surrounded by Detroit, Oloman is a cafe and art gallery hybrid run by photographer Zlatan Sadikovic and his son Ivan. The owners maintain a rotating art gallery while serving coffees roasted by White Pine and Germack for batch brew, pourover and espresso, with a variety of pastries. Zlatan Sadikovic is typically present in the mornings, discussing local art happenings and events, sipping an espresso and listening to classical or lo-fi sounds from the shop’s vintage sound system.
Populace Coffee – 1509 Broadway St. (map it)
Bay City roaster Populace Coffee recently opened a compact coffee counter inside the lobby of the beautifully renovated Siren Hotel, offering a rotating menu of single-origins and blends exclusively for takeout. Pastries are available from Detroit based Sister Pie bakery. While the cups may be to go, customers are encouraged to hang out and soak up the vintage atmosphere of the Siren Hotel, which features glimpses of Detroit’s upper-crust society before the Great Depression crushed the city, with impressive architecture and a massive 670-piece glass chandelier that looms over a curved marble bar in the adjacent Candy Bar room.
Madcap Coffee – 1413 Farmer St. (map it)
Well-known Grand Rapids roaster Madcap Coffee opened the doors to its first Detroit location earlier this year. Located within the Shinola Hotel and designed by longtime designer Seth Herman, the shop was nine years in the making for owners Trevor Corlett and Ryan Knapp.
The shop offers pourover through Kalita Wave drippers, Fetco batch brew and espresso-based drinks through a La Marzocco Strada. Madcap is continuing its tradition of offering a coffee blend for espresso, rotating single-origins for both pourover and espresso, while offering a specialty drinks menu with options such as the coffee cola, an espresso mixed with locally sourced cola, cardamom, and an orange peel.
Town Hall Caffe – 19180 West Grand River Ave. (map it)
Owned by young entrepreneurs Cody Williams and Lindsay Marr, Town Hall Caffe is located on the outskirts of Detroit in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood, operating as a cafe and as a community gathering space where residents can participate in crafting groups, yoga and other activities. Town Hall recently underwent some renovations in Fall 2018 and has continued to offer locally sourced coffee and espresso from White Pine Coffee, including blends and single-origins. Tea and pastries are also provided with occasional food pop-ups on the weekends, when the owners occasionally lead coffee tastings and brewing classes.
Stella Good Coffee – 3011 W Grand Blvd. (map it)
Revamped in 2013 inside of Detroit’s iconic Fisher Building, Stella Good Coffee‘s cafe includes repurposed Detroit materials that combine for a uniquely modern look. The counter top is sourced from 150-year-old Michigan Douglas Fir Pinewood, salvaged from Detroit homes built back in 1905. Below the counter rests the original marble floors that were laid in 1928. Pourovers come through Bee House drippers, with batch brew and espresso also on offer. Pastries come from Avalon International Breads and Traffic Jam & Snug as well as homemade soups from Eastern Market’s Russell Street Deli.
Narrow Way Cafe – 19331 Livernois Ave. (map it)
Co-owners Jonathan and David Merritt opened The Narrow Way Café with the goal of providing coffee in a stress-free environment for Detroit residents. The Merritt brothers opened the cafe with their father, Andrew, who serves as the bishop at the local church. The cafe has a beautiful wooden coffee bar backed by white tiled walls and a hardwood floor, serving Zingerman’s Coffee alongside other local roasters for batch brew and espresso.
(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified James Cadariu as one of the owners of Great Lakes Coffee Co. Great Lakes was founded by Greg and Lisa Miracle.)