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In Michigan, Mo Coco’s Rural Roasts Offers Full City and Much More

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Maureen and Chloe Woods inside the new Mo Coco’s Rural Roasts cafe in Merrill, Michigan. All images courtesy of Mo Coco’s. 

The mother-daughter team of Maureen and Chloe Woods has brought the wide world of specialty coffee home to the small town of Merrill, Michigan, with the opening of their roastery cafe and bakery, Mo Coco’s Rural Roasts.

Showcased against a black hexagon tile backdrop is the company’s black-and-gold San Franciscan SF-6 roaster, which stands between seating areas in the approximately 2,300-square-foot cafe involved an approximately three-year remodel. 

The tile pops out against the original tan-colored bricks that create a generally warm tone throughout the shop.

Mo Cocos roaster Merrill MI

“We chose earthy tones to bring light to the space without taking away from the greenery from our many live plants throughout,” Chloe Woods told Daily Coffee News. “We also chose to do a honeycomb black tile behind the coffee roaster to highlight the beauty of the roaster itself.”

Graduating college just as COVID-19 shutdowns started spreading across the nation, Chloe Woods moved back in with her family. It was at that time that she and her mother Maureen, then an ultrasound sonographer, devised a plan for Mo Coco’s.

“Neither of us have previous experience in the coffee industry, but we have been avid coffee lovers for years,” Chloe said.

inside Mo Cocos merrill mi

Driven by her penchant for working closely with people and making meaningful connections, Maureen attended roasting seminars at Black Diesel Coffee in Ann Arbor. Both women studied the craft through online courses, as well as in-person training with Saginaw-Midland-Bay City-based Live Oak Coffee. The Woodses share duties on the SF-6 in Merrill, working with green coffees purchased through Minneapolis-based Cafe Imports.

“Our client base tends to lean towards medium to darker roasts, so we look for beans with profiles that correspond well with that roast type,” said Chloe. “We’re intrigued by farms that highlight women producers, as well as fair trade practices.”

San Franciscan roasted coffee

Drinks are prepared a 2-group Simonelli Aurelia Wave espresso machine, Fetco batch brewer and Chemex manual pourover brewers. Muffins, cinnamons rolls and savory breakfast items are baked from scratch in the onsite kitchen where Mo Coco’s also crafts all its own syrups. Coffee sales are all local for now, though the Woodses have their sights set on customers beyond their small village near the center of “the mitten.”

“In the near future, we would like to offer online ordering of our beans and merchandise,” Chloe said. “We are both very passionate about the roasting side of the business so long term we want to grow that to be the main focus of the business. And we look forward to highlighting new and fun activities and classes in our space.”

Chloe and Maureen Woods Mo Cocos

Mo Coco’s Coffee is located at 104 E. Saginaw Street in Merrill. Tell DCN’s editors about your new coffee shop or roastery here

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