ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s pretty common to put your face on a sticker or a T-shirt, but what about a cappuccino?
BeanBerry Cafe, Ann Arbor’s latest hangout spot on Main St., offers just that. Having opened in mid-October, the cafe offers a range of beverages from bubble tea to espresso drinks as well as food; however, the star of the show is its “selfiecchino” machine.
With a quick scan of a QR code, the machine can print an image onto the top of a foamy drink using coffee essence. Having only been opened for a few weeks, the new coffee shop has drawn crowds excited at the idea of putting their faces on a drink.
Co-owned by brothers Wes and Issa Baiz, BeanBerry Cafe aims to become a destination for students, professionals and visitors, and not just because of their image-producing machine.
In keeping with their business missions of being environmentally friendly, the brothers wanted to make a community space.
“You notice that in downtown Ann Arbor, what you find a lot of is that young professionals or older professionals are coming here - you don’t see many students. We wanted to give an environment where, yes those same people can come, but maybe get some of the students to come. And really, build a community around this place,” said Wes Baiz.
“One of the things I really love about Ann Arbor is that it’s so diverse, so we were like ‘How can we create [something] that people from all walks of like -- younger, older, anybody from all walks of life -- can come here and this is a comfortable environment for them.”
A mural on the wall even reflects a cartoonish version of Ann Arbor with its iconic landmarks.
Baiz said that he and the staff love seeing friends come into to see the new space. Visitors are always welcome to ask for help or ask for a photo of themselves and their coffee caricatures.
On top of the well-loved selfiecchino machine -- it’s so loved that Baiz said the shop is getting a second machine -- BeanBerry Cafe also offers bubble waffles.
A fun twist on traditional waffles, the cafe’s vanilla or chocolate waffles can be curled into a cone shape, and stuffed with things like cupcakes, candy, macarons and ice cream. Guests who can’t decide between the cafe’s signature waffles can customize their own creations using numerous topping choices.
Having been inspired by waffles the brothers saw in Hong Kong, they noticed that the fun dessert was missing from the area.
“So, you see it a little bit on the West coast, a tiny bit on the East Coast, like in New York or California, but around here you don’t,” said Baiz explaining why the brothers brought it to BeanBerry Cafe.
The newest addition to Ann Arbor’s coffee scene also tries to be as environmentally friendly as possible. It uses compostable cups and bamboo straws, as well as using organically grown coffee and teas.
Baiz said that, on top of using environmentally friendly products, 25 percent of proceeds are donated to organizations that help poverty-stricken areas and environmental cleanup initiatives -- something the owners hope to expand on, as their own business expands.
According to Baiz, the space on Main St. took over a year to plan and develop. Despite the lengthy process, Baiz, who also owns other businesses with his brother, said that opening BeanBerry Cafe has been a hard but rewarding experience.
“Our experience in Ann Arbor, working with the city, working with the people, the contractors, has been the best experience we’ve had. It’s been the smoothest experience we’ve had.”
Baiz said that they felt welcomed and supported by the city as they gained momentum from planning to building stages before their opening, which has really inspired them to reinvest in the city.
BeanBerry Cafe is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
BeanBerry Cafe is at 305 S. Main St.