🔒Get caffeinated on a coffee road trip across Michigan

Whether it’s a quick shot of espresso or a foamy cappuccino, those daily coffee drinks can add up. (Provided by Consumer Reports)

Hello Click On readers,

I’m Elizabeth, Local 4′s newest digital producer.

If you are like me and super into coffee and LOVE road trips, you need to hear about the most caffeinated week of my life.

A couple of years ago, before the pandemic, a friend of mine went on a coffee road trip across Michigan. The idea sparked when her family was planning on owning their own shop. When it comes to opening a business, you need inspiration. So we mapped out all the coffee shops we wanted to hit up that we had never been to before. The road trip was even more special because my friend had never left Metro Detroit. So on top of trying new coffee shops, I was able to be a tour guide for her across the Mitten.

Coffee shops are essential to communities. It’s where people can hide from the rest of the world or a place where they can converse with the people that they love. Many people find that coffee shops are just a place to get coffee, but it is more than that.

As community is a significant aspect of these establishments, and that’s why we wanted to check out shops in more highly populated areas with all walks of life. So we decided to stick to mid-Michigan and the west side of the state. We made so many fun memories and met so many great people passionate about the craft of espresso.

If you are looking for a fun road trip or planning on visiting these locations, check out these coffee shops:

Great Lakes Bay Region

Populace Coffee Roasters

  • This coffee roaster is spread out across the Mitten, with its main location in Bay City. The Siren Hotel in Detroit hosts their beans. Populace is very involved with the Bay City community and is a huge fan of Lake Huron.

Espresso Express Coffee House presents ‘Beatles And Beans Coffee Emporium’

  • This coffee shop is what Beatle fans dream of. Located in downtown Bay City, wall-to-wall with Beatles memorabilia. This coffee shop has a funky schedule, so when visiting, check the times they are open via their Facebook page.

Red Eye Coffee

  • Located in Saginaw, when I went to Central Michigan University for the first couple of years of my college career, two of my really good friends were from Saginaw. We would visit the Great Lakes Bay Region and making a stop in Red Eye Coffee was always a must. I have fond memories of coming here after random indie shows at Counter Culture or my roommate getting her tattoos from across the street at the Drunken Monkey.

Frankenmuth Kaffee Haus

  • Located in downtown Frankenmuth. Rumor has it that Greta Van Fleet used to jam here. The coffee served at this spot is great when visiting the Bavarian town.

Mount Pleasant

Pleasant City Coffee

  • This quaint coffee shop is located in downtown Mount Pleasant by the Chippewa River. If you are in the area and looking for a brunch spot, they serve both sweet and savory crepes.

Ponder Coffee Company

  • This coffee shop now has two locations, downtown Mount Pleasant and by north campus in the old Dreamer Coffee building.

Grand Rapids

Madcap Coffee Company

  • The main reason why we went to Madcap was due to us seeing the aesthetically pleasing coffee shop photos on Tumblr back in the early 2010′s.

Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge

  • This coffee shop is probably one of my favorite coffee shops in the state. Great staff, fantastic coffee, and the environment are one of the many reasons why every time I visit GR, I make a stop.

Sparrows Coffee

  • This shop is right off a college campus, and many young people like to hang out here and study. The inside of the shop has a very rustic vibe with a lot of greenery, making it pleasant to hang out in.

Common Ground Grand Rapids

  • They claim to be one of the oldest coffee shops in GR. This shop makes a variety of specialty drinks and serves baked goods from Schnitz bakery.

Kalamazoo

Caffè Casa

  • I loved visiting this coffee shop because they grew so many plants and had lemon trees! By this time in our trip, I was tired of espresso, but they serve Italian sodas, which were a 10/10 in my book.

Factory Coffee House

  • This gem is hidden in a neighborhood away from downtown Kalamazoo. Near the old Gibson guitar factory, this sustainable coffee shop offers more than espresso lattes. The Factory Coffee House has many events, including yoga and ceramic group sales.

Water Street Coffee

  • This spot is most likely what a Kalamazoo resident will recommend when looking for local coffee. With locations all over the Kalamazoo area, young professionals and college students like to camp here and get work done. They have coffee beans imported from worldwide, which gives sipping coffee a unique experience.

Lansing

Strange Matter Coffee

  • A go-to whenever I am visiting our state’s capital. Located off Michigan Avenue, this coffee shop is a staple to the Lansing and East Lansing community.

Blue Owl Coffee

  • Recently expanding into East Lansing, this REO Town coffee spot adds coziness to the Washington Avenue strip. This is an excellent spot for people to hang out and grab a cup of joe, especially when an art event is happening in the area.

Social Sloth Cafe and Bakery

  • This Turkish cafe makes coffee and tea different from the other shops in the area. Having a Meditteranean twist makes this downtown Lansing location unique in its own way.

Ann Arbor

Lab Cafe

  • If you are looking for a perfect coffee shop for the ‘gram, this spot in AA is one to check out. The Lab Cafe gives UofM students a great atmosphere to hang out with a very minimalistic chic look and great coffee.

Zingerman’s Coffee Company

  • A household staple in Washtenaw County. Zingerman’s gives local coffee and deli products a whole new name. With quality service and products, it makes sense why this local company is so widely known.
Credit: Matt Giles

RoosRoast Coffee

  • A funky spot on the outskirts of downtown and in downtown Ann Arbor. The coffee beans this shop sells are as unique as the names they are given. If you are looking for a new fun spot to be your go-to coffee joint, this place is a must-see.

There are a couple of coffee shops that I wish I could recommend, but during the pandemic, many closed down. If you are a big fan of supporting local businesses, I recommend going on a trip like this. Conversating with locals at a coffee shop and trying quality products usually sourced locally is a great way to know your state a little better.


About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.