"Some girls just want to have fun. I just want to have coffee."
It's been a little while since I've blogged about one of my coffee travels, so this blog is dedicated to my favourite Michigan roaster, Madcap Coffee.
Madcap was founded in 2008 in Grand Rapids, MI at 98 Monroe Center by two friends, Ryan Knapp and Trevor Corlett. Their original cafe became the hub of their operations with a full-on roasting program packed into the cramped, hot basement. Now, eleven years later, they have four cafe locations in West Michigan as well as a separate roastery. Three of the cafes are in Grand Rapids along with the roastery, and one is in the Shinola Hotel complex in downtown Detroit. They specialize in seasonal coffees named after the farmer who produces the beans. The cafes are focused on the science of coffee brewing. Everything from the mineral content in the water to the brewing temperature is carefully controlled. To keep this consistent, Madcap baristas undergo an extensive training process to learn the coffee menu including up to nine months of supervision before getting to operate an espresso machine.
I read an article on Eater Detroit that said, "Before founding Madcap, Corlett was a regular competitor in national barista competitions and frequently ranked in the top three contestants. Although the drink recipes were popular with judges, they rarely ever made it in front of customers. Corlett says he wanted to change that by working those one-off recipes onto the menu as a quarterly rotating menu of “signature drinks.” Customers can expect options like the Bridesmaid — a reference to Corlett always coming in second or third in competition — espresso, carrot puree, blood orange juice, and a brûléed grapefruit garnish."
I took this from their website and I feel it correctly describes the vibe in their cafes...
"Serving good coffee is about following a process. Serving memorable coffee comes down to the nuances and the subtleties. Those are the places our passion resides.
The word “madcap” means unconventional, which describes the people at Madcap well. Our team is the heart and soul of Madcap. They hone their craft and bring levity to every situation. They try new things and pursue ideas that excite them. Whether at a café, through a wholesale partnership, or on our journal, we hope you learn more about the team behind the Madcap way."
I have visited their original location in Grand Rapids a couple times and on my last visit to Grand Rapids I checked out their location in the indoor Grand Rapids Downtown Market. Both were fantastic! Last week I stopped at their Detroit location (for the third time) to do some work, and the experience was equally great.
Every experience I've had in any of their locations has been positive. The staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They seem like they genuinely enjoy being there. The coffee is consistently delicious. I've tried several of their pour overs, as well as their espresso and milk-based drinks - all top notch. You can tell they are very calculated and specific in their brewing techniques.
Their Detroit location is clean, sleek and minimalistic with white interior and big windows. It's great if it's nice out because the cafe opens up with a serving area accessible from the outside. There's not a lot of seating inside the cafe. There's two long standing tables and just some bar seating, and to be honest, it's not very comfortable. But they do have lots of outdoor seating, which is perfect for people watching on a nice sunny day in downtown Detroit. My only hesitation is the parking - I don't like to pay for parking and sometimes it can be a pain to find a spot. But here's a tip - they will validate your parking for up to 2 hours if you park in the Z garage, which is only a block away. So that's what I did. You just have to ask for a voucher when you order.
"Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee"... so if you're looking for some good coffee in Michigan I highly recommend Madcap!