Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 54 of 107

G R A N D R A P I D S C O F F E E R O A S T E R S After a short drive from downtown, I found myself in a shabby warehouse district looking for Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters. Thankfully, upon receiving my "I'm lost and confused" phone call, owner and roaster Craig Patterson happily greeted me at the entrance. I was ushered into a massive freight elevator, and it didn't take long before I smelled the familiar scent of roasting coffee. Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters is a haven, perhaps made even more cheerful in contrast to the dilapidated exterior of its warehouse (although Craig has plans to move locations in the next few months). As a microroaster, the company offers both blends and single origins that are Fair Trade–organ- ic-certifi ed, and supply these to local Grand Rapids cafés such as Wealthy St. Bakery and Mayan Buzz. Business is good for Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters; Craig's proud of the upgraded 12-kilo Diedrich roaster he recently installed. Although I was lucky enough to be welcomed in during my surprise Monday af- ternoon visit, I have plans to return for Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters' famous Saturday Experience, wherein locals and tourists alike delight in having Craig create a custom-blend- ed roast right in front of them. O U T S I D E C O F F E E C O . My fi nal stop of the day was the ingenious Outside Coffee Co., a café that operates out of a vintage camper parked in a community garden. You simply grab your drink at the counter and enjoy it in the surrounding outdoor space, which is indulgently cute. In the summer, the garden is covered in Adirondack chairs, tables, and hammocks. In the winter (yes, Outside Coffee Co. is open year-round, a miracle considering Michigan winters), you can sip your brew in a heated igloo. It would be a bit challenging to roast from the tiny camper, so Outside Coffee Co. brews Ferris Coffee. In complete transpar- ency, I was over-caffeinated by this point, so I tried the hibiscus iced tea, which was just what I needed. And having previously drunk their coffee while seated in a heated igloo in a mid-November blizzard, I can still confi rm it's worth braving the elements (no matter what those elements are). I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing your own coffee crawl of Grand Rapids, unless of course you're into a palpitating heart or decaf, and/or if you can spread it out over a couple of days. Instead, I hope my ex- perience can inform your own visits to Grand Rapids; I know I'll be back to my favorites soon. Oh, and that stuff about coffee saving Michigan? That might be hard to prove, but the thriving coffee scene in Grand Rapids is surely testament to a fl ourishing city. Besides its many blends and carefully selected single origins, Grand Rapids Coff ee Roasters welcomes consumers for its regular Saturday Experience events, in which owner and roaster Craig Pa erson creates personalized blends and roasts them for customers right then and there. 55

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