Midwest Travel Experts On 50 Best Coffee Roasters You Need to Know
"Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat." - Johann Sebastian Bach
Coffee – it’s the stuff of life – and millions of people would agree with you, including myself – and a few dozen Midwest travel experts. You see, I’m in love with small coffee roasters. Their commitment to providing the perfect roasted bean, working directly with coffee farmers, and selling fresh roasted coffee are unparalleled. No huge tin of ground coffee, but treasured bags of deliciousness, please.
Photo: Hyperion Coffee Company
I asked my friends and colleagues, Midwest travel experts all, for their best suggestions for local coffee roasters throughout America’s heartland. When I travel, I want to discover, support, and drink these local roasters, experts at their craft. Yet too often, the buzz around Third Wave coffee roasting focuses on the coasts.
This article – a reference guide to excellent small coffee roasters, some with coffee shops – aims to change that, to share our best roasters in the Midwest. They are artisans, and we are the beficiaries (thank you!). I appreciate their craft – and you will, too. Take a look…and then visit them. I'd love to hear your favorites!
Chicago - Stivers
Megy Karydes of Wandering Tastes, says, "I highly recommend Stivers in Chicago! I can't even tell you how much I buy from them every year. I love these guys. Have been drinking their coffee for years!"
Rockford - Fire Dept. Coffee
I recently tried a small batch, freshly-roasted craft coffee that is both incredibly delicious and from a company whose mission I completely support: Fire Department Coffee. The coffee is DELICIOUS. I will admit (as you can tell from this article): I am a coffee snob.THIS coffee? It will please everyone, from offices or fire stations with large coffeemakers to the home coffee enthusiast. When I am not making or drinking coffee, I dream of it. I go to sleep thinking not of breakfast, but of finishing my morning smoothie so I can have coffee. I have found that I'm even MORE interested in my coffee with FDC. It's an easy, smooth drink. And while I don't need to stay up 24 hours straight, but I have been making and drinking more than usual. It's that good.
Photo: Fire Dept. Coffee
Danville - Arcane Coffee Shop
Josh Duke, of Visit Hendricks County, referred us to this shop, via an article that notes, "The owner, Dudley Foreman, has come a long way in the last six years. He no longer roasts beans for his own sipping pleasure in an old air pop popcorn machine. No, he has his own commercial grade roaster, and this artisan micro coffee roaster sells his beans by the pound. Arcane got its start at many of the local farmers markets in Hendricks County, but after building its name and clientele, Dudley finally decided he needed a brick and mortar location. Arcane Coffee Company specializes in single-origin coffees, no blends. Single-origin means that sometimes coffee beans originate from the same region, but can even come from the same farm. Arriving green, Dudley has perfected how to roast a bean to bring out the natural hidden flavors."
Polly Bee of Let’s Love Local recommends several Indianapolis roasters:
Bee Coffee Roasters
Bee Coffee Roasters has great ambiance and adds an amazing non-chain coffee spot to downtown Indy. Named Indy's Best Coffee Roaster by Indianapolis Monthly. Bee Coffee Roasters notes: "We are a small batch coffee roaster that works to source great beans and roast them to bring out the best flavors that they contain. Bee Coffee Roasters is committed to the craft of the roasting and to the craft of the brewing. Our Baristas are always pushing their understanding and skill with the potent black brew. We hope that our passion shows through in your enjoyment.”
Tinker Coffee Co
Tinker's site states, “Tinker Coffee Co. is a specialty coffee roaster located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We're focused on roasting the finest specialty coffees from around the world and providing visitors with an awesome and educational experience.”
Photo: tinkercoffee Instagram: "This is the first in an awesome series of shots taken by the incredible @kelleyjordanphotography -- real life tasting notes!"
Mile Square Coffee Roastery
Polly says, "Mile Square Coffee has a location in City Market and fills the space with such a gorgeous aroma! You can sit on the mezzanine and watch the shoppers down below while sipping on some truly delicious roasts!"
Photo: Mile Square
Cedar Falls - Sidecar Coffee Roasters
Aaron Buzza, of Waterloo Visitors Bureau, says, "the coffee is fresh and delicious, all locally roasted. The staff is incredibly informative and take great pride in serving their coffee. They also do a wonderful job educating their customers about where the coffee is from and how it got from its origin point to your cup."
Charles City - Aromas
Travel writer Donna Hup notes, “We visited Aromas Coffee shop and the owner, Bryan Elsbury, shared about coffee beans, how they roast them, and more. He was so knowledgable and passionate.”
Photo: Donna Hup
Kansas City - Thou Mayest
Deb Brown, Executive Director at Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce, recommends the iced coffee mix and loves the owner's story and his energy and his ever growing vision for helping his community. Perhaps their website might entice you? "Thou Mayest is a coffee roasting gang of freewheeling renegades looking to shake up the ant farm. Like all awesome things, it started in a garage in 2012 and has exploded into a movement of entrepreneurs, artists, activists, business owners and shopkeeps looking for ways to do community better. Thou Mayest means "the way is open"and is seeing your life as a vast, glowing, empty page, waiting to be written by you. Pickled in philosophy and propelled through action and engagement, we are here to get you buzzed, both AM and PM."
Photo Thou Mayest
Manhattan - Radina's Coffeehouse
Kit Bernardi of Kit Travels recommends Radina's Coffeehouse. "Locally owned coffeehouse and roastery, Radina's Coffeehouse & Bakehouse in the 'Ville is a laid-back, upscale bean-head retreat near the Kansas State campus in Manhattan, Kansas. Radina's roasts its own coffee beans on-site, sells specialty blends and serves fresh baked goods and lunch daily. Skilled baristas work the counter backed by giant blackboards listing in colorful chalk calligraphy dozens of coffee concoctions, teas and smoothies. Sparkling, bubble glass cases display tempting pastries baked fresh every morning. I loved the plump chocolate éclair and a raisin scone paired with a creamy latte.
For lunch, pick from entree-sized salads and tasty ham, tuna salad, turkey and grilled sandwiches all on Radina's scratch-made breads (lunch selections start at $5). Made from only Kansas-grown and milled grains and flours, bread choices include baguette, ciabatta, sourdough, multi-grain, and flavored breads (for every loaf Radina's sells, the roastery donates a loaf to the local food pantry Flint Hills Breadbasket). Radina's is open from early morning hours till 11 p.m. daily. Although this coffeehouse is on the edge of the Aggieville neighborhood's pulsing college bar scene, it is a quiet, it's a comfy place to work (free wifi), chat with friends, or sink into a couch with a good book in the living room setting surrounded by local artists' works for sale. Heady smells of roasting coffee float through the air on notes of piped-in smooth jazz. The 'Ville location is one of four Radina's in town."
Photo: Radina's Coffeehouse
Ann Arbor – Mighty Good Coffee Roasters
Stop into one of three Ann Arbor locations of Mighty Good and walk into coffee goodness. I love the brick elegance of the downtown location, as well as the liveliness of the baristas. I always get a bag to go!
Coldwater – Blue Hat
Located in an 1850s Italianate house, Blue Hat Coffee /Gallery is a destination! You can buy many varieties of freshly roasted coffee, and get a delicious drink and dessert (they are known for their pies) and sit in one of the large parlors (or on the porch). You’ll be surrounded by local art, antiques, jewelry for sale in beautiful glass cases, and fellow coffee lovers. There's even a piano, if you're so inclined.
Coffee aficionado Mark Yee notes, "My favorite spot for coffee in the Motor City is Anthology Coffee. Located in Ponyride in Corktown, a warehouse that houses spots for local artists and artisan producers (check out Detroit Denim), Anthology roasts some of the best single origin beans around. The cafe is sparsely decorated with just a few tables. What it lacks in ambiance is easily made up with the quality of the product. Offerings are limited to pour-over type and basic espresso drinks, as well as an excellent cold brew. A limited number of in-house made pastries are available, and patrons rave about them. If you are the Starbucks type who enjoys a frozen blended caramel concoction, Anthology is not for you. Anthology is a place for the true coffee connoisseur, who appreciates the story behind the beans and the subtle flavors of each roast.
Photo: Anthology Coffee
Detroit's Eastern Market -
When walking through Detroit’s Eastern Market this fall, I came upon Detroit Bold Coffee. I love many things about them, but especially the names they choose for their coffees (Woodward Avenue! 1701 French Roast, named for the date of the first French settlement in Detroit! Million Bag March!). The owner, AJ O’Neill, is passionate about this town – and coffee. The Million Bag March (a fantastic blend – I was sad when my bag ran out. Time to head to Detroit!) is also a philanthropic buy - proceeds from this coffee go to help build Detroit Bold Community Cafes. I love a company that gives back. The website notes, “Every bean is imbued with the hardworking grit and passion of the great city where it first became famous at AJ’s Music Café in Ferndale, MI. And while AJ still loves to reminisce about the legacy of his famous café, his dream is much bigger than a 3,000 sq ft. building. He believes that Detroit’s economy should be supported by more than just the auto industry. Why can’t the Motor City also be the Mocha City? We’ve been roasting Detroit Bold in the shadows of our auto plants since 1914. We owe you and your hard work a share of that.” Indeed.
Germack Coffee Roasting
Aaron Cruz, of the adventures of el ATL boy, has several great suggestions for us - including one here in Detroit. "Sitting right in the heart of the foodie paradise that is Detroit's Eastern Market is Germack Coffee Roasting Company. Checkout the large burlap bags of beans and the coffee roaster in back or the nuts, teas, coffees, and gifts for sale in front as you wait for your handcrafted coffee from the espresso bar. Some seating is available throughout to take in the market atmosphere."
Photo: Aaron Cruz
Glen Arbor - Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company
With the main cafe located near Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company is always busy. But it's more than great location - the coffee's incredibly delicious. Our daughter always gets the hot chocolate in the fall, a perfect pick me up after climbing those dunes (although I prefer the coffee at any time). Perfect at any time of year.
Grand Rapids -
Aaron Cruz recommends two roasters with coffee shops in GR - the first is Madcap. He notes, "I've been there quite a bit over the years, and love the pour overs. It's the place that really got me interested in craft coffee and watching them make it right in front of you."
Aaron Cruz also suggests Rowster. "Right in the heart of the Uptown Grand Rapids neighborhood on Wealthy Street sits this modern and minimalist, yet hip coffee shop. They are well-known state wide for their in-house roasting. I've enjoyed many pour overs sitting on a stool up at the tasting bar right in front of the coffee roaster, also taking home some of their popular Milky Way beans to experiment with."
Dominique King and Tim Marks, of Midwest Guest, often stop in at Schuil's and stock up. “Schuil's, established in 1981s the first specialty coffee roaster in Michigan, boasts a selection of over 200 varieties of beans roasted on site. The coffee house has about a half dozen varieties brewed and ready for visitors to sample as they shop.”
I'm so lucky! Kalamazoo has 4 (!!!) local coffee roasters (and many great coffeeshops). YAY ME! Barista Magazine has taken note, with an article entitled, "Coffee Culture in Western Michigan: The region’s microroasters and specialty cafés just might be United States specialty-coffee industry’s biggest trendsetters," - and I believe Kalamazoo is at the forefront.
Get this – hand roasted over a hardwood charcoal fire. Count me in! I first discovered Java Jones at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market – and love it. While there are many roasts, I got the Rustic Fire Dark Roast for my dad, who loves a smoky flavor (his favorite whisky is Laphroig). He can’t stop telling me how great it is. I love the Ethiopian Yergacheffe – it was gone within days, because I couldn’t stop drinking it. Available at local Michigan farmer’s markets, and mail order.
Kalamazoo Coffee Company
With a coffee shop called the Black Owl, the Kalamazoo Coffee Company is the epitome of great roasting with a fantastic shop. You can find this local roaster’s coffee in stores all over Kalamazoo (and throughout the midwest, as well as online). Our daughter loves the chai latte, but I always go for the chemex pourover, because the coffee shines so beautifully on its own. One of my favorite coffees to buy!
Water Street Coffee Company
With four locations in Kalamazoo, Water Street Coffee Company is an easy go-to wherever you are in town. Each location has a different vibe; perhaps my favorite is the original location, downtown. It’s in a very small building right next to the railroad tracks – and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can see the Banana car parked outside - even fruity car makers need their caffeine! My favorite drink here is the Sleeping Bear Mocha – once you’ve had that, it’s hard to order anything else (I may or may not lick my cup clean). Photo below. There is plenty of coffee to buy - it's hard to pick a favorite.
Another favorite coffee shop in town, Coexist Café, serves only Euphoria coffee. It’s delicious – and very fresh. They only sell beans roasted in the last 2 weeks (preferably within 72 hours). Not that any gets thrown away – this is delicious, small batch roasted coffee with the perfect balance of flavor and you can't help yourself but to joyfully keep drinking. Euphoria coffee is a direct trade coffee that guarantees the price received by the farmer to be 50% higher than FT pricing. If you live in Kalamazoo, Euphoria will deliver your coffee bean orders for free within 24 hours. Note: the owner of Euphoria also co-owns the Kalamazoo Coffee Company (and Black Owl).
Monroe - Auga Dulce Cafe/Frenchtown Roasters
Danielle Schnakenberg of Feather and Wild, says, "When I lived in Monroe, I spent a lot of time working and meeting clients in there. They are the sweetest husband and wife team. Coffee is his passion, and tea is hers. I really loved how personal they made the experience. I was really just starting to explore what drinks I liked and they always took the time to match what I already knew I liked with new drinks to try. I learned so much about picking tea blends and coffee types just from chatting with them when I was in."
Saugatuck – Uncommon Grounds
When you go to Saugatuck, it’s hard to pull yourself away from Oval Beach (named one of the top 25 beaches in the world). But take time to make a detour and head to Uncommon Grounds, located in town on a side street perpendicular to the river. I mention this because parking in Saugatuck can be difficult at times – it’s a lovely, popular town. Uncommon Grounds focuses on very small batches, made from beans from small farmers. They travel to the farmers of origin, and ensure fair payments. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but if you can’t get to Saugatuck, the coffee is sold online and all around the Midwest. Be sure to try their cold-brew – it’s fantastic.
Traverse City - Higher Grounds
Mike Norton, a friend who expertly represents Traverse City Tourism, answered my query quickly, noting, "There's a little place in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons (right next door to the Left Foot Charley winery and tasting room) called Higher Grounds -- wonderful coffee and cocoa, and it's all fair trade. In fact, the owner, Chris Treter, is kind of a leader in the fair trade/organic coffee movement, and has personal relationships with a lot of the growers who supply their coffee. The place is full of great little touches; they got tired of handing out disposable cups, for instance -- and realizing that everybody has too many commemorative coffee cups lying around, they just make use of used pottery ones. -- you just take it with you and bring it back when you're done. The building is the former asylum laundry, but the space at Higher Grounds is very cozy."
Photo: Higher Grounds. Note: Jose Perez Vazquez of the Maya Vinic cooperative in Chiapas joined us for this morning's roast team #cupping. Fresh crop #YirgacheffeIdido and special prep #Sumatra Silk on the table.
Ypsilanti - Hyperion Coffee Company
Aaron Cruz, my Michigan go-to guy for coffee recommendations, shared a new one for me - "Hyperion Coffee Company! Relatively new to the game this Ypsilanti, Michigan roaster sells wholesale and you will find their beans in use at many local coffee shops, like Babo Market in Ann Arbor. You can purchase individual bags online, but I prefer to visit the large red bricked roastery in Depot Town to buy some Ethiopian Guji beans. Their physical location also serves as a coffee lab, teaching people how to make a great cup of coffee."
Duluth - City Girl Coffee
Heavy Table's Amy Rea notes, "City Girl Coffee in Duluth, MN is the latest result of the unlikely story of a Moroccan immigrant and his wife opening up a coffee roaster years ago, just because they couldn’t get good coffee in their adopted city. Their daughter flew the coop for the East Coast when she was old enough, but eventually found her way back home and back into her parents' business. Now she's the proud proprietor and is doing her part to enable female coffee bean growers to gain more power and responsibility through City Girl Coffee."
Minneapolis - Dunn Brothers
Kristen Hirsch Montag of Meet Minneapolis chimed in with an old favorite of mine. "All Dunn Bros coffee shops in MN roast in house. Each shop is independently owned and unique. They have a very casual, comfortable vibe and welcome people to stay and relax there. The coffee is excellent and the staff is friendly."
New Brighton - Limu Coffee
Heavy Table's Amy Rea shares another recommendation: "In an unassuming strip mall in suburban New Brighton, MN, Limu Coffee offers one of the most unique experiences in the Twin Cities' coffee culture: Its immigrant owner (from Ethiopia) not only brews a delicious cup of coffee, she can arrange a formal Ethiopian coffee ceremony that begins with social time and freshly roasted coffee beans and becomes an event that takes "coffee break" to an entirely new level."
Photo: Heavy Table
Kansas City - The Roasterie
Lisa Dunham Trudell of The Walking Tourists recommends the Roasterie. She says, “How does a company corner its market of the coffee bean and its wonderment? In Kansas City, The Roasterie refuses to leave any leaf unturned in its pursuit of the best coffee available in the world. The company buys its coffee from 31 countries. The company is the brainchild of Danny O’Neill, who goes by the title of Bean Baron. O’Neill, a Denison, Iowa, native fell in love with coffee during a high school exchange program. He traveled to Costa Rico, where he helped pick coffee beans. The experience “ignited” his love for coffee.” Here’s a photo from the factory tour, which you can take (it lasts about an hour).
For smaller orders, The Roasterie turns to “Baby,” pictured here. This is the original roaster that O’Neill used at his house, and is still used to roast beans. Photo: Walking Tourists
Washington - Flat Kitty Coffee Company
Bridgette Kelch, Executive Director at Downtown Washington, Inc. recommends the Flat Kitty Coffee Company, found at Not Just Cut & Dried. She shares an excerpt of a post from Slava Bowman - “Not Just Cut & Dried is a family owned store that has a wide selection of coffee and tea, and beautiful displays of other goodies and home decor. The owner, Carolyn McGettigan, roasts the coffee beans herself and blends them in unique ways. She believes that good coffee needs to be flavorful and strong, and we are in love with her Italian Espresso Roast."
Photo: Slava Bowman
St. Louis -
Caryn Dugan, St. Louis VegGirl, offered up several reasons why she loves Blueprint (and inspired me to want to visit St. Louis!) - "I really enjoy the pride they take in making each cup they brew right in front of you. The atmosphere is chill and I fully appreciate the tofu egg scramble they have on the menu."
Matt Sorrell of Cocktails are Go!, added yet another reason to visit StL. "Pete has a great story. He's a banker who ditched the rat race and decided to open his own business. He still roasts his own coffee by hand and is very attuned to where and how his beans are sourced."
Brian Hardesty, of Guerrilla Street Food, notes, "I recommend Sump Coffee because I feel like they are solely responsible for the upstart of the artisan coffee movement in Saint Louis. To this day they are, in my opinion, the leaders in their field. Constantly turning out product that is above and beyond what you think is possible when it comes to coffee." Time to head to StL.
Springfield - Classic Rock Coffee
Sherryl Wilson recommended Classic Rock Coffee. Their website shares, "Not just any coffee can make it into the CRCC lineup. It’s no easy task for a coffee to become Back in Black Bold, Breakfast in America Morning Brew or Barracuda Bite. We roast and cup coffees from all around the world prior to selecting our lineup. Then we run varying roast profiles on the selected coffees, and cup again. The best coffees and profiles become part of the lineup at CRCC."
Lincoln - Ah'roma
Gretchen Michels Garrison of Odyssey Through Nebraska remarks, "Ah'roma coffee is our very favorite coffee. They do not have their own shop - instead they supply many of the coffee places around Lincoln and even throughout Nebraska. At first, we used any old coffee. Now we have become full fledged coffee snobs. Only one brand of coffee can now be found at our house. Our coffee of choice: Ah’roma Coffee that just happens to be roasted right here in Lincoln, Nebraska."
"Aromas because the coffee is good but their pastries are divine. Here’s a place you’ll want to linger. The Old Market location is quite large and has some outdoor seating."
Archetype (nerdy serious about their coffee)
"Archetype, because these guys understand the science behind the perfect cup of coffee and every factor is controlled to maintain perfection. This is the place for the science lover as much as the coffee lover. I imagine if you follow Alton Brown, you’d like this place. There is a science to brewing a good cup of coffee – which I had scoffed at, but after comparing three cups of joe brewed three different ways (under-brewed, over-brewed, and one meeting the “Gold Cup Standard”), I have seen the error of my ways."
"...and my favorite, Beansmith Coffee, because it's hands-down the best cup you'll drink in Omaha."
Bellville - Brumby’s Coffeehouse and Pizzeria
Tonya Prater of the Traveling Praters recommends a coffeehouse (and pizzeria?!). “Brumby’s also offers a special feature you aren’t likely to find in other small town coffee shops - a Roaster Room with a coffee roaster. This allows them to roast their own coffee on site, ensuring superior flavor, enhanced aroma, and guaranteed freshness.”
Photo: Tonya Prater
Cedarville (metro Dayton) - Telemetry
Formerly known as Stoney Creek Coffee Roasters, Telemetry is a gem of a small shop, tucked next to a river in an historic building. My MIL lives near here, and you can count on me heading down to get coffee the very day we arrive on every visit. I especially love their Ethiopian Yergacheffe, but I’ve tried just about every coffee they roast, with 100% happiness.
Cleveland - City Roast Coffee
City Roast Coffee, located in Cleveland’s lovely West Side Market (if you are ever within a 5 hour drive, GO THERE), has been around since 1994. What do people love about it? Besides being able to buy the coffee freshly roasted, and being served at a variety of local coffeeshops, the booth at West Side Market makes me happy. You see plenty of coffee lovers in line, getting a cup to go as well as bags to take home. Go there first, so you'll be caffeinated to wander the market.
This roaster is Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year! While I usually get single origin coffee, the Armando’s Blend is extremely delicious. I found out about them when researching Ohio coffee roasters – and hit up a shop that carried them in Sandusky, while I was there for a conference. Lucky me – a friend knew how much I love coffee, so she got me a bag, too. Both are long-gone – this was a smooth, happy coffee.
With the main shop in downtown Dayton, there are 10 locations of this iconic coffee roaster in Ohio. Started in 1973, Boston Stoker was named for its beginnings as a cigar shop. You can get a great cup of coffee (I love getting their Bela Vista beans to take home - see photo at the top! I could barely stand to take time to take the photo) AND buy cigars, if you so choose. This is the only coffee shop I’ve ever been to that sold cigars. Each shop is different and quirky – we love the Steve statue in the Troy location. Honestly? Seeing those blue bags makes me happy.
Cigars! In a coffee shop!
Served at Press, a crisp, clean, and bright coffee shop, Wood Burl is also clean, crisp, and bright. The Colombia coffee I bought to drink at home was full-flavored; the chai latte our daughter got in the shop was spicy and delicious – one of the most interesting drinks we’ve ever had – highly recommended!
Piqua - Winan's
Thaleia Maher of Something2Offer recommends Winan's - with 14 locations! “Green coffee beans shipped from all over the world are expertly roasted daily. The current owners Joe and Laurie travel and actually meet the farmers that tend the coffee and chocolate crops. They believe that supporting the actual families that grow the finest beans in the world is one way that Winans is unique.”
Photo: Thaleia Maher, Something2Offer from the factory tour
This is, frankly, one of the most inviting coffee shops I’ve ever been to. The quirky, industrial atmosphere, complete with mirrors and glass and high ceilings tempered with reclaimed wood, conveys a warm, cozy feeling that is perfect for a coffee date, gathering of friends, study group, workspace, and more – it would be a perfect place for a wedding or other special event. Add to this the extraordinary, on-site roasted coffee (the kind one dreams of, where the scents waft around you and wrap you in coffee goodness), and you’ve got a place to return to, again and again (and get coffee from, to take home). In a town of great food and coffee, this is a stand-out.
Just look at that Wisconsin coffee goodness!
Valentine Coffee Roasters
Milwaukee native and coffee fiend Amy Sobczak notes, "This is a cool little roaster located in the Washington Heights area. Lovely neighborhood spot with an excellent selection of beans
and pastries from local bakeries/markets. My favorite is Bali Blue Moon, an Indonesian bean. Valentine Coffee got me started/hooked in the whole world of small roasters and really good beans, pour over methods, and the science of making a good cup of coffee!"
Photo: Valentine Coffee Roasters
Nelsonville - Ruby Coffee Roasters
Another great recommendation from Mark Yee - "I first sampled a fabulous Hario V60-prepared Kenyan from Ruby Coffee Roasters on a visit to one of my favorite coffee stands, G&B Coffee, in Downtown LA. One might ask, how a small roaster based in Northern Wisconsin gets its products in some of the best cafes in New York and LA - by offering some of the most finely crafted single origin roasts around. Owner and roaster, Jared Linzmeier brought his years of experience from Intelligentsia in LA and Caffe Ladro in Seattle back to his native Wisconsin in 2013. All beans are carefully sourced and roasted to perfection. Although they do not have a brick and mortar cafe, you can order their beans online, head to their tastings at the roastery on weekends, or if you are lucky like myself, purchase them at a local cafe. For any coffee fan, you will not be disappointed."
Photo: Ruby Coffee Roasters
Viroqua - Kickapoo
I haven't been to Viroqua - just a cafe location in Milwaukee - and have received the gift of Kickapoo from 2 friends (thank you so very much, I love you). Their Driftless Dreamer is the perfect morning blend - strong enough to wake you up. Take a careful look at all the roasts - I'm impressed. We'll be back.
From the Kickapoo Coffee shop in Milwaukee
De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters
Mark adds, "Although not quite in the Midwest, I consider Ontario the closest thing due to its proximity to Detroit. De Mello is hands-down my favorite coffee roaster.........anywhere! All roasts are crafted in the back of the cafe in very small batches. Being a single origin snob, I always have dismissed blends. My opinion changed when I tasted De Mello's "Butterfly Kiss." This versatile blend tastes equally as fantastic prepared as a pour-over as it does as a shot of espresso or in its famous cold brew. It is hard to believe that De Mello's bakery matches the quality and taste of it's coffee. Like the beans, all baked goods are made in-house in a small kitchen in the back of the cafe. A trip to De Mello should be on every coffee fan's list when visiting Toronto. Their beans are also available online, and shipping to the United States is reasonably priced."
Photo: Mark Yee
And there you have it - over 50 (!!) local coffee roasters in the Midwest. Enormous thanks to our Midwest travel experts - and the coffee roasters!
I am sure we missed some - more to explore! What are your favorites?
All photos Wandering Educators, except where noted