Get your latte foam art fix while supporting some of Michigan’s most hardworking women.
MICHIGAN—If you ask us, a woman’s place is to be in charge. That’s why women-owned businesses are so important.
The National Coffee Association reported in 2020 that Americans are drinking more coffee than ever, with around 62% of Americans drinking coffee daily. There are multiple reasons why coffee shops are so popular. Not only are they great for our morning fixings, but also great date spots, community gathering places, reliable as free Wi-Fi destinations, and more. The neighborhood coffee shop is a staple of any town, but especially so in Michigan.
And, frankly, we like it better when women are the ones calling the shots. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite women-owned coffee shops across Michigan.
Morning Ritual Coffee Bar
637 Stocking Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Women in Charge: Alyx Schroeder and Katie Sargent
At this botanical coffee bar, things tend to get a little metaphysical. You can indulge your inner witch at Morning Ritual Coffee Bar in Grand Rapids’ West Side. Co-owners Alyx Schroeder and Katie Sargent were friends and coworkers who purchased Corridor Coffee and turned it into their “pandemic baby” business. They transformed it using a cottagecore theme—an aesthetic styled after a dreamy, sustainable lifestyle.
Morning Ritual specializes in herbal and floral syrups with unique flavors. Aside from Instagram-ready lattes and cappuccinos, they also serve teas and caffeine-free beverages, all of which fit the aesthetic.
The 205 Coffee Bar
205 Columbia Ave., Holland
Woman in Charge: Jacqueline Petro
When the 205 Coffee Bar opened in Holland in 2017, owner Jacqueline Petro had one primary goal—create community space. Garage-door windows make for plenty of natural light in the winter and open-air seating during those Michigan beach town summer days. The 205 uses a Modbar, an espresso machine with taps right on the counter and all the hardware underneath. Aside from the cold brew and nitro coffees, they also stock kombuchas, cascara, lemonade, ice tea, and root beer.
516 Pleasant St., St. Joseph
Woman in Charge: Anne Reitz
This quaint Italian eatery has been serving up coffees near the Lake Michigan shoreline for the last 30 years. Though Caffe Tosi started as a simple coffee shop, it has since evolved into a bake shop, deli, and eventually a full-fledged restaurant. Owner Anne Reitz has lived in southwest Michigan most of her life and proudly maintains this foundation of the St. Joseph community. At Caffe Tosi, you’ll find a full espresso bar with a wide range of coffee varieties, teas, and Italian sodas. As far as grub, you can order cafe staples like breakfast sandwiches, grilled paninis, salads, and more.
128 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo
Woman in Charge: Kathy Beebe
All of Kalamazoo is rather eclectic, but this coffee shop in the Kalamazoo Mall truly displays the city’s quirks as they’re meant to be seen. Kathy Beebe and her husband John have kept Caffè Casa going since the ’90s, starting off as just two twenty-something kids with a dream. Today, Kathy is the brilliant mind and self-trained chef behind the shop’s assortment of baked goods, all of which are wonderful to enjoy while observing the local art inside the shop.
Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kathy kept serving the Kalamazoo community and giving her customers the space to talk. To this day, Caffè Casa is the neighborhood spot to get your coffee exactly the way you like it.
Eastern Michigan and Detroit Metro
9321 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit
Woman in Charge: Betsy Murdoch
Detroit’s unsung architectural marvels are its myriad gorgeous old churches, and The Congregation is one old church that actually got renovated into a coffee shop. The historic 1920s Boston-Edison church lay abandoned on Rosa Parks Boulevard—formerly known as 12th Street when it was ground zero of the 1967 Detroit riot. But in 2017, a neighborhood group decided to breathe new life into it after years of unuse.
Operating owner Betsy Murdoch worked for Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. before helping to oversee the three years of renovations it took to open The Congregation. The coffee shop opened just days before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but has endured as a community meeting space despite the struggles. In addition to classic coffee offerings like cold brew and lattes, they also have a variety of housemade syrups and a few signature beverages.
770 Woodward Heights, Ferndale
Woman in Charge: Alleah Webb
There’s something absolutely charming about buying your coffee out of a cute mobile trailer. At Drifter Coffee, though, they’ve built their trailer aesthetic into a brick-and-mortar business in Ferndale. Owner and Central Michigan University graduate Alleah Webb started out in 2015 selling coffee out of a 1971 Serro Scotty trailer called “the Caboose,” traveling to various pop-up spots around Detroit. But today, the two-story community hub and coffee shop is one of the hottest spots in Ferndale’s Iron Ridge District. The offerings include locally sourced hot and cold coffee varieties, teas, and rotating baked goods.
Black Box Coffee Shop and Art
1034 Monroe St. (2nd floor), Dearborn
Woman in Charge: Lisa Alcodray
Michigan has plenty of party stores, but this one in particular got a cultural upgrade. The Black Box Coffee Shop opened in 2018, not only to serve great coffee but to add to Dearborn’s emerging art scene. Lisa Alcodray owns the space with her husband, Ray. Part of their motivation was to give a gallery space to their daughter, Sarah, a self-taught artist. They named it Black Box Gallery after the “black box” theaters that serve as configurable performance spaces. Aside from the rotating exhibits, they serve up specialty coffee roasts, nitro cold brew, and specialty lattes.
Bridge Community Café
217 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti
Women in Charge: Sierra Lambert, Maria Pomo Castillo, and Noon Ladd
If there’s one thing to be said about college towns, it’s that they thrive on coffee shops. Ypsilanti, home of Eastern Michigan University, keeps these college ties going with the women-led coffee shop Bridge Community Cafe. Two owners, Sierra Lambert and Maria Pomo Castillo, are EMU folks. Along with Noon Ladd, they aim to use their background in mutual aid and frontline work to serve a global community in downtown Ypsilanti. The signature drinks—some coffee and some not—are all themed around zodiac signs. You can also find more typical coffee shop fare alongside sparkling beverages like elderflower soda.
Strange Matter Coffee
2010 E. Michigan Ave., #103, Lansing
Woman in Charge: Cara Nader
This woman- and queer-owned coffee shop in Lansing is one of the longest-running cafe staples in the area. Strange Matter Coffee is so popular that it recently opened a satellite location in Michigan State University’s Union. The shop is the brainchild of Cara Nader, who originally opened it as a coffee stand in the local farmers market. Today, it’s an inclusive LGBTQ-positive space, firing back at hate speech with creative but subtle protests like their special menu item, the Gay Frog Donut.
In addition to adorable doughnuts, Strange Matter is a pour-over and espresso bar that serves lattes, mochas, cortados, and more using beans from multiple roasters. Check out in-house bean blends like Ethiopia Bombe Washed or the Guatemala Manos de Mujer Women’s Lot.
Live Oak Coffeehouse
711 Ashman St., Midland
5 E. Main St., Bay City
7194 Gratiot Road, Saginaw
Woman in Charge: Renee Deckrow
The first Live Oak Coffeehouse opened in Midland in 2017. In just a few short years, owner Renee Deckrow has expanded the business to two other locations and an in-house roaster, Live Oak Roasters. The second location opened in Bay City’s Uptown in 2018 and the third in Saginaw four years later. Each location displays a slightly different style of local art and serves its own unique coffee blend. Live Oak offers a total of nine different bean varieties. They offer hot and iced coffees, hot and iced teas, hot chocolate, steamers, and basic cafe food offerings.
505 N. McEwan St., Clare
Woman in Charge: Morgan Waggener
Morgan Waggener was just 19 years old when she decided to reopen an old coffee shop in her hometown. At that time, it was called the Heart of Michigan Cafe, but it soon became known as the 505 Cafe. In just a few years, that venture expanded into the 500 District, which includes lodging, an event venue, and a speakeasy-style bar called the Trap Door. Now, Waggener has an entire block of businesses with which to welcome tourists.
One unique offering of the 505 Cafe, in addition to a long list of syrup flavorings, is the latte flight. For just $10, visitors can choose four 4-ounce pours of seasonal or specialty drinks. Aside from coffees and teas, 505 Cafe also offers handcrafted sodas, Lotus drinks, and alcoholic offerings. You can also grab a great brunch, as both breakfast and lunch are served onsite.
Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula
Dead River Coffee Roasters
119 W. Baraga Ave., Marquette
Woman in Charge: Sloan Dorr
Dead River Coffee Roasters isn’t just a great coffee shop in the Upper Peninsula town of Marquette, it’s also UP’s first roaster and wholesaler, distributing great coffee to shops across the state. Though it was started by Theo McCracken in 2002, as of 2021, long-time employee Sloan Dorr bought the business and took over operations, making it a woman-owned coffee roasting company.
At the time, this outdoor-loving gal was working four different jobs, but becoming a business owner was nothing if not a full-time gig. Some of their more popular varieties include dark French roast Sterling’s Northern Nighthawk and single-origin blend Tanzania Peaberry.
North Perk Coffee
308 Howard St., Petoskey
Woman in Charge: Brittany McNeil
Petoskey’s historic Gaslight District is a favorite hotspot for locals and tourists alike, and one of the best locales in the district is North Perk Coffee. The coffee shop houses a small roasting company inside called Lake Charlevoix Coffee Co., with Brittany McNeil and her husband John owning both. McNeil herself used to be an English teacher, known to her former students as Miss Brubaker.
The couple are not Michigan natives, but fell in love with the Petoskey area. They have a variety of fun offerings, from your typical lattes and mochas to more rare beverages like the caffè breve, cortado, and cafe miel.
Third Coast Bakery
523 Munson Ave., Traverse City
Woman in Charge: Heather Burson
If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you don’t need us to tell you it’s tough to find baked goods. Fortunately, in Traverse City, Third Coast Bakery is not only a gluten-free coffee shop, but also vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free. Not to mention, it’s woman-owned. Owner Heather Burson first became a whiz at accommodating special diets when her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and she had to clear out all the common pantry staples. Burson treated her kitchen like a science lab and started experimenting with recipes, which were so good that a woman’s support group convinced her to go commercial.
Third Coast Bakery is an allergen-safe bakery, each product gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free. That includes the coffee, which is available with almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. In addition to espressos, Americanos, lattes, and signature lattes, Third Coast Bakery also sells superfood lattes, made from ingredients like turmeric, ginger root, beetroot, dandelion root, and more.
Harwood Gold Store and Cafe
230 Bridge St., Charlevoix
Women in Charge: Amber and Katie Parsons
What is now a sisterly cafe in downtown Charlevoix started out as a maple syrup business. Co-owner Amber Parsons began Harwood Gold on the family farm in Michigan, selling the maple syrup that her family had been harvesting since the turn of the century. She bought out the old Murdick’s Famous Fudge building in Charlevoix when the opportunity knocked. Now, she runs the store and a cafe with her sister.
In addition to selling a variety of Michigan maple syrups, Harwood also sells delicious espresso and tea drinks. You can even order your drink with added maple syrup or try special infused syrups like maple sage or maple rosemary. And if you like it, you can pick up a bottle for home on the way out.
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