Siri is Constantly Searching "Coffee Shops Near Me"

"'I need coffee in an I.V.' -Lorelai Gilmore" -Demery Gijsbers

I consider my life to be measured along the timeline of 'Pre- and Post-Coffee Discovery.' The first time I ever drank coffee was on a camping trip with some friends. Many of these friends were big coffee fiens (see also: coffee snobs) but I had never enjoyed the taste. I didn't sleep well one night because: 1. V cold 2. No sleeping bag or pillow 3. Extreme claustrophobe in a tiny one-person tent too small to roll over in 4. Back pain 5. Frozen Toes 6. 4am wake up not by choice! Now, I don't consider myself to be a complainer OR dramatic, but it was the worst night of my whole entire existence. I was a disaster human the next morning, praying for a natural pick-me-up or a days-long nap to recover. "Cold Brew," my friends said "is smooth and delicious. Try this cup," they told me. "It'll help wake you up," they said. So I trusted them and tried it. What they didn't tell me was that if I had never had coffee before, Cold Brew would do bad things to good people (me)!!! I was absolutely wired all day, my body shaking like a polaroid picture (subtle s/o OutKast) and I was perpetually light-headed for like six straight hours. It was a rude awakening to the rest of my coffee-dependent life.

An outrageously crazed coffee fien that cannot be tamed!

It was that fateful summer I learned that I would not be able to press on as an "adult" without a lil' boost every morning. My love affair (dramatic wording or no?) with coffee has seen its ups and downs: some absolutely wired days where the blood in my body is purely caffeine and I can't sit still for more than a couple minutes, or other days where I could drink a cold brew at 10pm and fall asleep an hour later. I've found a happy medium after a long-winded and turbulent affair, concluding that: at the old age of 21, I can no longer drink coffee past noon (like I'm a child) but will walk around coaching volleyball practice with a travel mug of coffee in one hand, demonstrating a drill with my other hand because I still need it close to me (like I have an addiction or something???) Coffee has seeped its way into every facet of my life. It's a priority on my list of vacation to-do's; a stop on the way to any morning event ever; a coffee cart in my apartment (shout-out to the roomies/real homies for supplying that thing with some hipster AF coffee makers), and a list of "Cold Brew Qualifiers" in my phone notes. That's why I've gathered you all here today. I have created a list of shops near me--non-comprehensive whatsoever-- that sell cold brew (CB) and I have rated them on aspects that I find exceptionally important:

  • Ice: Can make or break your coffee experience f'real f'real
  • Smoothness: Like the main reason one buys cold brew over regular iced coffee 
  • Flavor: You can't just soak any ol' bean and call it good CB
  • Price: I hate myself for the amount of money I have paid for some of these. Don't tell my dad bc he thinks I'm relatively responsible haha ha ha

However expensive, I have found it worth it to find just the right cold brew for me (perhaps still trying to justify the absurd amount of money I budget for coffee). Most of these shops are in and around the Ann Arbor area, my current stomping grounds, with some scattered throughout Michigan and out west. I have my top 12 ranked based on my gut feeling from the notes I have on my phone. I didn't pour over my notes (pun intended ha) and analyze each detail because apparently ranking systems work better on gut feeling when you are an expert on the topic, according to some guy I know, so here are my expert guts:

12. Songbird Cafe, Ann Arbor, MI - Not super smooth, but still p good. Flavor is just ok, ice is weird and too big, nothing to write home about!
11. MoonWinks Cafe, Dixboro, MI - Giant ice cubes are the worst. Dece taste, p smooth, but not worth the amount of money I paid ughh
10. Black Diesel, Ann Arbor MI - On my way to coaching so it's a necessary and easy stop. They just started a rewards program so I'll definitely get rewarded eventually for the cash dropped. Will it balance? Stay tuned. Does it get me through morning practice? Absolutely.
9. Mighty Good, Ann Arbor, MI - Gets the job done. All qualifications are met, but doesn't go above and beyond. It is one of the best prices in the area, though. Good? Yes. Mighty Good? Not quite.
8. Starbucks, Taking Over the World - Hate to give it a good review, but it's what CB is at its core. Their Sweet Cream Cold Brew is one of the OGs that started the addiction and will always hold a special place in my heart for getting me through many early morning shifts as a hotel front desk agent. Ice isn't the best, but I'm picky.
7. Little Owl Coffee, Denver, CO - Nitro cold brew because that's the only kind you can find in CO!! It's intense and can get you through any long day, which I had after a 6am flight from Detroit, so I know what I'm talking about, ok?!
6. Zingerman's Roastery & Cafe, Ann Arbor, MI - First things first, this drink had the two biggest ice cubes I have ever seen in my long life. Flavor is more of an acquired taste (posh) because the flavor is "stronggggg" according to my notes. Nice and smooth, goes down easy and they gave me a great discount for bringing in my reusable cup! For a place that sells sandwiches for hundreds of dollars (basically), that was a positive surprise. They've got the Ann Arbor monopoly on deli and cakes and an entire warehouse strip of the quaintest little shops, and they've made a fan out of me with this cold brew. Unashamedly.
5. Le Bon Macaron, Ann Arbor, MI - Darned cutest little French place ya ever did see, not the best ice, but flavor does me in and it's as smooth as a baby's bottom (not sorry for that simile).
4. Beatles and Beans Coffee Emporium, Bay City, MI - THIS PLACE IS THE COOLEST! If you are ever driving Up North and you pass Bay City, stop in here. It's covered floor to ceiling in Beatles memorabilia and their coffee is great. The cold brew got me through a 4 hour solo drive Up North, so huge gratitude shoutout to B&B.
3. Brewed Awakenings, Saline, MI - Best bang for your buck, and this shop makes you feel like you're at grandma's house for some afternoon tea and crumpets. The cold brew is as cold brew should be, and the budget-friendly price bumps it up a few slots for sure.
2. Astro, Detroit, MI - So good. So so good. Rivals my #1 for sure, but it's pretty expensive (pls don't ask me how much I paid for this). Other than that, this little Detroit shop knows what it's doing with CB. My coffee snob sister is a big fan, so if you need a second opinion, ask Allie. I didn't get her "ok" for that, but she'll back me up I'm sure, even for calling her a coffee snob.
1. Roos Roast, Ann Arbor, MI - Currently our end-all, be-all, pals. Flavor is impeccable, ice is the best to crunch, and so super smooth. Although I'm 95% sure one of the locations just changed ice to a less desirable type and an employee had absolutely no idea (I didn't interrogate him about the ice, but I did have to apologize for the way I challenged him on it) every other qualification is met and holds on to #1 pretty strongly.

I understand some crowd favorites are missing, and some might be controversially ranked. So just understand that we are all different coffee lovers, and if we disagree, that's ok because I have the authority in this blog so I am right and you are very wrong. Stay tuned for my Kombucha ranking: "Bucha Beliefs" and my "Scone Selections" (Kombucha is the lifeblood of my gut health/hipster status and scones are a newfound passion for me). Let me know what you think, and if you have some fun recommendations for me!


A Toast: Please raise your reusable travel mugs to the year I discovered coffee, which was also coincidentally the year I needed an unreal amount of it. I'll truly never be the same. Stay cool and ease yourself into coffee if you're new to it!
All my best and then some,
Dem

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