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Exploring the cafes in Detroit, Michigan is one of the best things to do in Detroit as cafes play an integral role in the diverse foodie culture that is present in all corners of the city. Detroit’s cafes are a place for the community to gather to share ideas, beautiful spaces that fuel creativity, all while serving up an excellent selection of coffee, teas, treats, and sometimes booze 🙂 If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’m not a coffee drinker, but that doesn’t matter because the cafes in Detroit are all about inclusivity – tea drinkers are welcome here too!
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Detroit cafes that I loved frequenting while I lived there. What I love about these cafes is that they are all locally owned and operated. And since I’ve left the city, I’ve read that many have seen great growth and development in Detroit, which makes me as proud as if they were my own. These businesses started in Detroit when you couldn’t read any sort of good news about the city, and that good karma has finally been rewarded!
So pull up a cozy seat, a cup of tea, and a tasty treat to discover the best cafes in Detroit, Michigan.
I kind of feel like Astro was the first hipster cafe in Detroit. I remember when Astro Coffee opened its doors in Corktown when the only other attraction on the block was Detroit staple, Slows BBQ. Now, this block of Michigan Ave is buzzing with activity and Astro Coffee is still there, welcoming its guests with freshly roasted coffee from around the globe and a great selection of teas. The space is small, but you’ll be able to find a seat at the large community table in the back or on a sunny day try to snag a seat at the window for prime people watching!
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co.
Great Lakes Coffee Shop was just a short walk away from my Midtown apartment so I frequented their shop at least once per week for my matcha latte fix (one of the best in town). Great Lakes is a large space with a cozy atmosphere. There are plenty of tables, outlets, and solid WiFi if you need to get some work done while you sip your tea, coffee, or wine. If you’re feeling more social snag a seat at the bar for a drink from their full bar. They also offer a light food menu.
One of the things I love about Great Lakes, you could easily spend a full day here. Here’s how: start off with your mid-morning Matcha while you get some work done at a table overlooking Woodward Ave, then meet a friend for a happy hour glass of wine at the bar!
Germack Coffee Roasters
Fancy a warm thermos of tea as you wander around Eastern Market on a cool Saturday morning? Then Germack Coffee Roasters has you covered. Located directly across the street from the main sheds of Eastern Market is Germack, a small, but mighty coffee shop. Sure, you can get your fancy coffee drinks here, but you can also smell all sorts of tea from their tea wall and purchase your loose leaf tea in bulk! Germack also usually has a unique lemonade drink of the day and their matcha is pretty refreshing too!
Socra Tea holds a special place in my heart as it is located in the basement below my first Midtown apartment. On a morning off, all I had to do was wander downstairs for a fresh pot of tea and a treat from a local bakery. I didn’t even have to go outside, which was perfect for the winter months!
The people who work at Socra Tea are incredibly knowledgeable about their tea selection, which you’ll find on the wall behind the counter. They’ll work with you patiently as you sniff all of the teas and ultimately make your selection. While I always enjoyed their matcha latte, I also really loved a pot of their roasted almond fruit tea.
Socra Tea is also a patron of the arts, allowing local artists to display their work on the walls and towards the back of the building is a ceramics studio! I highly recommend stopping into this favorite neighborhood cafe!
The Bottom Line Coffee House
Before I moved away from Detroit to travel for a year, I sold my car. I was still working, so I either rode my bike or walked to work. One day, I decided to take a different route and noticed a coffee shop below an apartment building. I had some time to spare, so I popped in and was immediately welcomed into an incredibly warm and cozy environment. As it was early, it wasn’t too crowded. A few days later I stopped by on my way home from work and absolutely loved the vibe!
There were college kids laughing in one corner, two professors meeting over coffee, and multiple people getting work done with their laptops. The walls were adorned with the work of local artists and signs of inclusivity. It’s the kind of place where you can come as you are without any pretense.
The Bottom Line quickly changed my route to work so I could get my morning tea or afternoon hot chocolate and enjoy the good vibes of the community they created.
However, as I sat down to write this post, I discovered that tragedy had fallen on The Bottom Line. Due to a sewage line rupture by a local internet company, The Bottom Line flooded and had to completely gut the coffee shop. So, unfortunately, you likely won’t be able to visit their coffee shop until the repairs are done. I am still including them in this post because it appears they are working to restore as they have set up a GoFundMe account and are documenting their progress on Facebook.
Cafe 78 is one of Detroit’s most unique cafes as it is located within MOCAD Museum. Cafe 78 offers a selection of coffees, teas, and treats from Detroit favorites such as Avalon and Sister Pie. There are plenty of tables if you need to get out and do some work in an inspired and creative space. Plus, if you need more inspiration, their full bar will happily make you a craft cocktail to sip once you’re done with your coffee. Although it’s located in the museum, you don’t have to pay to enter, but if you want to explore the Museum, the suggested donation is $5.00.
First and foremost, Avalon is a bakery and a really freakin’ good one. They offer a wide selection of freshly baked bread daily alongside delicious sweet treats; I recommend the Date Bar or Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie. You can also get a savory breakfast sandwich (The Jab) or a salad from their fridge.
Now that you’ve stocked up on food, order yourself a chai tea latte and grab a seat. At Avalon, you’re more than welcome to stay awhile. This is a place where the community comes together and it’s fun to sit and watch people from all walks of life enter this shop and be greeted like an old friend.
Although Avalon has expanded its business to a second location in Downtown Detroit, I highly suggest visiting its original location on Willis in Midtown – the vibe is more local and relaxed.
Since I’ve already included a bakery, I might as well throw another one into the mix. (It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want 🙂 ) Sister Pie is located on the east side of Detroit in the hip West Village (I know those directions are confusing, I don’t make the rules on that one).
Sister Pie is the result of Lisa, the owner’s, grit and determination to build the bakery, and community of her dreams. All of her pies reflect the seasonality of Michigan agriculture, so you likely won’t find the same pies in winter as you do in summer.
You can enjoy a slice of pie alongside a cup of tea in their shop or you could learn how to bake the pie yourself in one of their classes! Don’t worry though if you can’t make it out to their shop, their pies are sold in all of the cafes mentioned in this post!
I’m sure since I left that a number of cafes have popped up in Detroit. A simple glance at the map shows a few that I would love to visit the next time I’m in town and add to this list. What I love about the cafes I mention in this post, though, is that they were there from the “start” of Detroit’s “comeback”. They became neighborhood favorites in neighborhoods that hadn’t seen development in years. And as such these cafes became central to the development of their communities.
So when you’re in town, stop into one of these cafes, you won’t be disappointed!
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