As our thoughts turn once again to the great coffee loving state of Michigan, we reference the almighty mitten to give us a bit of geographic context for today’s story. Journey with us to the city of Kalamazoo—that would directly below your ring finger, on your way towards the fleshy part of the palm—as we explore the new cafe location from Water Street Coffee.

The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is presented by DriposDona, and Mill City Roasters. The 2022 Build-Outs of Coffee is sponsored by La MarzoccoPacific Barista SeriesAcaia, Cropster, and Marco Beverage Systems.

As told to Sprudge by Aaron Clay.

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

Water Street Coffee is locally owned and has been operating cafes in the Kalamazoo and Portage area since 1993. All of our coffees are roasted in-house, in small batches, and our foods are handmade daily and utilize local produce. We also distribute wholesale coffee and services all over Michigan and surrounding areas.

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Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

This space is designed to serve commuters through a convenient drive-thru window or inside at a bright and welcoming take-out counter. As the fourth location with a drive-thru window, we are excited to bring this option to downtown Kalamazoo. This solved an obvious challenge at our flagship location on 315 E. Water St. Without the space to add on a drive-thru window for customers, it made sense to take advantage of extra space in our newly acquired Kitchen facility.

Inside, at the take-out counter, customers are greeted by a creative homage to our scooped ice cream and sorbets—vibrantly painted, hand-cut cedar shingles that subtly reflect the shape of ice cream cones. An enticing reminder to try a scoop or two!

What’s your approach to coffee?

At Water Street Coffee, we just love coffee. We love everything about it. We love its subtleties, its complexities. The artistry necessary to execute the perfect cappuccino and the mechanics necessary to dial in the perfect shot of espresso. We appreciate it raw or roasted. Hot or iced. Blended or single origin. We like dressing it up and we especially like letting it speak for itself. The four cornerstones of our business are: coffee, quality, creativity, and community.

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Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

We’ll be working with a Mahlkönig grinder, FETCO brewer, Rancilio espresso machine, and Mazzer espresso grinders. We are also excited to showcase all of our new house-made ice cream and sorbet in an ice cream display case, built right into the front counter.

How is your project considering sustainability?

We were able to relocate our kitchen and design our new drive-thru in an existing building, as opposed to building something new. This helped to keep building costs low by reusing infrastructure that was already in place. Inside, we insulated our ceilings to at least an R40. We also opted to use and refinish the existing concrete flooring. Outside, on the south and west side of the building, we upgraded the siding to long-lasting concrete clapboards. In addition to the building itself, we have installed LED lighting, high efficiency refrigeration units that meet EPA standards, and a drip irrigation system to water our landscaping, helping to conserve water.

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What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

Our Grand Opening was August 31, 2022.

Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?

Our AMAZING local vendors: Bret Sanford at Sanford Plumbing, Jeff Roodbergen who makes our extensive electrical needs happen, Corrie Robbins for HVAC, Signwriter and Sign Depot for our external signage, Pioneer Construction who did exterior concrete work, installed our concrete siding and drive-thru window, R.W. LaPine for our hood systems, W. Soule for our stainless steel, Stafford-Smith for installing our walk-in refrigeration, Burgess Concrete Construction for grinding and polishing our interior concrete flooring, Blue Horizon Nursery and Lyric Leftwich for our landscaping, Ian Nielsen and Marnie Twynham for our carpentry and painting, especially for hand cutting, painting, and installing each of the cedar shingles for our interior counter design. And, most importantly, our in-house Creative Director, Kirsten Field, who makes everything beautiful, unique and functional for us.

Thank you!

Water Street Coffee is located at 527 Harrison St, Kalamazoo. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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