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Posts Tagged ‘coffee shops’

The Coffee Beanery, Sheldon and Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth

There is no shortage of coffee vendors in Plymouth.  Between the City and the Township, there are two Starbucks, at least two independent coffee houses, a few chains that sell lots of coffee as a sideline (e.g. Panera), and another franchise coffee store.  Of course, every gas station and restaurant sells coffee.  You can get it anywhere.

If I’m going to spend money on coffee, I look for three things, not always in this order:

  1. Convenience — Is the place close to home or work?  Can I get my coffee and get out of there quickly when I’m in a hurry?
  2. Coffee quality — Does the coffee taste good?  How is the variety?  If it’s not better than the lousy Maxwell House we have at the office, there’s no point in paying $2 for a cup.
  3. Service — Are the people cool?  I don’t need to be best buddies with the barista, but I’d like to think I’m a people person and when I have the time, I like to talk to the people with whom I am interacting.

Atmosphere is not a big thing for me these days.  I don’t tend to hang out much at coffee shops, so I don’t care whether or not there’s jazz wafting through the background or cool people sitting around reading heady books.   I’m certainly not against that (almost stereotypical) coffee shop atmosphere, I just don’t seek it out most of the time.

Given what I like and don’t about coffee vendors, The Coffee Beanery in Plymouth Township is one of my favorite places to get coffee in town.   It’s close to where I work; I can walk there in about 90 seconds.  That’s probably not true for most people, but getting in and out of there while you’re out and about town is just as easy if you’re driving.  The Beanery is the store closest to Ann Arbor Road, on the northwest corner of the Sheldon/AA Road intersection.  Pull in the lot, park, get your coffee, go!  Easy!

The coffee’s pretty dang good, too.  Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of Starbucks.  That said, I feel like I can objectively the Beanery’s house blend, Beanery Blend, beats Starbucks’ house blend hands down.  Their coffees are flavorful but less acidic than some of Starbucks’ stuff I’ve had.  And you certainly won’t get better coffee or desserts at the gas station!

Each day, you’ll have three blends to choose from, typically.  For me, that’s plenty of variety.  I’ve sorted settled in with my favorites, so I don’t worry too much about choices.

Lastly, the service is great.  Everyone that works there that I’ve dealt with is genuinely warm, friendly and know how to treat customers.  The owners, the Changs, are great people and I really enjoy getting to know them.

Don’t forget the Coffee Beanery if you’re looking for a good coffee shop to hang out in or run in and grab a nice brew.  I think it works both as a sit down place — they have wi-fi *thumbs up* — and a grab-and-go place.

 

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Back when I was in grad school, my close friend, Joe, introduced me to the Plymouth Coffee Bean Co., or “the Bean,” on Penniman.  Before there were coffee shops on every street corner, the Bean was one of the few places around that sold anything better than gas station coffee.  Just as inviting as the good coffee was the one-of-a-kind atmosphere.  The Bean’s like having a coffee shop right next to your own living room.  I spent hundreds of hours there studying or working on files.  I also made a number of friends there and the Bean became a central place to meet friends either to hang out or move on to another event.

Now that I am a Plymouth resident, it’s the place where I daily get my morning coffee or bag of ground beans to take to work.  The coffee sold at the Bean is delicious, with lots of varieties served.  While the big chains keep jacking up the price of their fancy-named cups of joe, the Bean is a bargain.  If you bring in your own cup, you can fill ‘er up for 85¢.  How can you beat that?

Plymouth has seen coffee houses come and go over the years.  The old Studio Café, a place that never had good coffee – the loft was nice, though – is now Zapata’s, a fast-food style Mexican restaurant.  Some other specialty stores serve coffee but you would probably not visit those places just for the coffee itself.  It only compliments their delicious foods and desserts.

When Starbucks and Panera Bread both opened several years back, some of us Bean lovers worried that it might fold.  Both of those places get their fair share of coffee buyers, but neither makes better coffee than the Bean and neither hold a candle to the Bean as far as atmosphere.  If you want to see works of art by local artists or hear local musicians perform, you’ll find those things only at the Bean.  By contrast, the only word I can think to describe Starbucks’ atmosphre is “contrived.”  The company has tried too hard to convince us that a cold, sterile (concrete and plastic) place is actually warm and inviting.  There is no reason to be in there except to buy coffee…and leave promptly.

If you live here in Plymouth, or are just in town for a visit, drop by the Bean.  It’s at Penniman and Harvey, downtown.  Take a look around, grab a nice cup of coffee, sit back and relax.

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