Made in Michigan: Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company takes pride in infusions produced directly by farmers

The coffee you pour into your mug each morning can be a welcome pick-me-up, a warm hug, or a necessary start to your day. If he’s from Great Lakes Coffee Company, he can also tell the story of a community and create a conversation about global business.

“What we’re trying to do is change the coffee industry as a whole,” said Brad Goulding, director of brand development at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company is one of the businesses Founders Brewing Company is highlighting through its Crafted in Michigan campaign. Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought you the stories of the local businesses and organizations behind Crafted in Michigan, introducing the people behind these places and sharing their inspiration.

Discover our interview with Goulding. We explain why coffee produced directly by farmers matters, why a lightly roasted bean actually contains more caffeine than a dark roasted bean, and what to look for in a great cup of coffee.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company has multiple locations across Detroit.Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Originally an international coffee import company, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company opened its first coffee bar in downtown Detroit in 2012, located in a 130-year-old building. Owners Greg and Lisa Miracle roasted their coffee in a renovated garage on the west side of town, hiring his father to roast the beans.

The move to the new space involved extensive renovations, incorporating the historic elements of the building and of the city of Detroit itself. The salvaged wood came from two houses in Hamtramck, the original ironwork was done by local artist Taru Lahti, and the couple worked with the team at local architectural firm D Met Design.

Since then, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company has grown several times. There is now the “roasting” facility at Bloomfield Hills, where you can pick up freshly roasted beans straight from the source and have a tasting or coffee tasting experience. Stop here for a tour of the facility, where you can see green coffee beans and learn about the science behind the roasting process. “We’ll take you on a journey of how each region can taste different,” Goulding said. Then you can taste a variety of coffees, not only from different regions, but also different styles of processing. “We will explain how the different regions of coffee, the elevations, the soil conditions, how every little thing plays a huge role in a cup of coffee.”

The company also has additional cafes in Bloomfield Hills, Cobo Center and Woodward Corner Market.

Made in Michigan: Great Lakes Coffee

You can find Great Lakes Coffee cold brew in cans across Michigan.Courtesy photo, used with permission.

One thing that sets Great Lakes coffee apart is the emphasis on low to medium roast of their beans, which is a bit of a change from the big coffee chains that tend to roast their beans very dark and very robust. This type of roasting lets the nuances of the coffee shine through and reduces the overall bitterness, so you can enjoy an unvarnished cup of cream or sugar if you like.

“If you roast it darker, you taste the roast profile versus the nuances and character of the beans themselves,” Goulding said. “There’s no point in buying beans from all over the world, from truly unique regions, unless you let people taste the nuances of beans.”

Great Lakes Roasting Company buys direct from farmers around the world, people they have come to know over the years on trips to the coffee plantations. They typically make two trips per year, one in the fall and one in the spring, and travel with their import partners. When they go, the team can see how the farmers “are getting a better living wage, how they are progressing in the product, how they are in the technology, and really seeing where the money is coming back by investing in themselves.” , Goulding mentioned. “It’s really cool to see.”

Many of the farmers Great Lakes source from use fair trade or even direct trading practices, but are often too small to pay for certification. By buying direct, Great Lakes can still pay these producers the higher rates certified coffees get, and the money goes directly to the farmers. “It’s very meaningful and impactful, and that’s what’s important to us,” Goulding said.

Coffee comes from “everywhere” according to Goulding. This includes, but is not limited to, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Congo.

Community is important to Great Lakes Coffee, whether it’s overseas where coffee is grown, or just in neighborhoods where coffee shops have made their home. While their cafes were closed during part of the pandemic, they are now reopened. “We were fortunate to see this community come back and embrace us openly,” said Goulding. If you can’t make it to the Great Lakes in person, you can find their coffees and other prepared coffee products like their Nitro Cold Press, on shelves across the Midwest.

Made in Michigan: Great Lakes Coffee

The workers sort the raw coffee beans.Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company

3965 Woodward Ave

Detroit, MI 48201


4135, chemin de l’Érable

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301


1 Washington Boulevard

Detroit, MI 48226

313-877-8777 (Cobo Center)

389 Companies court

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302


30955, avenue Woodward # 305

Royal Oak, MI 48073


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Grand Rapids Ballet’s Yuka Oba-Muschiana performs under the Calder in downtown Grand Rapids.Courtesy photo, used with permission.

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Grand Rapids Ballet Company is on the cutting edge

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The Brandino Extravaganza is a one-man band that finds its own sound.

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