Pre-Departure Ritual

The end of 2016 and start of the new year found me in Baltimore. Since I was to fly out of Detroit Metro, I decided to allow some extra time to revisit my first coffee experience in the city. That first cup was poured at Germack Coffee Roasting Co. back in 2014 and I’ve since visited a handful of times–more often than not picking up a local roast before I hop a flight to a friend’s for the weekend. I tend to think of it as coffee for a couch.

Germack is situated in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit. There’s food trucks serving up tacos and slinging your favorite BBQ. Fresh produce, meats, cheeses and other organics abound. If you’re not hungry or didn’t come for the food, it’s recommended you check out the local community art projects, specifically, the murals. Eastern Market has some of the most spectacular you can find; carefully crafted and running the whole length of countless buildings, they’re nearly impossible to miss. An organization called Murals in the Market exists to highlight these and bring attention to the great work the community is doing to share both the Eastern Market and Detroit’s rich histories, while no doubt enhancing the traditional market experience.

The real Germack is actually Germack Pistachio Company, and is the oldest roster of pistachios in the United States. It was started by two brother immigrants in New York and fast expanded into Detroit, which was in 1920 the fourth most populous city in the U.S and booming from the auto industry.

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Nowadays they have expanded their offerings to all different types of nuts, chocolates, and spices. Oh, and lest we forget, they roast and serve coffee, too! The space of the store reserved for coffee has a warm and inviting feeling. There’s an authentic feel to the place, with red brick walls, rustic wood shelving and cracked and discolored cement flooring.

Operating the coffee side of the business since 2012, their offerings are what you’d come to expect in a small batch, local shop. Both single origin and blended variety are represented from all the major coffee growing regions of the world–extending from the Mayan ruins in Chiapas, Mexico, to the tropical and volcanic island of Sumatra. As always, if you know your preference based on region or style, it makes the decision easier. I on the other hand am always indecisive, so at the recommendation of one of the baristas I decided on a single origin Ethiopian pour over.

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While waiting for the Yirgacheffe brew, I looked through the half open “Dutch” door and into the roasting room. Huge sacks of stacked beans piled atop one another accounted for most of the roasting square footage. After looking over the markings on the sacks, my thoughts of the coffee supply chain were abruptly and delightfully interrupted, as the barista let me know my coffee was ready. Cup in hand, I wandered around the counter and sat myself at a small table, situated next to a floor to ceiling display of spices. Everything from acai berry powder to kava kava root was shelved.

At this point I could begin to describe the aroma and taste of the coffee, what notes it displayed and what obscure Swiss chocolate and elderberry combination it reminded me of. But for one, my palate does not offer such a fine detection; and two, even if I could perfectly describe the roast, it does little to offer the reader much palatable satisfaction. So, in place of this I will give the coffee a bean rating out of five whole beans. The single origin Ethiopian then gets a 3 out of 5 beans. I’ve tasted better in the past from Germack, but was by no stretch disappointed. If I had more time before my flight I definitely would’ve tried the Guatemalan medium-roast from the Panchoy valley of Antigua. Next time.

There you have it. Germack Coffee Roasting Co. is a fine choice for a great cup of coffee in a store that offers a varied selection of not just coffee, but other delicious treats. Its proximity to the Eastern Market also doubles as a terrific neighborhood to explore for a few hours on a laid back Saturday afternoon.

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