"SM" was new to Lansing in late 2014. "Coffee Engineers" under the direction of founder Cara Nadar make a careful, careful cup for you, from varietals discussed in more detail than some wines I've been served. (Will it be Ethiopan Bulgar, or Kenyan today?) Their specialty is the pour-over method, involving a very earnest circular pouring of water over freshly ground beans that sit on a scale. I'm not enough of a coffee snob to tell you whether that is a superior method or not, but I am a good enough judge of taste to tell you it really works here!
The decor has a certain spare esthetic that matches well with the stylish service. Yes, they'll make a take-out for you, but I recommend the thick green china cups on a simple platter, which is a very nice service.
You will not mistake this place for a Biggby or a Starbucks, the other two brands that dominate the coffee shop market here. No, dear reader, you will not. (If you can't tell the difference, slowly back away from your computer screen and stop reading my reviews!) The thoughtful arrangement of decor, coffee, chairs (yes, it appears they thought about that, too) and artwork bespeak seriousness of purpose. You are drinking a substance made by someone who really thought about it.
Finding a five-star coffee shop is a serious reason for celebration for me. To double-check my judgement, I brought the friend that showed me the Kronotrop in Istanbul, another one of the handful of plamichigan-approved 5-star coffee shops in the world. (You can check my other reviews to see some five-stars, at least one other in Michigan, among the many not-so-stars.) My knowledgeable friend's tasting of espresso warranted appreciation and a favorable comparison with the cream of Turkish coffee shops. That's two thumbs up, or, if we were using our best table manners on the green cups, two pinkies up!
So, here goes, five stars for "SM," my 2015 pick for the best coffee shop in town! Congratulations Coffee Engineers!
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