Mighty Good opens on Main Street
by Sally Mitani
David Myers has been roasting premium coffees on the city's north side for three years. He's perhaps best known for his "Obama Blend" of Kenyan, Indonesian, and Hawaiian beans. Now he's opened Mighty Good Coffee Cafe in a corner of the old Arcadian Too Antiques space on North Main.
With just two main products--beans and brewed coffee--the tiny cafe is stripped down compared to most local coffee emporiums, with their sandwiches, soups, soda fountain drinks, walls of flavored syrups, and comfortable chairs. Barista Kaitlin Antishin agrees: "Yes, we're purists." Most days they offer up to seven single-origin coffees made while you wait ("two cups of water hand-poured over thirty-five grams of coffee," she says, precisely) as well as espresso and cold-press coffee.
Mighty Good's commitment to coffee isn't purist to the point of puritanical: Antishin was drinking a shot of espresso poured over ice with Calder Dairy chocolate milk and pronounced it "dangerous--it's a slippery slope. When we're working, we can have anything we want." Mighty Good buys all its milk from Calder in Lincoln Park and sells a small selection of desserts made by Ann Arbor's Pastry Peddler and Ypsilanti's Old World Bakery. Seriously committed to local products, Mighty Good is decorated with high-end locally made coffee-related crafts: mugs sell for $25, and shoulder bags made from coffee sacks by Teresa Rogers sell for $60 to $80.
Myers travels the world to select his own beans and roasts them in small batches. "Our goal is that by the end of the day, every roasted bean has a home," he says. He buys cream-of-the-crop beans, often directly from coffee estates. While he offers some blends (mostly "post-roast" blends, not a mix of beans roasted together) he prefers to showcase his carefully selected beans unalloyed.
"I love having a coffeeshop," says Myers, "but it's a very expensive marketing experiment. That's its intent--to let people come in and try our coffee. If I'd wanted a coffeeshop where people sit around and do
their homework, there's a different way to do it."
Not that no one works over a cup of Mighty Good. The shop doubles as the entrance to the new Workantile Exchange, a "coworking facility"--quasi office and networking space for independent contractors. Through the glass you can see members bent over their computers, Mighty Good coffee by their side, very much like students doing their homework--just not in space Myers has to pay the rent for.
Myers grew up in Ypsilanti, son of EMU faculty. Now in his late forties, he used to be a professional photographer traveling all over the world, but he tired of it a few years ago. He bought a small coffee roasting business called Amazing Beans and began educating himself.
Myers' staff is carefully trained in coffee preparation, and he cautions that just getting good beans isn't going to work a miracle. It's important to pay attention to how the coffee is made. "You can buy a steak from Kroger or you can buy one from Bob Sparrow," he points out. "And you can ruin them both."
Mighty Good Coffee Cafe, 118 S. Main. No phone. Mon.-Wed. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 7:30 a.m-8 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. www.mightygoodcoffee.com
[Originally published in September, 2009.]