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Eric Mullins, Dan Kubera, and Alex Merz, Hyperion Coffee

Ypsi's Hyperion Coffee Comes to Ann Arbor

And Ann Arbor Coffee Roasting brings ERC veterans back to State St.

by Micheline Maynard

From the December, 2021 issue

Eric Mullins, Dan Kubera, and Alex Merz had only one goal when they founded Hyperion Coffee Co. on River St. in Ypsilanti five years ago: they wanted to source and roast coffee from small growers.

But as their retail and wholesale bean business flourished, customers begged them to serve brewed coffee. An Ypsi cafe followed, with so much demand that the roasting operation moved to a warehouse a mile away on Cross St. to make more space for customers.

As annual revenue approached the million-dollar mark, word about Hyperion spread among area coffee lovers. "Every day, somebody asked us, 'When are you going to open a shop in Ann Arbor?'" Mullins says.

Now, Hyperion has done so on W. Liberty, taking a spot vacated in August by Thrive Juicery. (Thrive's E. Stadium location remains open.)

Mullins spotted the "For Lease" sign on his way to deliver bagged coffee to the original Argus Farm Stop. He quickly contacted landlords Joe and Carolyn Arcure, who live upstairs, and soon opened a cozy cafe with four tables, a four-seat counter, and a sofa set opposite a big window onto Liberty; even before the grand opening in mid-November, all were all filled on a sunny afternoon.

"We're so happy you have a second location. We love your coffee," a bearded male customer told a beaming barista.

Music is at a low volume, and the staff checks in with customers to see how they like their drinks. "We wanted a more intimate setting where we can have conversations with people," Mullins says.

The 1,000-square-foot shop offers a full line of coffee drinks featuring Hyperion's beans, from brewed coffee at $2.25 to a latte at $4.25. My cortado, at $3.25, was decorated with an artful tulip.

Seasonal items, which at opening included a pumpkin-spice latte and caramel apple cider, are $4.75. Tea, sparkling drinks, and a selection of bagged beans, starting at $12 for twelve ounces, also are available.

The cafe is featuring baked goods from Songbird Cafe,

...continued below...


Bird Dog Baking, Milk + Honey, and vegan items from Botanical Bake Shop.

Mullins says Hyperion plans a series of events and collaborations. It served cold brew at the opening of the Ann Arbor Art Center's Historic Futures show and began a series of coffee classes. The first featured a limited-edition Big Red, the result of a coffee-breeding project with Sigri Estate in Papua New Guinea.

While its cafes give it visibility, Mullins says he's just as excited about Hyperion's wholesale business. Its twelve-ounce bags are a familiar sight in Ann Arbor and metro Detroit grocery stores.

"David and Alex and I are coffee people," he says. "We want the coffee to tell the story first."

Hyperion Coffee, 111 W. Liberty, (734) 510-0398. Daily 7 a.m.-6 p.m. hyperioncoffee.com

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In contrast to the relaxing vibe at Hyperion, in mid-November the atmosphere at Ann Arbor Coffee Roasting Co. was more like a construction site. There were no signs on the building on State St. at North University, either on the front of the building or inside, where a crew struggled to install a menu board. But the double storefront was packed with customers, some waiting to order drinks, others to pick theirs up, and still others filling seats at tables and two counters.

"I got a triple espresso!" shouted one staff member. "Whole milk latte!" yelled another.

The cafe is a homecoming for its owners: Manthri Srinath managed the original Espresso Royale cafe here for its founder, the late Marcus Goller. His partners are Goller's widow, Amy McEwen Goller, and son Spencer Goller.

For now, they're getting their coffee from the former ERC roastery in Brighton, but there are plans to roast coffee on-site.

It's the latest ERC location to spring back to life. Earlier this fall, ERC veterans Lisa Tuveson and Ken Pargulski opened M-36 Coffee Roasters in the former ERC on South University, while Moege Tee is now in ERC's onetime Plymouth Rd. spot.

A printed menu next to the cash register listed prices of $3.75 for hot chocolate, $5 for a small regular latte, and $5.75 for a coconut creme latte. Plant-based milks are 75 cents extra, and there's a display of the available kinds on the counter.

Since there were no open seats, I took my $4.50 cortado, served in a paper cup with no lid, back to my car to enjoy. The espresso was smooth and flavorful, and while the crema looked more like a blob than a flower, Ann Arbor Roasting merits a return trip when things settle down.

Ann Arbor Coffee Roasting Company, 324 S. State. No phone. annarborcoffeeroasting.com.     (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2021.]

 


 
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