“Ann Arbor is a very sophisticated town for coffee,” says Allen Leibowitz, co-managing partner of Zingerman’s Coffee Company. Heretofore only a wholesaler, ZCC opened for retail when it moved to Plaza Drive next to Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Creamery, making it Ann Arbor’s only destination coffee shop in an industrial park. It sells coffee by the pound and by the cup–brewed to order in seven different ways.
Zingerman’s Coffee Company is a bastion of coffee geekiness so extreme that there’s a picture window and bar stools in front of the coffee roaster (and the website has a “Roaster Cam”). A mark of Ann Arbor’s coffee sophistication, Leibowitz says, is that dark roasts don’t sell well here. “When you roast dark, you roast some of the nuance out,” he says. Like most coffee sophisticates, Liebowitz prefers single-origin coffees to blends: “we try to be varietally correct.”
But what are those seven ways? Count all the ways you can think of and add a few more you may have heard or read about. The one that seems to be a truly new entrant on the local coffee scene is the Vietnamese-style slow drip: three ounces of very strong coffee forced through what looks like a sink strainer basket. “In Vietnam, they dilute it with condensed milk. Here we use half-and-half.”
The cavernous industrial space has been made surprisingly warm and welcoming by designer Lori Saginaw, who painted it shades of coffee, accented with ochre, lime, and vermillion. Eight tables are scattered around; the picture window is a nice touch, but even Leibowitz recognizes that watching coffee roast isn’t all that exciting most of the time.
The Coffee Company sells tea but no food–customers are encouraged to forage for snacks at the nearby Bakehouse and Creamery. The shop also sells all the equipment and tools used in it, including the Vietnamese coffee basket for $6.95.
Zingerman’s Coffee Company, 3723 Plaza Dr. 929-6060. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. zingermanscoffee.com
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