It never rains but it pours, and in the case of our summer build-outs from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s coming down like a storm of Cornish pasties. In July we featured an upcoming opening from Velodrome Coffee in Marquette, and this week we take a look at a third location from Iron River-based Contrast Coffee, also slated to open in Marquette. Please join us for another preview of the burgeoning coffee scene in the topmost pleasant peninsula.
As told to Sprudge by Alex Fields.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Contrast was founded in the summer of 2016 as a roastery and cafe in Iron River, Michigan. We started with a vision to foster craft coffee culture and provide some of the best coffee possible to the UP. We have an emphasis on being community-centric and providing a fun, fast, yet easygoing cafe experience while never compromising in quality.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We are very excited to be getting into this space. The building is a longstanding, iconic space on 3rd Street, which is one of Marquette’s busiest thoroughfares for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Boasting a mix of unique shops, restaurants, residential spaces, and Graveraet Elementary on the same block as us (which houses Kaufman Auditorium, a beautiful, historic, and well-utilized venue), this cafe will be our third, following the Ironwood location, which we opened just near the end of 2016. It will be our largest space yet, with large windows making up most of the outer wall. The bar will be set against the back wall allowing the center of the room to be very open with a large communal seating and lots of seating around the windows. It’s set up to cater to both those on the go and those wishing to stay and work or relax.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Simply exceptional customer service and uncompromising quality. For our coffees, we source and roast seasonally to highlight origin characteristics and aim to show that coffee can be more than just a black roasty caffeine supplement.
In our cafes, we offer a menu that both highlights coffee and espresso in a pure and traditional sense, also while balancing that with some fun and interesting signature drinks that combine other ingredients to elevate your experience beyond what the coffee can do by itself. Because let’s face it, espresso, a dash of maple syrup, and almond milk taste really good together!
On the back end, we fuss over the details so you can simply enjoy your coffee. We try not to bog down the customer with excessive, unwanted info and instead work in the educating as we walk down our menu with them to find the drink that they will enjoy most. We have found that us simply showing our excitement and passion for what we have and what we do piques people’s interest and they end up asking lots of questions, which we are always more than happy to answer while we are making your drink. We are about building a relationship and earning your desire to learn more. If you want to know all the things, we are open books—and if you just want to grab your coffee and go, that’s cool too.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We have been using La Marzocco machines and Mahlkönig grinders in all our cafes which have been amazing to work with, but for this location we will be changing things up with a two-group Slayer Steam. We are beyond excited about this and cannot wait to put it to work keeping Marquette people happy and caffeinated!
To complement the machinery we utilize Saint Anthony tampers, OCD distributor tools, and Acaia scales to ensure consistently high-quality espresso across the board.
We will offer a full espresso menu with classic, signature, and seasonally crafted drinks. For coffee, we will offer a daily batch brew on French press, nitro cold brew, and a slow brew bar offering individual pour-overs and Chemexes for two (or one, if that’s how you roll). We understand not everyone is a coffee drinker, and that’s cool, we’ve got you covered with loose leaf teas and chai from Rishi Tea and made-to-order seasonal fruit sodas. We will also offer a selection of locally produced baked goods.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Yes, we are working closely with RG Design Co. of Marquette to cultivate a modern comfortable space that has both form and function. We are wanting to capitalize on the large windows and have the interior utilize all that glorious natural light.
No. Thank you!
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub. Got a Build-Out of your own? Get in touch.