GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – We polled and you told! Our viewers voted Jam’n Bean the best coffee shop in West Michigan. So I went to explore what made this place stand out from all the rest. Grand Rapids may be Beer City USA, but we know a thing or two about coffee as well.
A brief history
Jam’n Bean was founded by Doug Lee. A man of many talents, Doug works in IT and saw a need in his community and his own family. In 2011, changes were made to high school curriculum that was making it more difficult for his kids to stay in their music classes. Seeing music getting pushed out of these teen’s lives, made Doug want to do something about it. After opening a small coffee shop, he partnered with Forest Hills Marching Band and created a scholarship program to help kids go to band camp. Using 10% of sales, Doug has been able to reward $60, 000 to Forest Hills teens. If that wasn’t motive enough, Doug wanted to start a business that he could pass on to his kids. Something that could fit each of their niche talents. Today, his son, Thomas, is a roaster, his daughter, Bethany, is in manufacturing and fabrication, and his other daughter, Julieanne, manages the ice cream shop.
Besides coffee and ice cream, Jam’n Bean hosts swing dancing, concerts, movie nights, and so much more. The Lee family loves the West Michigan community and makes that relationship a huge focal point in their shops.
A trip to Jam’n Bean…
There are three shop locations, Cascade Road, Ada, and Downtown Grand Rapids. Each location has something special. The Cascade location is known for their jamming outdoor venue, chock full of professional equipment and lights, making it a must-go place in the summer. Their location in downtown is a coffee lovers paradise (more on that later). Finally, their Ada location has tons of juices and teas, including a barista who is known for finding the right tea mix for any ailment. I decided to check out the Cascade location to get a better look at the ice cream shop and outdoor venue (what puts the “jam” in Jam’n Bean). The outside is very cute, but inside you are transported to a chic European-style cafe. The walls are adorned with metallic tiles, bistro lighting is created by cool handmade gas lamps, and behind the counter is a very knowledgable barista, Trisha Ross.
The cappuccinos and lattes is what keeps the customers coming back, along with the custom roasted beans. I had the pleasure of sampling a capp and it was silky smooth. Very rich, but with a nice hit of creamy, warm espresso. Their signature roast is “What the Brew”, but they also have a large selection of specialty coffees and teas. The uniqueness of their coffee comes from their 5 key points, which are kept private (for good reasons!). Whatever the secret, Jam’n Bean brings some major flavor to the coffee game in West Michigan.
A must-go spot
If you only plan on visiting one Jam’n Bean location, check out the location in downtown Grand Rapids. The machine pictured above is called a Steampunk. Cool fact: Jam’n Bean is the only coffee shop in the state of Michigan to have one. It’s used to brew coffee and tea in the most precise way possible. Check out the downtown location to see this thing in action. Baristas use an Ipad to digitally control every aspect of the coffee, leaving you with the most delicious custom brew you’ve ever had. While you’re there, check out barista Mike Rice. I was told he could design my face in the latte. This Jam’n Bean is located right in the heart of the city on Ottawa (address below). It’s prime location and close to everything, plus a pretty great spot to fuel up while you’re hoofing it downtown. While you’re there, don’t overlook any food items, they are real deal. At the Cascade location, I had a piece of coffee cake that had grounds in the streusel…um, hello! It was delicious.
Keep an eye on Jam’n Bean, they’ll be expanding more in the next few months!
Jam’n Bean locations:
Jamnbean Coffee Company – Cascade
6860 Cascade Rd. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Hours: m-f 7a-5p|Sat 8a-4p|Sun 10a-3pJamnbean Coffee Company – Ada
590 Ada Drive SE
Ada, MI 49301
Hours: m-f 7a-5p|Sat 8a-4p|Sun 10a-3pJamnbean Coffee Company – Downtown Grand Rapids
161 Ottawa NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours: m-f 7a-5p | Sat. 8a-1p | Sun. Closed