Farmers markets, grocery stores, hardware stores, indie book stores and other local spots are among our favorite places to go souvenir shopping when we're on the road in the Midwest.
Here's another edition of Midwest Market Basket feature about some of our favorite Midwest products, shopping discoveries and where to find them.
We visit family fairly often in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so I'm always on the lookout for suggestions for good places to check out in this western Michigan town. Here's a place we checked out at the suggestion of Jessie Voigts at Wandering Educators.
Tim is a big coffee fan, so I made a special note of Jessie's story about this coffee shop attached to a roasting facility offering Estate coffee, Fair Trade and Organic coffees, dark roasts, blends and flavors, as well as teas, brewing equipment and related products.
You could, just as Jessie promised, smell the fresh-roasted coffee well before you hit the parking lot in front of Shuil's, so I knew my coffee fan would be in for a good cuppa this trip out.
We visited this shop three times over two days (!), once to check it out and twice to pick up drinks and beans. By the third time we hit the door, we felt like regulars as the staff greeted us and one of them asked about the shirts we were wearing the day before (we'd gone to a minor league baseball game at Lansing in mid-Michigan that day before heading over to Grand Rapids on the west side of the state.
Another couple in the store at the same time completed their purchases and chatted familiarly with the staff. They waited for the barista to package their order as one of them confided to me that she and her husband didn't live in the immediate area, but looked forward to traveling here a couple of times each year to visit the store and stock up on coffee.
The Schuil Coffee shop is in a quiet commercial/industrial area on 29th Street, making it a convenient quick hop over from busy 28th Street, which we invariably travel along when we're in Grand Rapids.
Schuil's, established in 1981as the first specialty coffee roaster in Michigan, boasts a selection of over 200 varieties of beans roasted on site. The coffee house has about a half dozen varieties brewed and ready for visitors to sample as they shop.
Tim isn't a big fan of heavily flavored coffees, but the fellow who helped him listened carefully to his preferences and offered him plenty of full-bodied beans to choose from, taking bean canisters from the shelves, opening them up and fanning the beans slightly so Tim could smell the differences between the beans and get an idea of the eventual brew's strength.
You can order from a full menu of coffee, tea and other hot or iced specialty drinks to enjoy at the shop or to go.
I had a fresh-brewed ice tea as I browsed through the store's stock of bagged and loose teas before purchasing a few Stash-brand Ginger Peach-flavored Green Tea bags to take home.
The shop is a pleasant place to sit as you enjoy a beverage or chat with the staff.
Working on the road? The store also offers free Wi-fi.
Check out the company's Web site for information about ordering online or to check out a few other fun things like ways to recycle your used coffee grounds or coffee-based recipes (all under the site's "Entertainment" tab).
Schuil Coffee and Tea Shoppe, 3679 29th St. SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512
© Dominique King 2014 All rights reserved