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What I Learned By Throwing a Coffee Crawl

Caffeine highs, sugar rushes, and lots of sweet, sweet Spoon bonding

On Saturday November 3, Spoon MSU went on a coffee crawl in the East Lansing and Lansing area funded generously by Spoon HQ and their Slushie Fund. Our team carpooled to three coffee shops: Mitten Raised, Strange Matter, and Blue Owl. At each stop, we tried several different types of coffee along with whatever baked good they had. It was an amazing event full of caffeine, sugar, mouth-watering photos, and team bonding.

However, this event was not without a few hiccups including a missed t-shirt ordering deadline, lower attendance than expected, and a closed coffee shop. We were going to order coffee crawl t-shirts, but they were too expensive, and we were late ordering them, so instead we ordered cute Spoon mugs complete with little white spoons. Also, we had 14 Spoon members and their friends come, and in the initial planning stages, we were expecting at least 20, if not 25 attendees. But with the lower attendance, we had more opportunity to talk to each other and get to know each other better. Lastly, Bloom Coffee Roasters was supposed to be our fourth coffee shop on the coffee crawl, but unbeknownst to us (and the internet) Bloom Coffee Roasters, which had just reopened in May, was unfortunately closed again. Yet, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because people were coffee'd out and way too tired to hit another coffee shop.

Although we had some missteps, we worked through them and threw an all in all successful coffee crawl.

Mitten Raised

James Jabara

Our first stop was Mitten Raised, located in Brookfield Plaza where Red Cedar cafe used to be. Mitten Raised is run by Katie Anne Lambert (who recently got married to Josh Karamol!) and has been in the East Lansing area since early 2018. This coffee shop is mostly known for being an amazing bakery with creative desserts like the Cookie Monster donut with blue frosting and cookie crumbles, but they also have great coffee roasted by Uncommon Coffee Roasters.

Katie Anne was busy when we stopped by at 9:30 am, but we still had the opportunity to talk to her husband Josh who was also working there. He answered any and all questions we had, and we learned many interesting facts about Mitten Raised that made us love this bakery even more. For example, the green Z and H initials on the left wall stand for their dogs Zoey and Harley, and the pictures of kids on the right wall are Katie Anne and her brother Joe when they were younger. 

We ended up ordering the cold brew, the chocolate cold brew, and the nitro latte along with a dozen assorted donuts. My personal favorite was the chocolate cold brew and the Joyce donut, which tastes like a cinnamon roll with caramel and vanilla frosting. 

James Jabara

I love Mitten Raised because it has such a cozy, personal feel, and the workers are all so friendly. I also like that you can see the owner working there because you can tell that she really cares about her bakery and her customers. 

#SpoonTip: If you're a donut fiend like me, donuts are half off after 4pm at Mitten Raised!

Strange Matter

James Jabara

Our second stop was Strange Matter. We went to the location on Michigan Ave (there's also a location in downtown Lansing). This coffee shop is the definition of trendy with its industrial finishes, featured artwork on the wall, and selection of vegan and gluten-free desserts. Their coffee is pretty delicious too.

We ordered a dozen donuts - 6 vegan and 6 not. The 6 vegan donuts were vanilla sprinkle, strawberry sugar, 2 peanut butter chocolates, maple, and sweet potato. The 6 non-vegan donuts were lemon lavender, blueberry, vanilla sprinkle, cookie bomb, dutch apple, and pumpkin cheesecake. We also ordered their pumpkin spice latte, cinnamon honey latte, and some plain coffee. My personal favorites were the lemon lavender and sweet potato donuts and the honey and cinnamon latte. 

James Jabara

If you're vegan or gluten-free this coffee shop is definitely the place for you because they have so many food options. However, it can be tricky to find a place to sit in Strange Matter because so many people love this place. When we were there, the line went to the door, and we probably didn't make the rest of the customers too happy by trying to squish 14 more people into that space.

Blue Owl

Alexandra Perkins

Our final stop was Blue Owl, the coffee shop to go to if you want a unique and delicious coffee concoction the likes of which you've never tasted before. Blue Owl is located all the way in REO Town (in Lansing), but luckily for MSU students, Blue Owl is opening a second location next to Fieldhouse and Hopcat in December

We ordered scones and all their seasonal specialty drinks like La Vida Loca Mocha (salted honey mocha with cayenne pepper), the American Beauty (espresso with honey, vanilla, and roses), the Great Pumpkin (spiced pumpkin latte), and Run of the Mill (cider with caramel and orange). La Vida Loca Mocha was interesting to say the least. Not my cup of coffee, if you know what I mean, but some of the other members really liked the spice. My personal favorite was the American Beauty because I had never had coffee that tasted like roses before. 

Genevieve Feister

Go to Blue Owl if you love an artsy vibe. On Monday nights they have open mic night; on Wednesday nights they have game nights; and on Friday nights they have music nights. They also have featured artists and their artwork on the walls, and a ton of interesting specialty drinks and coffee "cocktails." 

James Jabara

Overall, this coffee crawl was a fun way to get to know our team members better and some of their food-loving friends. Everyone had a ton of fun, and we even gained a new member, Ashley Blackburn, because she liked our team and the event so much! This coffee crawl is definitely one of my favorite memories of Spoon so far, and I hope the team considers doing a similar event next year.