Tucked behind the M43 Fitness gym is a new small coffee venue percolating with hometown heart.

With a manual lever espresso machine and soup stocked from Soup Spoon Café, the Urban Cup seeks to be the next local hangout for caffeine and soup aficionados in the Groesbeck neighborhood and beyond.

“Coffee is such a social drink and my goal as a coffee roaster is to always support people when they get together,” said Robert Flanders, Urban Cup proprietor and artisan coffee maker. “Whether you are telling someone you love them, or asking for forgiveness, a good cup of coffee will always help.”

The business came about from collaboration between Flanders, Soup Spoon Café owner Nick Gavrilides and M43 Fitness owner Scott Abramouski.

Neighbors to the gym building, Urban Cup stocks pre and post workout beverage options and drinks focused on hydration alongside its artisan offerings.

Flanders brings 15 years of coffee roasting and crafting experience to Urban Cup.

He earned his stripes working previously at the Lopez Bakery and Soup Spoon Café on Michigan Avenue. He also runs Rudy Baggs Coffee, a roasting and coffee delivery company out of Lansing.

Flanders believes the title of barista lost its meaning since it was commercialized.

“A barista knows about coffee, knows about extraction and develops a clientele,” he said.

“Just because you know how to saw something by hand, that doesn’t make you a master carpenter. I don’t consider myself one, and don’t believe it is a title you give yourself or should be bestowed upon by a boss.”

The Urban Cup offers three full bodied coffees daily. M43 Blend is a ketogenic coffee made with butter for pre and post workout, Urban Magic is the house blend and another will be on weekly rotation.

The Urban Cup respects the growers and coffee bean, so dark roasts are off the table, Flanders said.

However, dark roast drinkers need not worry.

“In 15 years, I’m going to say 99 percent of the people who come in and want a dark roast really want a properly roasted full bodied coffee with the flavor and boldness of the bean.”

Espresso drinkers are in for a treat. Urban Cup sports a hand pulled lever espresso machine that makes all the difference, Flanders said.

“It operates using a piston with springs.

It is much more artisan, providing a greater degree of control for the operator.”

The association of espresso being extremely bitter comes from people making it wrong, he said.

“Most of the time, if espresso is bitter, it is over extracted.”

Rudy’s Dream, a double shot of espresso with heavy cream, is becoming a quick favorite, he added.

“Coffee to me is about relationships, so this business is an expression of a relationship,” Flanders said. “Even though we are small, we are trying to learn people’s names and let the energy of the place be a sense of calm you can take with you.”

Local artwork will be on rotation in the cafe as well. Soup Spoon Café salads and sandwiches are prospective additions to the menu pending a successful launch. They also carry scones.

“Never underestimate what a good cup of coffee can do.”


The Urban Cup

Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 2225 E. Grand River Ave. www.facebook.com/theurbancuplansing (517) 574-5617