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Grind those spices: Taste Coffee Co. makes it all from scratch

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For Taste Coffee Co., the first step to any menu item is high-quality ingredients. General manager Molly Vanderwey said her family’s business focuses on made-from-scratch menu items. 

“The excellence of our product is really important to us,” Vanderwey said. “Of course, our name is Taste, and we need to live up to our name. We’re very committed to keeping things tasting excellent, and that starts with high quality products.” 

Taste is across from Jackson National Life, just south of I-96, making it a convenient location for many, said Vanderwey. “People hear Mason and think, ‘Oh, that’s far out there,’ but we’re really just off of the highway. People have been enjoying the fact that they can get here easily from just about anywhere.” 

The space was formerly Country House Catering (and before that the Golden Rose Restaurant) before the Vanderwey family transformed the building into a coffee shop and event venue. The shop showcases baristas at the forefront making drinks at the espresso machine, several different indoor seating areas, and an outdoor tent with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and more. The event room is available for business-related rentals for 60 to 100 people, but if not in use, is also a seating option for customers.  

“We would like to call it warm and inviting,” Vanderwey said. “Hospitality is one of our top most passions at Taste.” 

All syrups and flavors for lattes are made in-house, using real vanilla beans, honey, cinnamon and maple. All lattes are available hot or iced. “We make our own chai concentrate,” Vanderwey said. “We start with whole spices, and we grind them ourselves. It’s very flavorful and not sugary and artificial.” 

The shop also offers a variety of teas, with three current options: masala chai, jasmine green and Earl Grey, in addition to the classics like house espressos, cappuccinos, Americano and decaf options via its partner roaster, Rowster Coffee, of Grand Rapids.  

Vanderwey said the food menu, a draw for many customers, sets them apart. Her sister, Anneke, is a baker. “She trained in a baking school in England this past summer,” Vanderwey said proudly. “She makes cinnamon rolls, soft pretzels, everything bagels, chocolate chip cookies, lemon blueberry sweet bread, challah bread and focaccia bread.” 

All food items are baked fresh every morning on site, with an in-house grain mill and sourdough starter. “People love the fact that if they come here at 7:30 or 8 in the morning, then your cinnamon roll is still warm from the oven. They just taste so much better,” Vanderwey said. 

Popular drink items include lavender honey latte, iced peach green tea, strawberry lemonade and hot chocolate for kids. Taste, which opened in January and held a grand opening celebration on June 4,  plans  to offer live music and more baked goods and pour-over coffee.

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