Category Archives: Coffee

Goodbye Caribou Coffee, hello Peet’s

Our local Caribou Coffee closed its doors for the last time on Sunday. A trailer appeared in the front of it Monday sporting a Peet’s logo. The effort to rebuild the corner coffee shop under a new name is expected to take a couple of weeks, with a planned opening date in mid-November.

Change is hard, and change in a coffee routine is doubly hard. The corner Caribou had been a study spot, a meeting place, a second office and a place to see Mike the Mailman. Can we count on Peet’s to fill the same neighborhood niche? Only time will tell.

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Elixir Vitae Coffee and Tea, E Liberty St, Ann Arbor next to Liberty St Robot Supply
Love at Caribou Coffee

Elixir Vitae Coffee and Tea, E Liberty St, Ann Arbor next to Liberty St Robot Supply

I had my first chance to sit at the new Elixir Vitae cafe on East Liberty today. The store is one of two with that name, after the Cafe Ambrosia store on Maynard Street changed its name. (Same ownership, just a new name, because of conflicts with too many other coffee businesses called Ambrosia).

Some impressions:

There's a lot more sunshine in the new cafe than there ever was in the old one. Maynard is shaded by the parking structure and by Tower Plaza, but East Liberty has a nice south-facing window and light coming in.

The general ambiance is about the same, but not as many people have discovered the new cafe just yet. I'm expecting it to eventually get something between a Main Street and a State Street sense to it, but for now, I was mostly alone in using the place for an extended typing session.

The local events bulletin board has a good selection to look at – it's not quite as big as the Maynard location, which has in my opinion one of the finest bulletin boards in town.

All in all a solid showing and a good new place to go.

Things I wish I had written, September 2010 edition

A travel guide from here to South Bend via US-12, with roadside geology and history; ditto, the road south on US-23 and its cross-section through the surface of the earth towards Bowling Green.

A look out the window of the Oxford Shuttle, a bus that goes around the University of Michigan central campus.

A reprise of the "top 10 internet cafes" post from 2006, updated with a lot of 2010 details.

10 bed and breakfasts in the area, plus a long list more, all based on first hand research.

Where to watch the Michigan-Notre Dame Game anywhere in the country, with notes on which of the places serve Michigan beers.

Which little place between here and Amherst, Mass. serves a mean Michigan dog, and what exactly do they mean by Michigan dogs there?

How to ship a shipping container on the Great Lakes, and how to float one downstream from Ann Arbor to the sea or up the lakes to the UP.  Portaging might be hard, especially with low water.

There will be a chance to write all these again, but sometimes the idea is overtaken by events, and then you have to have a new idea.

supermemo and morning coffee ritual memory

An important piece of having coffee in the morning is making it part of a routine. If you’re predictable in your habits, you start to see the same people in the same space at the same time, and you get to be something of a regular.

If you’re careful, and switch your morning allegiances from time to time but still visit the old haunts often enough, you can be what passes for a regular long after you stopped coming every day.

How often, then, do you need to show up for people to remember you? For that I turn to structured repetition, and the power of priming memory periodically to strengthen it. Supermemo, a software package for memory improvement, has a nice paper on using Supermemo without a computer, which specifies a pattern of repetitions and intervals to get details into memory. The table of intervals specified says that you review materials at this pace:

4 days, 7 days, 12 days, 20 days, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 5 months, 9 months, 16 months, 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, 11 years, 18 years

Which suggests that a well-timed practice of showing up at a cafe, introducing yourself to everyone, learning their names, and them coming back at precisely timed intervals to repeat the process would be enough to make you a regular in no time at all.

Breakfast w/Kate DCamp at Zingerman’s Next Door

I had breakfast with Kate DCamp at Zingerman’s Next Door near my office. It was her first time there. I got there early and enjoyed a coffee and a blueberry muffin while listening to tunes. They were playing War’s “Summer”

Ridin round town with all the windows down

Eight track playin all your favorite sounds

The rhythm of the bongos fill the park

The street musicians tryin to get a start

Cause it’s summer

Summer time is here

Yes it’s summer

My time of year

Yes it’s summer

My time of year

which was just right on a day that will be 90 degrees today.

Kate has a new house, a new driveway under construction, a new bocce court, and a new puppy, and seems to be settling down in Ann Arbor well. We talked about some differences between here and San Jose. She noted just how many MBAs she had recruited from Michigan and how handy it was for them to find her back here, and how she’s preparing for the commute to Lansing for law school.

Neither of us got a parking ticket (that was quite a feat).

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Primo Coffee, Fifth and Liberty, Ann Arbor MI

There’s a new cafe in downtown Ann Arbor – Primo Coffee at the corner of Fifth and Liberty kitty corner from the Post Office.

UPDATE: in Unicode, that would be ①♨.

They serve Zingerman’s baked goods and the usual set of coffee drinks. The view is pretty good, and at least when I went there it wasn’t that busy.

I picked up a good Wireless Washtenaw signal from there, and they have signs up saying that they have their own wifi, though I couldn’t tell which of the many signals was supposed to be theirs. There’s also a sign up promising a private conference room seating 12 for rent, but that wasn’t ready yet.

They have another location in Ypsilanti on Whittaker Road, and indeed their web site only refers to that location.

Spencer Thomas took a photo of the place just before it opened – and I met him there the first day I happened into the place.