Downtown Ann Arbor gained a new coffee shop when BeanBerry Cafe opened on October 15. BeanBerry is operated by two brothers, Wes and Issa Baiz, and offers a variety of coffees and teas, including bubble tea and bubble waffles.
Their coffee option include a “Selfieccino,” a cappuccino with a photo printed directly into the foam on top of it. The image is made by a small printer operated by customers, who scan the QR code on the machine and upload the image they would like to have printed on their drinks.
The machine only prints in coffee dust, so there are no colors. Wes Baiz explained they keep additives out of the drink.
“You have the option of buying the machine and doing it with black and white or colored, but the colored has additives and all that, so we didn’t want to go that route,” Baiz said. “We just want the regular one and the regular one is just coffee extract.”
The Baiz brothers grew up in Detroit, and also ran cafes in Toledo and Bowling Green, Ohio. Baiz said he wanted to introduce people to French press coffee, as well as coffee made from single-origin beans.
“We want to give people a different idea of what your traditional coffee tastes like,” Baiz said. “People are typically used to things in the packet — like you put your cup into the machine and you’re done — and that’s why people don’t really like just regular coffee. So we want to really bring out the notes as much as we can, to give people a different experience than what they've had before.”
As well as being focused on more natural coffee, they offer bubble tea without fructose by using pure sugar cane as a substitute if requested by the customer.
The shop uses sustainable straws, even though it costs four times more to make bamboo straws instead of plastic. Baiz said it is worth it to follow BeanBerry’s mission of being environmentally conscious.
All of the products they sell are compostable. Baiz said he and his brother established a route with a special company in order to ensure that all garbage that they produce — including materials used by employees as well as trash from customers — is composted.
Baiz added the business isn’t all about profit. He said the company is very focused on the customers.
“For us, it’s not about profit margins,” Baiz said. “We have to have some, but we truly believe that if we deliver the best that we can, people will support us. We’re always going to stick to our values and our belief system because yes, we have the compostable products, but we also care about the people too.”
Mark Marsinek, a resident of Oak Park, Mich., stopped into BeanBerry on a business trip to Ann Arbor. He said he loved the colorful signature bubble waffle.
“I think it’s extremely innovative, and I think that it’s going to be a big hit because it’s something different,” Marsinek said. “People can come in here and not just get coffee, but they can get bubble tea or a waffle with ice cream, and this is really, really good. The concept is pretty incredible.”
Public Policy senior Kendall Kaiser said as a coffee fanatic, she thinks BeanBerry will thrive in Ann Arbor.
“I’m really excited about it,” Kaiser said. “I studied abroad this past semester, and I was visiting Copenhagen, and I went to a coffee shop with my friends, and they had that same concept, so it’s really cool to see in America.”