Grand Rapids, Michigan is home to Madcap Coffee Company, hitting it out of the park since 2008 with distinctive coffee offerings and an unforgettable design.
Ray: Okay. I’m Ray. I’m Ray. I’m Ray.
Kandace: I’m Kandace.
Ray: This is Unpacking Coffee. Today, we’re talking about Madcap out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kandace: Yeah, we are.
Ray: Yeah, we are. Is that how you say it?
Kandace: I spent a little time in Michigan. They’re big drinkers.
Kandace: Yeah, I think so. Also, you get 10 cents back every time you bring a can. That’s the difference between leaving your cans in the recycling in the front and getting a bunch of cans, bringing it in. You can buy alcohol in the store, so you bring your cans in, and then you just go and get your tequila, and check out.
Ray: Well, also, they roast coffee. Madcap was founded in 2008 by Trevor Corlett and Ryan Knapp.
Kandace: They are so backed up by coffee cred and awards and championships. We had a chance to talk to Ryan Knapp, who is …
Ryan: I am Ryan Knapp. I’m one of the co-founders, and I’m currently the Director of Coffee at Madcap. At the core of what we’re doing, we’re finding really, really delicious coffees. Most of my time right now … I spend about a third of the year on the road, visiting producers, tasting a lot of coffees. Then, when I’m not on the road, we’re constantly cupping, sampling coffees. Last year alone, we logged over 3,000 samples that we tasted at our roastery, and that’s for the 2 to 3 dozen coffees that actually make it on the menu. That’s most of my time right now … is working with that and working with the roasting team and just working a lot more with the product before it gets into the cafe.
Ray: One of my favorite things about this company is that they actually got 2 other folks to partner with them to do design.
Kandace: Right. Do you know their names? I do.
Ray: Why don’t you …
Kandace: Seth Herman and Chuck Anderson.
Ryan: They have such good consistent branding, packaging …
Kandace: What is this? This is like a label? This is … Feel it. It feels like a label from a shirt.
Ray: Yeah, it’s like a shirt tag. Yeah. This is super cool. You didn’t have to do that. I would have loved your coffee anyway.
Ryan: The designers are fantastic. They’ve been, I think, a huge part of taking what Trevor and I loved and taken what our craft is and based on that, and they loved it, and really reached out to us and said, “We’d love to work with you.” They were a couple guys that came into the coffee bar every day and really liked what we were doing. At the time … We had pretty low budget design for the first couple years, just something to make it work because putting all of our energy into the coffee itself.
Seth Herman and then Chuck Anderson, both tremendous designers that … It’s gotten me really excited about design in general because before I was just like, “Yeah, design is just marketing; it’s whatever”, didn’t really know that much, didn’t immerse myself into it that much.
Both Seth and Chuck have done an amazing job of visually communicating what we’re about. In everything that they do, from the fabric patch to show that what we do, it’s done by hand, it’s handmade from start to finish, from the colors that we worked together to really express the vibrancy or frequency that connects with the coffee that’s in that bag, to just overall the clean, minimal detail that goes into everything they do.
They’re brilliant, and they’ve been an awesome part of really building that up and expressing to more people what we’re about.
Kandace: We got to enjoy the Lucas Melo. They sent us the Lake Effect and the Kanzu. The Lake Effect was inspired by Michigan lakes.
They have this commitment to visiting a large majority of their producers. They’re really hands-on. They’re travelling a lot. They’re having multi-year relationships. Kanzu, I happen to know, came from our friends at Red Fox, so I think on the rare times that they’re working with someone, it’s someone pretty rad.
Ray: You know what? I think the connection is that baristas make coffee. They make coffee.
Madcap Coffee, Grand Rapids, Michigan.