Since moving to Ann Arbor, I’ve become somewhat of a coffee house junkie. It could be because I used to be enveloped in the grad school way of life, looking for a comfortable nook to study or pump out a paper. Now, as a graduated grad student, I still like to spend time in coffee shops that are local, cozy, modern, and inexpensive. I stumbled across Lab recently while on campus, and was even more intent on visiting once I discovered they are one of the few carriers of Cecilia’s Pastries, or more specifically, Cecilia’s macarons. It’s on my food bucket list to experience an authentic macaron, so I had to get to Lab, quickly.
Lab, located at 505 E. Liberty Street, is the epitome of modern, all white, grey, and oak. Seating isn’t plentiful, people, so don’t plan on spending hours comfortably curled up next to a pile of books. I was left with one open seat, at a “standing” bar in the middle of the room. Since I’m a cheapskate, I ordered a house blend medium coffee for around $3. The medium coffee at Lab was about a dollar more expensive than other comparable coffee places, with a few ounces less than your average “medium.” I was disappointed to see the absence of macarons in the bakery display, and the gentleman behind the counter seemed unsure/disinterested about when they might return. Lab also has 4 flavors of frozen yogurt with toppings including chocolate chips, coconut, fruit, and nuts.
Lab seems to get its name from the brewing method they employ, involving the pour of hot water over coffee grounds and letting it drip into a Pyrex below. Pulling, according to their menu board. It was cute and clever, but I’m not a coffee snob, I don’t need the porcelain bells and whistles. I was also bummed to find out they did not carry fake sweetener, just the traditional stuff. I know, it’ll probably kill me, but if that’s my coffee sweetener of choice, I’d like to at least have it as an option. I always feel judged when I rip open a packet of Splenda…
+ If you are looking for a total coffee experience, have nothing but time, don’t mind potentially taking your coffee to go, and are fine with shelling out $6-8 for a bacon and cheddar scone, you will really love Lab. They did have a fine soundtrack of foreign jazz and swing music, which I did appreciate and enjoy.
– See above. Don’t plan on meeting a large study group of friends unless you plan to get there early and stay for a long time.