Today is December 14th. It is the week before finals, yet I sit here next to the window of Lab Coffee Café as peaceful as I have ever been. Drake plays on the speakers of the coffee shop and the snow outside falls like feathers from the winter sky.
Suddenly a message pops up on the screen of my computer: it is Sarah.
“Slipping everywhere,” reads the text. The Ann Arbor winter has just begun, and we college gals are already struggling with the new change in weather. “Need at least 12x more trackage for optimal speeds,” Sarah adds. Note to selves: new boots for Sarah and a pair of gloves for Maddie are needed to continue on this arduous #CupofJoy adventure. But until then, we will trek on despite the outside circumstances because the quest for finding the best cup of coffee in our favorite city is an extension of our life purposes.
Thus Lab became our sanctuary for the morning. I ordered a Cortado and Sarah a Honey Cinnamon Latté. Our conversation was intensified by the warm mugs of caffeine, and as usual, we entered a flow state of connection.
Sarah here. I love lab. I truly do. One of my favorite things to do is to tell a friend to meet me at lab and have them be confused. Sarah, are you doing research? Which lab? Are you secretly a chemistry major? Disappointing to everyone, including Mr. Hudecek my high school AP Chem teacher, I am alas, not a chemist. But, I have found a little bit of alchemy at lab ann arbor. It is maybe a time warp, a wormhole in the universe, as nestled in this nook, you can pass hours and have no idea where the time went. The staff is as warm and welcoming as the bright and airy cafe itself. Not overly gregarious or annoying, but the right amount of engaging and attentive. Lab attracts a wide variety of cafe goers beyond your average student crowd, and reminds you that there is a world past graduation. As a senior in college, this reminder is semi-comforting and rather terrifying. Nonetheless, the productivity of the “real people” is contagious and encourages me to put my head down and actually focus on what I am doing.
505 e. liberty suite 300
ann arbor, mi 48104
weekdays 8am - 10pm
saturday 10am - 10pm
sunday 11am - 10pm
Wifi: Yes, passsword: pumpkinbar
1) Coffee selection: From Brown Sugar Sea Salt to Vanilla Rose lattés, Lab is the ultimate coffee spot if you are looking to fuel your adventurous foodie soul. Beyond espresso drinks, Lab also offers Matcha, Turmeric Agave Lattés, Italian and French Sodas, and even local apple cider on tap.
2) Overall Ambiance: Bright and airy atmosphere, with a background of amiable conversation and a great playlist on the main speakers. The wall of windows lends itself to great natural light and the white
3) Snack offerings: Think Parisian Bakery with an eclectic twist: matcha rice crispy treats, ham and cheese croissants, vegan carrot cake whoopie pies. All homemade. All drool-worthy.
Advice: It appears that most of their food offerings are super sugary (but delicious) pastries that don’t bode well for those who are sensitive to sweets (aka Sarah). Would like to see some more high-protein, lower sugar snacks for long-term fuel. Fresh fruit offerings would be ideal. If you are heading to lab for a marathon study session, might want to bring your own protein bar or apple for balanced snacking. Especially if you are unable to resist the honey cinnamon latte which is pretty sweet on its own.
4) Lingerability: Lab is usually pretty packed with college students and young professionals alike, their hefty book bags / laptops eating up a lot of table space. Especially near finals time this place can be hard to navigate amid the maze of studying academics. The gazes
5) Workability: A good spot to work if you can stake your claim to table space. Being outcasted to stand or try to balance your computer on your lap on one of the eclectic vintage seating options can be tricky. The small space fills up very quickly and the high chair tables are not ideal when trying to write on a laptop. Plugs are hard to find.
6) Community: Where lab lacks in workable space, it makes up for in lively atmosphere. I would recommend coming here with a friend and an assignment that requires little attention as there is plenty of background noise and a lot of stimuli. A double-edged sword, this buzz can be good white noise or distracting, depending on how much you need to focus.
7) Seating space: Lab is one hopping place. Every seat always seems to be filled, so if you are looking to secure a spot we recommend showing up early soon after the doors open.
Until next time, Salud and Sip!
Maddie & Sarah