The Rapidian

Madcap Coffee to introduce Belgian waffles at Midtown location

Madcap Coffee will open its new location this spring with a roastery next door and homemade waffles accompanied by a variety of seasonal spreads.
There are beans being roasted five days of the week at Madcap Coffee's roastery.

There are beans being roasted five days of the week at Madcap Coffee's roastery. /Rachel McLaughlin

Underwriting support from:
Madcap Coffee co-founder Ryan Knapp.

Madcap Coffee co-founder Ryan Knapp. /Rachel McLaughlin

Madcap Coffee is hard at work creating a second location in Midtown right between Diamond and Fuller at 1041 Fulton St E for a spring opening. The company says they will continue to provide a unique and engaging experience for coffee lovers not only through coffee, but through homemade Belgian waffles paired with multiple, seasonal spreads. Their downtown location has been "providing a coffee experience for the people of Grand Rapids" since its founding by Ryan Knapp and Trevor Corlett in 2008. 

The decision to incorporate waffles was based on Knapp's practice of making bread as a hobby. The waffles, says Knapp, will be crisp on the outside but flaky on the inside, "sweet, but not too sweet," and come from a long fermentation from a natural starter. 

"We're looking for a waffle delicious and sweet on its own," he says. "Nothing goes together better than coffee and waffles."

Knapp is excited for the new location's close proximity to the Fulton Street Farmers Market to get fresh ingredients.

Staff will be designated specifically for working with mixing and fermenting the waffles and spreads, alongside other staff serving as baristas. The baristas, trained 6-12 months, will continue brewing cups and creating coffee flights so coffee lovers can sample how each roast tastes different from farmer to farmer.

Madcap tastes through thousands of coffees each year to find the best ones for their menu containing two to three dozen roasts. The second Grand Rapids location, complete with a 1930s garage aesthetic,  will have a viewable onsite roastery where beans from 12 different countries will be roasted five days a week.

Blind taste tests will be done for each roast to ensure quality of their brews before packing and shipping each fresh roast all over the United States. Like the company's own baristas, Madcap trains cafes, restaurants and other coffee providers on how to brew their roasts to get the proper Madcap flavor. Each flavor at Madcap comes with its own flavor profile based on taste and origin of the roast.

"It's not just the flavor in the cup," says Knapp, "but the story behind it."

Knapp spends 1/3 of his year traveling around the globe, including a visit to Kenya this month. He works directly with the farmers supplying Madcap's beans. For their other ingredients, however, Madcap prefers to shop locally, finding local sources for their dairy and bakery products.

"Whenever we can partner with a local business, we certainly do," says Knapp. Sources currently include baked goods from local businesses like Field & Fire and Sweet Batches.

Knapp says visitors to the location, just a few steps from the Fulton Street Farmers Market, will be able to "connect flavor and experience" through new food, coffee and story when Madcap's additional location opens this spring on E. Fulton.

"We've always tried to do things a little outside the box," says Knapp, "things that are fun." 

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