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New coffee shop ups brewing game

Jam N Bean, a new coffee shop on Ottawa, uses the innovative "Steampunk" machine and new brewing methods to give customers more options.
Jam N Bean

Jam N Bean /Avery Johnson

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For more information:

To visit the Jam N Bean Facebook page, click here.

To learn more about the Steampunk brewing method, click here.

To learn more about nitro cold brew, click here.

/Avery Johnson

The new Steampunk machine

The new Steampunk machine /Avery Johnson

Jam N Bean (161 Ottawa Ave NW) has only been open a few weeks, but it is already one of two locations in the Grand Rapids area, an ArtPrize venue, and a leader in new brewing methods. The shop on Ottawa opened on September 1, and it currently has the only Steampunk brewing machine in the area.

The coffee shop moved into the Waters Building, a mixed use facility that hosts commercial office space and will be adding a hotel and apartment complex. The shop is on the ground level, and it is near many businesses, as well as the GRAM and other cultural icons.

“[The owner] wants to take over the world,” says manager James Hayes. “He likes really good coffee and doesn’t want to exclude any place.”

What sets this coffee shop apart from others in the area is its use of the Steampunk machine and nitro cold brew.

The avant-garde Steampunk brewing system is currently the only one of its kind in Michigan. The makers of the machine set out to create a system that encourages craftsmanship and an interactive experience.

“It’s a semi-automatic full immersion brewing system. It’s kind of like a mix between a french press and a siphon, and it’s all operated on this Google Nexus 7 tablet, so it allows us to manipulate the coffee however we want to get it to taste however we want,” describes Hayes. “And there’s also a million different options filter-wise. We can make a really clean cup without any cellulose or coffee oils. But if you want to leave those in, we can do that to and make a french press style.”

The Steampunk allows the barista to have more control over the brewing process and the amount of filtration without having to change appliances. In addition to this, watching it work is entertaining to many customers.

“It allows a new way for the barista and the customer to connect,” says Hayes. “It’s a very theatrical brewing method. It’s kind of like the best representation of trying to pursue the perfect cup of coffee. My take on it is that it’s as close as you can come in the coffee realm to finding God.”

In addition to the Steampunk, Jam N Bean uses an unusual brewing method to create nitro cold brew coffee. This type of coffee is infused with nitrogen and comes from a tap. It tends to be creamier and more frothy than regular cold brew or black coffee.

“We have nitro cold brew,” adds Hayes. “We develop different recipes for that to do something different from everyone else… We like to infuse it with different things and have as many options as possible.”

Jam N Bean is open during construction, and for convenience, has a walk-up ordering window.

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