South Toledo’s Plate 21 now serving Madcap CoffeeWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
South Toledo coffee shop Plate 21 recently debuted a roaster relationship with Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Madcap Coffee.
“I’m really excited. They are one of the most progressive roasters in the country,” said Plate 21 owner Sandy Spang. “Their coffee is served in only about 50 cities in the U.S., so it’s kind of a big deal. This is a big step for us and a new level of coffee for Toledo.”
Sept. 14 was the official launch date and Andrew Grassmick, Madcap’s director of sales, was on hand to help introduce the brand to local customers.
“Sandy and everyone here at Plate 21 are great,” Grassmick said. “It’s really cool they are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to business. A lot of people would be complacent because they were doing a great job before, but to really expand on that and push to be better and step up their game in coffee is admirable.”
Madcap purchases the bulk of its coffee beans directly from growers in Central and South America and all its produce is traceable to location, Grassmick said.
“We like to work with farmers and roasters who are really intentional with quality,” Grassmick said. “We have some really long-standing relationships with some of the farms we work with and we strive for sustainability at every step.”
Madcap buys beans from Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ethiopia.
“Part of having so many taste origins and taste profiles is everyone’s palate is different and everyone loves a different coffee for different reasons,” Grassmick said.
The company’s Varietal Series offers one-of-a-kind flavors available only through Madcap.
“Just like there are different varietals of wine grapes, they actually separate out the different varietals of beans for us,” Grassmick said. “That’s a really progressive thing. There’s not really anyone else doing that. There’s a lot of our coffees you literally can’t get anywhere else.”
With the new relationship, Plate 21 will transition to mainly pour-over coffee, meaning it’s made by the cup rather than by the pot. Bags of fresh whole beans are also available.
To preserve flavor, Madcap keeps its roasts light.
“We don’t dark-roast any coffee. When it gets past a certain point, you’re really roasting out all the flavors,” Grassmick said. “We take a lot of effort to source really high-quality beans and we want to make sure we roast them to bring out the inherent quality of the beans, so those flavors we are seeking will be cupped for us. Lighter-roasted coffee also actually has more caffeine, even though people think it’s the opposite.”
Spang said she considered pairing with several roasters, but didn’t feel the right connection until meeting with Madcap.
“We met a lot of roasters and drank a lot of coffee, but just didn’t feel like we had met our match,” Spang said. “We just feel like this time it’s the perfect thing for us.”
“Many people have their palates set to darker roast coffees, so this will be a new experience,” Spang added. “It’s a whole different kind of flavor. It’s like a wine, with a beginning, a middle and a finish. There are so many nuances. I just think it’s delicious.”
Plate 21 regular Melanie Quicker of South Toledo said she was impressed.
“I am totally a die-hard coffee drinker. It cannot get dark enough for me. I don’t put a thing in it. I like it bold and black, but Sandy was telling me about this,” Quicker said. “You almost get accustomed to that harsh strong taste, but this is so much more than just a bitter cup of coffee. I think it’s great Plate 21 is bringing this to Toledo.”
Spang said she’d love for a vibrant independent coffeehouse scene to grow in Toledo.
“Independents do not compete with independents; Independents compete with chains,” Spang said. “There’s room for an independent coffeehouse in every neighborhood.”
Plate 21, located at 3664 Rugby Drive, also serves traditional Italian espresso drinks, whole leaf teas, 100 percent fruit smoothies, and signature matcha frappes and lattes sweetened naturally with agave. The shop offers free Wi-Fi and a small vegetarian-friendly menu that includes panini, wraps, homemade soups, salads, breakfast sandwiches and more.
Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.
For more information, visit madcapcoffee.com or plate21.com.