Madcap, Fulton

An exclusive naturally-occurring varietal from El Salvador, served as an espresso in a snifter glass at Madcap, Fulton in Grand Rapids.Today’s Coffee Spot celebrates the publication of Sprudge’s A Coffee Drinker’s Guide to Grand Rapids, written by friend of the Coffee Spot, The Pourover. Taking you back to a glorious, sunny, hot (29°C) Sunday last September, the day I visited Grand Rapids on my Midwest Road Trip, let me present my own modest contribution, Madcap’s Fulton Street branch, attached to its roastery in suburban eastern Grand Rapids.

The roastery moved here from the basement of the original Monroe Center location in 2015, with the coffee shop opening in March 2018. Occupying an old garage set back from the street, there’s a broad forecourt, with seating out front. The roastery and training room, open by appointment only, is to the left, while the standalone coffee shop is to right.

A smaller, more relaxed operation than the flagship store downtown, the coffee offering’s similar, with two options on espresso (a blend and single-origin), four on pour-over (one blend, three single-origins) and four on batch-brew (six at the weekend). Various drinks are on tap, including nitro and cold brew, plus there’s tea and seasonal drinks. Naturally, the entire output is available in retail bags, with a small selection of cake if you’re hungry.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Set back on the sunny side of Fulton St E in Grand Rapids, it's Madcap Coffee Company!
  • The roastery and training centre is on the left, the coffee shop to the right.
  • There's seating out front and more down the right-hand side.
  • This includes a neat cluster of armchairs on the corner.
  • The three tables out front, all packed up at the end of the day.
  • The door is at the left-hand end of the space. Stepping inside, the counter is at the back.
  • Meanwhile, there is a short, two-person window-bar to the left of the door...
  • ... and a longer, five-person one to the right.
  • A long, thin, standing-only bar runs down the centre...
  • .... with water at the far end and, against the left-hand wall, retail shelves.
  • Looking the other way along the bar, you can see more seating.
  • There's a solitary two-person table in front of the roll-up windows after the bar...
  • ... and then, along the right-hand wall, a long, padded bench seat with two-person tables.
  • This starts by the roll-up windows at the front...
  • ... and wraps around to a solitary table against the back wall.
  • The final seating is at the counter. There are three stools down the right-hand side...
  • ... and six along the front.
  • The walls are, in fact, mostly windows, so there's little decoration. This is the exception.
  • Down to business. The till is directly ahead of you as you enter.
  • Retail shelves line the front of the counter below the till...
  • ... while off to the right are the six nitro taps, with a menu on the wall behind.
  • It's fairly concise...
  • ... with a printed menu on the counter-top by the till providing more detail.
  • Moving along, you reach the pour-over, wtih twin Modbar modules...
  • ... the coffee made using Kalita Wave filters.
  • I decided to put it to the test, ordering the Elefanta Viejo from El Salvador.
  • The thing with the Modbar is that once you set it going, it does it all by itself.
  • Soon my coffee is ready to serve...
  • ... in a lovely ceramic mug.
  • The same coffee was on as the second espresso option. Naturally, I had to try it.
  • First of all, grind the coffee...
  • ... then tamp and attached the portafilter.
  • And off we go!
  • I love watching espresso extract, especially into glass.
  • It looks gorgeous, doesn't it?
  • Almost done.
  • And there's my espresso, in the snifter glass.
  • Before I left, I swapped a copy of my book for a bag of Madcap's 10th anniversary blend!
Photo Carousel by v4.6

Madcap occupies a long, low, single-storey white-painted building on the northern side of Fulton Street at its corner with Caroline Place. The roastery/training room has a separate entrance on the left, while the coffee shop occupies the right-hand two thirds, the door at the left-hand end of the space.

Smaller than the flagship Monroe Center location, Fulton Street has more outside seating, making full use of the old garage forecourt. There are three four-person tables in front of the coffee shop, a cluster of four armchairs on the corner and a further four-person table down the right-hand side. This layout is mirrored by the windows, with tall windows on the left, followed by a glass rollup door on the right. Finally, along the right-hand side, are more windows, making the interior really bright, sunlight flooding in all day long due to its south-facing aspect, although the projecting, flat awning at the front provides some respite from the sun.

Inside and out, a black and white colour scheme dominates, offset by a red concrete floor. The door is inset into the windows on the left-hand side, with a two-seat window-bar to the left, and a five-seat window-bar to the right, seating provided by narrowly-spaced, fixed-height black stools bolted to the floor. The counter is on the back wall and, starting on the left, occupies maybe two-thirds of its width. You can sit here on more of the black stools, a wide, white-topped projection allowing you to get your knees under the counter-top. In all, there are six stools along the front, three more down the right-hand side.

The remaining seating is around the edges, with a single two-person table to the right of window-bar, followed by a long, padded black bench running under the two windows at the side and a little way around the back wall. There are seven two-person tables along the right-hand side and one along the back wall, all with wire-backed chairs. Finally, there’s a standing-only table/bar in the centre between the windows and the counter, which also has takeaway lids and a water station at the far end.

The till is directly opposite the door, with a small pair of shelves on the counter-front, filled with retail bags. The menu is on the wall behind the counter, with the coffee choices on a printed menu that you can pick up and read at your leisure. The rest of the counter is given over to coffee-making, starting with the nitro taps, followed by the pour-over section. In contrast to the Seraphim Brewers at Monroe Centre, Fulton Street has a pair of Modbar pour-over modules, while at the right-hand end, there’s a La Marzocco Linea, which, along with its two grinders, faces the right-hand wall.

Madcap changes things up on a regular basis, with a different second option on espresso every day or so, while the pour-over choices change every few days. During my visit, there were an interesting pair of micro-lots exclusive to Madcap from the same farm in El Salvador. The first was a naturally-occurring varietal found by the farmer, while the second was from trees seeded from the original.

Both were available as pour-over, with the original on as the second espresso, so I decided to have that. I started by tried it as a pour-over, served in a lovely ceramic mug, followed by the espresso, served in a snifter glass. As a pour-over, it was a very fine, rich, fruity coffee, while as an espresso, it was very different, the acidity accentuated over the fruitiness, but with much of the same underlying taste.

1041 FULTON STREET EAST • GRAND RAPIDS • MI 49503 • USA +1 888-866-9091
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Madcap (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Window-Bar, Counter, Sofas; Tables (Outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 16th September 2018

You can see what I made of the other Madcap locations in Grand Rapids, Monroe Center and Downtown Market, while for more on the Grand Rapids coffee scene, check out Sprudge’s Coffee Drinker’s Guide.

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3 thoughts on “Madcap, Fulton

  1. Pingback: Madcap, Monroe Center | Brian's Coffee Spot

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