The promise of great coffee starts as soon as one turns down Shrimp Road on Stock Island, where signs lead the way, introducing The Great Lakes Coffee Co., its pour-overs, craft coffees and cold brews.

That promise is fulfilled as soon as one enters the new coffee shop and inhales.

“It’s the way a coffee shop should smell, right,” said general manager Karina Watson, who spent months at the company’s home base in Detroit, Michigan learning the science behind and intricacies of their caffeinated creations.

Located at The Perry Resort & Marina, The Great Lakes Coffee Co. opened last week. The Key West location is the company’s fifth store, and the first one outside the state of Michigan.

“The roastery is in Michigan, so we source our beans from fair trade suppliers in Africa,” Watson said, pointing to the map that’s constantly updated to show where that week’s beans were grown. “So right now, we have beans from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Then we roast them in Detroit. And we make all our flavors right here, in-house,” she said. “Our vanilla, our spicy mocha flavor is made with homemade cayenne syrup and cinnamon.”

(The spicy mocha is a delicate mix of sweet and heat, with the spice hitting the back of the throat almost as an afterthought.)

“With nearly 20% of Key West residents hailing from the Midwest, the ownership team at The Perry is confident this popular Midwest coffee brand will be a perfect addition to their overall hotel and resort experience,” said Brad Goulding, director of brand development for The Great Lakes Coffee Co. “The Perry Hotel property had been searching for an upscale coffee brand to partner with for the last few years and felt the offerings, service and dedication to the local community of Great Lakes Coffee were the perfect fit for the resort.”

The coffee café will join the current line-up of new retail storefronts along the marina at The Perry Resort & Marina, including Arcimoto Key West, F45 Training Studio, Key West Bouquet Bar, Waggin’ Tails, Green Pineapple at The Perry Boutique, and their three on-site restaurants, Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar, Salty Oyster Dockside Bar & Grill, and The Barrel House. 

Offering unobstructed views of the Stock Island Marina and plenty of free, on-site parking, the new 1,400-square-foot café will feature walk-up service, indoor/outdoor seating and soon, room service for the 100 guest rooms and suites. 

Great Lakes Coffee serves its proprietary selection of farmer-direct coffees, lattes, cold brews and a special fleet of healthy island-inspired smoothies. 

“And as soon as I get my display installed, we’ll also feature bagels and pastries from Goldman’s Bagel Deli in Key West,” Watson said.

“As a boutique operator and now frequent visitors to Key West, Great Lakes Coffee has always admired the welcoming nature of the area’s locals and their passion for a great cup of coffee,” Goulding said. “Great Lakes Coffee considers this an opportunity to not only expand their menu offerings and incorporate some local favorites like cafe con leche and the Cuban cortadito, but to also add to the diverse culture of the island’s One Human Family philosophy.”

“We couldn’t be more excited for this unique expansion opportunity. The Perry Hotel fully embraces and appreciates our philosophy for approachable third-wave specialty coffee, and we’re honored they thought of us to help build their coffee program at this world-class destination. Additionally, we’re excited to expand our menu to include several traditional Cuban-style coffee offerings to add to the local flair,” Goulding added.

Great Lakes Coffee offers cold brews and nitrogen-infused cold brews that feature twice the caffeine as typical coffee, but with a smoother taste and finish given the nitrogen. The nitro-infused cold brews are available from a tap in the coffee shop, or in a chilled can. 

The Key West location is the only one that offers the Cuban coffee specialties, said Watson.

The store also sells bags of its beans and will grind them on site.

The Great Lakes Coffee Co. is currently open 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Monday, but when fully staffed will expand its days and hours of service to include afternoons, and healthy smoothie options, Watson said.

For more information, visit greatlakescoffee.com.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. She's married to a saintly — and handy — fisherman, and has been stringing words together in Key West since 1998.