There's some strange brew coming to the East Side. And according to Lansing's latest artisan barista, she's serving up brew that begins with the essence of the bean.
Beginning in July, Cara Nader will open the doors to Strange Matter Coffee
at 2001 E. Michigan Ave. The coffee bar, she says, has been in the works for about three years, and is a friendly collision of her two passions: science and java.
"Strange matter is a particular form of quark matter," says Nader of her business moniker. "It's a theoretical form of quark, often thought of as a liquid. It's a nerdy kind-of science thing."
Nader's confessed geekiness for science shapes her approach to brewing. Each cup served in Strange Matter, she says, will be made to order using one of several brewing devices. One device—the Chemex—extracts a clean cup of coffee through a drip filtering process. The Chemex, Nader says, resembles a science beaker, and is among contemporary devices featured in the Museum of Modern Art. Another system Nader uses—the V-60—involves a cone-shaped pour-over device that produces a quicker cup.
"We'll use a particular device to bring out different characteristics of the bean," says Nadar, who compares her coffee to micro-brewed beer. "Each device has its benefits and I'll be using one or another to highlight flavors."
Nader sources her beans from distributors like Populace Coffee
who specialize in single- origin, seasonal coffee. She'll also feature a rotating menu of roasters from around the country, and a few varieties of chai tea.
"I like to focus on in-season coffee that's freshly harvested," she says. "We'll feature coffees from individuals farms and particular regions since not every region harvests at the same time of year."
Nader is currently replacing flooring, painting and putting in a espresso bar in the 1,500-square foot place that will seat from 25 to 30 people. And as business gets up and running, she hopes to bring two to three staff on board.
"I want people to sit and enjoy their beverage," says Nader. "Every coffee has it's place, and I want people to have that moment when they say 'wow, I didn't know coffee could be this good.'"
Source: Cara Nader, Chief Coffee Engineer, Strange Matter Coffee Co.
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor