Fresh-baked goods produced in Ypsilanti await students this fall at the newly opened Cafe Liv, owned by Eastern Michigan University alumni William Sloan.
Named after Sloan’s daughter, Café Liv, is at North Washington and Washtenaw in the space previously occupied by A1 Quality Auto Repair & Transmission. Purchasing the building about three years ago, after the car shop closed, Sloan had the idea to open a different type of business.
“Roughly at the same time that the tenant moved out and the shutdown was starting, my wife and I had our first daughter Olivia,” Sloan said.
Not only is the shop named after his daughter, but there is a latte named Liv as well, which contains lavender and rose.
Another latte, named Chloe, got its name from a friend of Sloan’s who runs the nonprofit dance studio Fun Girl Dance. One day, she came into the shop and asked if there was any pistachio syrup and told Sloan that he needed to carry rose and pistachio.
So, Sloan named the pistachio, rose latte after Chloe.
But, coffee is not the only thing on the menu. The shop also has kombucha on tap and baked goods from local vendors Milk and Honey and Bird Dog Bakery.
“Two good companies and good people,” Sloan said. “They're hyper local which is kind of what I’ve tried focusing on with this is making sure that all the goods and coffee and everything that we get is as local as they can be.”
Sloan finally opened the café on July 11 after spending the previous year learning all there is to know about coffee, ordering product, painting the building and preparing.
“Just wanted a place for people to come and chill and just relax and have a good cup of coffee and meet new people,“ Sloan said. “It's been a good experience so far.”
Before his idea of opening a coffee shop, Sloan was not a coffee drinker and had no barista experience, but took on the challenge of learning all there is to know about coffee creation and consumption quickly.
“I’m the type of person that like I wanna dive deep, and so I looked around for like barista schools, coffee training, anything like that and there’s actually a place in Ann Arbor, it’s called BD Barista School so I reached out to them, I took like an eight week course on pretty much everything,“ Sloan said.
BD Barista School taught Sloan an array of knowledge about how to be a coffee shop entrepreneur, the history of coffee, how to pull a perfect espresso shot and use different types of equipment, as well as how to create beautiful latte art.
“That’s really been valuable for me personally because I didn’t even like coffee up until a year and a half ago,” Sloan said. “I didn’t drink coffee at all, I’ve always drank tea.”
Looking forward, Sloan mainly wants Café Liv to be a good place for people to come and wind down.
“I wanna have some events, I know that there's been like an absence of community events because Cultivate shut down,” Sloan said.
Sunday morning yoga, live music, and art workshops are a few of the many ideas that are up in the air and could come to fruition at Café Liv.
“I’ve met like tons of artists too who would be interested in hanging up, displaying artwork on this back wall,” Sloan said. “I went to Eastern and I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern so maybe helping give the students some exposure for their artwork would be nice too.”
Students and community members can currently visit the space everyday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., hours that might adjust in the future based on demand.