My father, Del, was the kind of guy who always had a cup of coffee in his hand and would wake up in the middle of the night just to have another. By age eight, I was already sneaking my own coffee—filled with crème and sugar. By fourteen, it was impossible to start a workday at The Downtown Deli in Lansing, Michigan, without a cup of coffee. This job as a cook ignited a passion within me to go to culinary school.
After graduating, I worked in the hospitality business in a variety of diverse positions. At that time, I was still drinking lousy commercial coffee until a trip to Chicago in 1982. I wandered into a craft coffee house where I sampled 100% Arabica for the first time. I left a changed man. That weekend I tried it all; espresso, cappuccinos and other beverages with names I mispronounced. I probably spent on drinks and beans what I earned in a whole month back when I worked at the Downtown Deli as a kid.
I brought back my coffee haul to the rural town I called home and feared the day I’d run out. I realized there must be others living in Arabica isolation, too. That’s when I started a mail-order coffee company called “BJ Maynard Fine Coffee.” It wasn’t much of a money-maker, but it helped pay for my elevated coffee habit. BJ Maynard Fine Coffee continued to run until 1988, when my first child was born. I recall thinking about the steady paycheck and health insurance that came with working for an established business. It was time to retire BJ Maynard Fine Coffee. I rose through the ranks of a large appliance company and enjoyed a long marketing career. In my role, I was involved in launching coffee making equipment for two brands. I left the company after 27 years in 2017. It was time to go back to coffee, and that’s how Forté Coffee was born.
Our vision at Forté Coffee is to take you on a journey of discovery. Whether you’re new to specialty coffee or well-roasted, our single-origin coffees will delight you and provide appreciation for the bean. We are a micro-roaster dedicated to honoring the families who grow, pick and process the finest coffee available. Our shop is a place where you will feel embraced and become part of the Forté Coffee story.
Welcome to Forté Coffee.
Founder – 2018
We believe that coffee is more than just a much-needed jolt of caffeine in the morning– It's a cup of love! We take great care in procuring our beans. Everything we use is single-origin and we make sure that everyone in our supply chain is treated ethically. We are an eco-conscious business. We use recyclable cups & napkins, paper straws, and make an honest effort to minimize our footprint, so that the only thing we leave behind is a lasting legacy of really, really good coffee.
Everything you drink has been roasted in-house. Customers can see the roasting process happen right before them in our Saint Joseph shop. We exclusively brew our original Forté Blend in-house, but we offer a wide variety of ever-changing beans to enjoy from home, and can easily make your drink however you like it with a specific type of our coffee upon request.
Our locations are designed to provide a welcoming and positive environment in which to celebrate not only great coffee, but great people. We treat our employees and customers with respect and we welcome all who enter our door. This is a place where customers and staff can bring their whole selves.
Our goal is to make coffee culture more approachable. You need not worry about understanding fancy coffee lingo, but if you want to learn, we have a giant board on our wall with a coffee crash course detailing everything from cappuccino to café miel. Our staff is full of information about and passion for our craft, but most of all, we care about YOU- the customer.
We approach customer service with a great deal of gratitude and empathy. However you take it, that's how we'll make it. We want our customers to leave with more than just a delicious and comforting cup of coffee. We also want them to walk away with an experience that will inspire them to make Forté Coffee their go-to neighborhood coffee shop.