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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, May 25, 2024

Caffeinated Commentary: Vertex Coffee Roasters

This past weekend, I took a trip back to Ann Arbor to visit the school I used to go to: the University of Michigan. The trip gave me a surplus of déjà vu and bittersweet feelings, but that’s a story for another time. Even away from Tufts, my mind was still focused on finding a coffee shop to review …

Walking past Vertex Coffee Roasters (located at 1335 S University Ave. in Ann Arbor, near “frat row” on campus), I thought, “This is perfect!” Vertex Coffee Roasters, or Vertex, as it’s commonly referred to, used to be one of my favorite coffee shops on campus. I hadn’t been there in two years, but not much had changed. There’s still an adorable outdoor area with a scattering of chairs and tables on a triangular patio.

Inside, Vertex has great lighting and comfortable seating, with five or six sets of tables and chairs. Pillows sitting on the benches lining the windows also add to the comfy vibe. This spot is definitely a great place for a coffee date, study session or meeting a friend. There are plants inside and fun decorations, like the “Mocha Madness” bracket, which was a fun Vertex competition to see which mocha was the customer favorite. The vibes inside get a 9 out of 10!

The interior of Vertex Coffee Roasters in Ann Arbor, Mich. is pictured. (Natalie Bricker / The Tufts Daily)

The coffee wasn’t as great as I remember it being, sadly. I so badly want to rate it higher because I’ve been a fan of Vertex for years now, but the coffee didn’t really live up to my expectations. It tasted watery, even though it was an oat milk latte, and the coffee taste was very diluted. I almost gave it a 5 out of 10, but my latte actually tasted better the more I sipped it, which makes me think I should have stirred it better to begin with, because maybe the espresso just wasn’t mixed in well. Since the drink was better toward the end, I decided it deserves a 7 out of10, but I still wish I could give it more praise. 

I went with my mom, and she absolutely loved her matcha latte with oat milk, saying it “might even be better than Equator’s,” which is an incredible coffee chain in the Bay Area. This is a big statement from my mom because she lovesEquator’s matcha. When I asked what made Vertex’s matcha latte so special, she told me it was “well-blended” and had the perfect amount of sweetness. My mom rated her matcha latte a 9 out of 10.

I have to give props to Vertex for their gorgeous foam art on the matcha latte, as well.

A matcha latte from Vertex Coffee Roasters is pictured. (Natalie Bricker / The Tufts Daily)

Vertex has some cute quirks which I’ve yet to see at other coffee shops, one being their shelves of board games which any customer can borrow. Another cool thing featured at Vertex is their “Random Act of Coffee,” which is a little voucher which you can either pay for or use, choosing to buy someone’s future coffee or use a free coffee which someone else has paid for (pictures included at the end). These quirks help the environment inside feel cozy and warm. 

Overall, I give Vertex a 7.5/10. I’m tempted to give it an 8/10, but the coffee’s taste is such a big factor in my reviews that I have to stick with a 7.5/10. The vibes did make up for my mediocre coffee and I easily could’ve stayed there for hours, studying or playing board games. Even though the coffee wasn’t great, I had a sip of my mom’s matcha latte and agree with her 9/10 review. Now I know to order the matcha next time, and, who knows, maybe Vertex’s rating would have gone up if I opted for their matcha instead!

A display invites Vertex customers to participate in a "Random Act of Coffee." (Natalie Bricker / The Tufts Daily)
Plants and board games inside Vertex. (Natalie Bricker / The Tufts Daily)