Golden Grounds Coffee Co. mends bold flavors with a sunny atmosphere


Meghan Kennedy

Here is my iced vanilla latte freshly made at the Golden Grounds Coffee Co. grand opening.

I have always been thoroughly intrigued by coffee shops, despite my tepid fondness for the coffee itself. There’s just something about the palpable scents that float around willingly and the nonchalance of the surrounding vibes made possible by baristas cultivating their craft. And to be honest, a facet of certain coffee shops that I continually gravitate towards is the photo-op opportunities they hold, as cringy and irrelevant as it might sound. But speaking in terms of 2021 culture, that’s just a basic goal for most coffee shops—creating an aesthetically abundant environment in hopes of producing more foot and social media traffic. 

While that is a worthy tactic of garnering more business, sometimes coffee shops go just a bit overboard with the appearance of their shop and their brand—it can reach a point where you find yourself sitting neck deep in a fake fern strangled by fairy lights after waiting 40 minutes for a mediocre latte compounded with every form of cream and flavoring. That is quite the extreme example, but it is not uncommon to happen across coffee shops that prioritize style over substance.

But don’t lose hope—there’s a new coffee shop on the block that is a splendid balance of both quality and aesthetic appeal: Golden Grounds Coffee Co. Being a fresh spot of sunshine, community, and caffeinated bliss, this shop is totally reminiscent of its name. Now dwelling among the Grand Valley State University campus, Golden Grounds is providing a comfortably suitable study zone and a relaxing recoup for students and passersby, all while efficiently delivering flavor and quality in its purest form. 

@goldengroundscoffee on Instagram

A couple of Fridays ago, my mom and I attended the Golden Grounds Coffee Co. grand opening. We got in the car in an early-evening fashion and started our half-an-hour venture out to Allendale. The sun was beginning to surrender to a bank of emboldened clouds but still managed to display its rich tangerine hues as a backdrop to the newly built coffee house. Subsequent to our arrival, we excitedly strolled up to our sought out locale. Amazed at the establishment that stood before us, all we could feel was proud; after all, Golden Grounds Coffee was co-founded by my middle school extracurricular chauffeur, former The Central Trend editor, and de facto big sister, Hannah Kos. Her, along with co-founder and best friend Kendall Gardner—another FHC alumna—collaborated to make a shared passion of theirs vividly fruitful through several months of dignified work.

But don’t lose hope—there’s a new coffee shop on the block that is a splendid balance of both quality and aesthetic appeal: Golden Grounds Coffee Co.

With mixtures of peachy pinks and Vitamin D yellows, the front and back side of Golden Grounds allots tables, chairs, and couches for the comfort of customers. The tall and uniquely built structure additionally allows for an unexpected adjunct to a coffee shop, which was a camper that you order and pick up from. As I walked up to the window of the camper resting quaintly within a larger section of the shop, I was greeted by two eager and smiley baristas seemingly enthused about their first night on the job. I placed my order—a classic iced vanilla latte because I’m basic—and the baristas got to work in their miniature camper kitchen. 

Once my latte was perfected, I naturally took a sip of my beverage through a paper straw. Delighted at the flavors I do not usually recognize from other coffee places, I was elated and saddened at the thought of finishing the rest of my coffee. My mom ordered a sugar-free iced vanilla latte—because she’s cool like that—and agreed on all of the same levels regarding the flavors and drink itself. While we are a bit biased, it is needless to say that Golden Grounds produces some exceptional coffee. Even though the shop just opened up and certain menu items are still being deliberated, there is a variety of bakes and beverages with many options regarding dietary and flavor needs and wants.

When winter comes round, mini “igloos” and “greenhouses” will be installed for customers to enjoy their purchases with protection from the conditions while still being able to enjoy the outdoor nature of Golden Grounds. And since the epicenter of the coffee-making is within a trailer, the business will be able to seamlessly travel its way to many music festivals and outdoor events in the future, such as the Coastguard Festival in Grand Haven. But for the time being, the camper will remain parked at the Golden Grounds home base on the GVSU campus, familiarizing itself with students and customers.

The co-founders – Kendall Gardner (left) and Hannah Kos (right) – of Golden Grounds Coffee Co. standing in front of the brand logo at the grand opening. (@hannah_ruth_ on Instagram)

Although I can’t cut out the time to drive to Allendale every time I want to get a stellar cup of joe, I am anticipating many moments in the upcoming months to be topped with time spent at Golden Grounds Coffee Co. I am anticipating future menu items marked by the change of seasons and looking forward to experiencing the ambiance of the shop through its weatherly adjustments and evolutions. 

It is quite the full-circle moment for me to see a close friend who I watched grow—when she was the same age as me currently—into an established business woman. I am just beyond amazed by these founders for all of their strenuous efforts. They pushed their passion forward into a tangible residence and is now sharing it with everyone who needs a little bit of sunshine within their days and beverages.

Now, I am sipping tea from my Golden Grounds Coffee Co. cup while typing this review on my laptop featuring a Golden Grounds Coffee Co. sticker that stands out from the rest—and that makes me smile.