June 10, 2023

The Caffeine-Fueled Growth of Mundos Roasting & Co.

Four locations, five years, and thousands of cups of coffee
By Greg Tasker | Feb. 18, 2023

When Mundos Roasting celebrated its five-year anniversary with free coffee pour overs earlier this year, the family-founded enterprise had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

From its humble beginnings on Boon Street in Traverse City, Mundos Roasting has expanded to include three Traverse City locations and another in Suttons Bay. The newest Traverse City store includes the company’s new headquarters and roastery. That’s a lot of growth for a new coffee roaster in a city already saturated with a plethora of coffee choices and whose Traverse City venues are outside the tourist-centric downtown.

But let’s pause for a moment and think about that celebratory pour. Mundos didn’t just offer customers a grab-and-go cup of coffee. The appreciation was more intentional: a pour-over coffee, one requiring a customer to slow down and wait a few minutes before sipping.

That’s the mantra—and, perhaps, the success—behind Mundos Roasting.

“We started out with our focus on slowing things down, doing things with quality,” says Adam Clark, who is the son of founder Dan Clark and part of the family team. “We wanted a slow coffee bar. It’s all about taking a little more time to make coffee, taking more time to enjoy it, and taking it easy.”

That’s another family motto: Take it easy. “It’s something to say to people, ‘Take it easy,’” says Adam, who, at 21, is the company’s vice president. “It’s kind of like saying, ‘Have a good day.’”

An Idea Brews

Formerly in the concrete business, Dan Clark had long entertained the prospect of owning a coffee shop and roasting his own coffee…ever since he was 15, in fact.

“He had a cup of coffee one day that was exceptional,” Adam recalls. “He didn’t know coffee could taste so good. It got him hooked. He wanted to know, ‘How can I reproduce this?’ He bought a roaster and started roasting coffee in a garage.”

Life, of course, got in the way. Dan and his wife, Melissa, moved to Traverse City from Tennessee, where they had met while working at a Saturn plant. Dan left concrete for a bit to pursue photography, working with Melissa, but that dream of coffee continued to percolate.

Then, as has been the case with many of the family’s business moves, opportunity knocked. A building on Boon Street became available, and Dan, with his family in tow, made the move to roasting and serving coffee.

“My dad has always had a business mindset,” Adam says, noting his father had either owned or started any concrete business he was involved with. “He wanted to get somewhere with this idea of a coffee shop, and he was always on the lookout.” 

The elder Clark partnered with a family friend who was passionate about coffee and opened Mundos Roasting in 2017. With Mundos, Dan created the community space he had long envisioned: The stores are spacious and the staff is welcoming, encouraging customers to linger. Warm wood tones complement cool concrete counters (a nod to Dan’s former career), and plants and minimal decor help create clean, open space. 

Mundos is truly a family affair. Melissa is the company treasurer. The couple’s other son, Jack, 19, is secretary and head roaster. (He began roasting at age 14.) Daughter Sarah helped out with the first location on Boon Street and Suttons Bay but is no longer involved; however, her husband, Miles Eastman, is the company’s head baker.

A Cup Overflows

Within a year and a half of starting the business, Mundos opened a location in Suttons Bay and leased more space on Boon Street to expand its roasting operations. The company was growing.

In 2021, the family brought close friends Zachary and Joelle Curtis and Luke Norris into the fold. All of them possess a passion for coffee. “It seemed like a natural fit, and it enabled us to open more locations,” Adam says.

Next, Mundos West opened in Slabtown on West Front Street. Indoor seating is minimal and the store offers grab-and-go sandwiches and single origin batch brews. Special rewards are offered to customers who walk or bike to the location with their own reusable cups.

Closer to downtown, Mundos 305 is also located on West Front Street. Large windows and natural light add to the sense of the space, and the food and drink menu is more extensive. 

Despite their off-the-beaten-path locations, Mundos Roasting was establishing a solid customer base, drawing locals, tourists, remote workers, and teenagers looking to hang out.

“My dad liked the idea of having a place where people could gather,” Adam says.

This past fall, Mundos officially outgrew the original Boon Street site. They have since moved into a renovated complex—a former real estate building—on Garfield Avenue, offering more room for administrative offices, roasting, and customers as the company’s largest cafe space.

“It’s been a big year for us. To open three locations in one year wasn’t something we were planning to do at the very beginning,” Adam says. “The timing has worked out for us. We wanted to stay in Traverse City. We love Traverse City.”

Adam says the hope is to open the roasting plant—and a planned coffee cupping lab—to public tours and tastings soon. The lab would also be used to train employees, wholesale partners, and their employees. 

A Bar Is Raised

While the address of their headquarters may have changed, the ethos of Mundos has never wavered.

“We always pursue excellence in everything we do,” says Adam of the family’s mentality toward a superior cup of joe. “Our logo is almost a take on raising the bar. We always want to strive for excellence in coffee. We want to raise the bar in every aspect, from building a community to making coffee to the people who source for us.”

Mundos Roasting buys its coffee from sourcing companies that have a reputation for treating their farmers well. 

“The coffee we select, we end up paying a pretty high price for,” Adam says. “Most of the time we pay above fair trade prices. You’re going to pay more for higher grade coffee.”

The company sources its coffee beans from all over the world, primarily from Central and South America, but also from Africa and Asia (Vietnam). “We like to keep a decent range of coffees for people to choose from. We like smooth and bright,” Adam explains.

So what does he recommend for a Mundos customer? First up is a single-origin coffee; the menu changes daily, so options abound. Next is a cortado, a double shot of a single-source espresso with equal parts coffee and milk. “I would recommend you drink it here instead of taking it in a to-go cup,” Adam says. “It’s always better that way. It’s a good way to try a single-origin coffee with a little creaminess.”

For someone with an adventurous palette, Adam has just the thing. “We get one from Kenya that I really like. It has a really bright, clean flavor. It’s not a coffee everybody likes—it can be off putting with its intensity,” he admits. 

And if you want a tried-and-true staple, look no further than the Chai Latte. (It’s Mundos’ No. 1 seller.) “We make that from scratch,” Adam says “It’s a good balance of sweet and spicy. It’s from a recipe we’ve had almost since the beginning. It’s something unique to us.”

Find all Mundos locations and view their menus at mundosroastingco.com.


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