A Michigan-based café brand recently debuted its first location in Missouri. Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea opened inside the Chroma building in The Grove neighborhood of St. Louis on Oct. 3, featuring classic café fare as well as globally influenced signature coffees and teas such as French Vietnamese au lait and Thai iced tea.

The franchise location is owned by St. Louis native Jason Rooney and his wife, Leah. According to Jason, Sweetwaters was founded by Wei and Lisa Bee in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 27 years ago. There are approximately 40 locations across the country.

“Sweetwaters is a premium café. Our focus is on real ingredients, great products and the community,” Jason says. “It’s a place where people can come, sit down and relax for a bit.”

Sweetwaters fills an approximately 2,000-square-foot space, currently with around 40 seats in house. The interior features a modern industrial design with a bright, clean look accentuated by natural light. A community table is available for meetings.

Best-selling items from the extensive beverage menu include a cold brew brewed for 18 hours with proprietary beans, available “straight up,” “dreamy” with vanilla syrup and cream, or “dirty” with espresso, chocolate sauce and cream. French Vietnamese au lait is another popular pick with dark roasted French chicory coffee and sweetened condensed milk. 

Signature tea options include ginger-lemon herbal tea sweetened with honey, available hot or iced – just add sparkling water to turn it into a refreshing drink akin to a fizzy housemade ginger ale. For some international flair, opt for Sweetwaters’ Thai iced tea, which consists of a blend of black tea, vanilla and cinnamon, poured over ice and topped with half and half.

Ice Dragons, or frozen drinks, include items like a strawberry-lemon freeze and the Napali Brew, a drink inspired by the beaches of Hawaii’s Napali Coast. The shake combines vanilla ice cream with espresso and hazelnut syrup, topped with whipped cream.

Jason’s favorite drink is a seasonal special currently on offer: spiced caramel apple cider. Food options available to pair with beverages include bagels, breakfast sandwiches, pretzel bun sandwiches and a variety of pastries such as croissants, danishes, brownies, cake, cheesecake and cookies.

“We really think that our products and customer service are outstanding,” Jason says. “Sweetwaters has that personal touch that makes it an all-around great place to be and a place that can be your favorite café.”

Sweetwaters Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 8pm, Saturday from 7am to 8pm and Sunday from 7am to 7pm.

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, 4071 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, Missouri. 314.282.0902, sweetwaterscafe.com