WCCO Radio’s “Off the Menu” is heard each Saturday from 11:00-Noon. Each week Dara shares a “Top 5” at 11:20!
On the “Off the Menu” page on WCCO.com we’ve discussed many amazing local food establishments, craft beers, stores and specialty markets, events around the state involving food/drink and much more. But this would be the first time we tackle coffee!
This past week, the Star Tribune started digging into the craft coffee movement in the Twin Cities. There are now many coffee shops around town that take a cup of Joe REALLY seriously and it’s starting to get noticed. Your morning caffeine is now a craft cocktail. While so many of us still hit the chains like Starbucks, Caribou and Dunn Brothers (and they all certainly make a good cup of coffee) or just make it at home, there are now many neighborhood options around town where you can tempt yourself with specialty options. Honestly, you’re missing out on ultra-flavored coffees with nuances you’ve never known would exist as you down another watery or dark-roasted cup of bitter coffee.
So, this week’s list on “Off the Menu” will dig a little deeper (would you expect anything different?). Whip out your iPad, grab a chocolate croissant, pop in your earbuds and let’s get a coffee! Dara decided to go all summery on the topic and she shares her Top 5 Iced Coffees! Bottoms up.
2451 Nicollet Ave
Spyhouse, with three locations (Nicollet Ave and Hennepin Ave in South Minneapolis along with Broadway in Nordeast), specializes in small-batch coffees that are complex and dynamic. What you’ll find, beyond the coffee, is a commitment to the environment of the coffee house also. A love of antiques and interior design defines each of their shops and gives them their own identity. Think of it as anti-chain in that respect. Each coffee house is unique. And each coffee shop will deliver you a wonderful iced coffee, brewed richly and poured from a keg. You’ll find that you’re paying a premium here but for great coffee, we think you’ll find it worth the extra pennies.
2801 21st Ave S #130
Minneapolis, MN 55407
If you’ve stopped into your local co-op or certain grocery stores around town, you’ve seen the little red bags of coffee with the “Peace” symbol on them. Peace takes it’s coffee buying very seriously. With coffee coming mostly from Third World countries and “Fair Trade” becoming common coffee lingo, it’s something to definitely take seriously.
Peace also has a great shop in south Minneapolis. A favorite at Peace is the Yeti Cold Press Growlers. 32 ounces of pre-made coffee concentrate (just add water or milk) or 16 ounce glasses in-house. They describe it as “Rich, smooth, heavy bodied, chocolatey with a hint of smoke”. Sounds lovely.
2203 N 44th Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55412
We’ve traveled the Victory 44 path before and for good reason. The food is amazing, frankly…get the Perfect Burger! But we’re here for the coffee.
It’s possible you’ve been there and didn’t even realize Victory 44 had a coffee shop? And a darn good one too! They use local favorite Dogwood Coffee, maybe the best craft coffee roaster in town (served up at Rustica, Parka and any number of other restaurants around town). The signature lattes will knock your socks off (Lavendar Vanilla sound good?) and their pastries, from Rustica, are terrific.
Their latest concoction is Hopped Cold Brew. It’s steeped with Crystal Hops and it carries the refreshment of both an iced coffee and an ice cold beer. Sounds delicious to us and of all the spots on this list, stay for the food. Seriously great food chops at Victory 44!
2038 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
Kopplin’s is a coffee bar/cafe that is truly dedicated to the craft of making singularly great cups of coffee. The entire process is broken down and done at the highest levels and it shows through. From specially selected beans to the way they brew the grounds, you’ll only get the very best from Kopplin’s. In fact, for those of you that like to brew a seriously great cup at home, their “tutorial” on brewing coffee is the most intense thing I’ve seen online about the topic (click here to download the PDF). Kopplin’s has been honored many times as one of the best coffee shops not only in the Twin Cities but around the country. These are folks whose advice should be heeded!
The iced coffees are taken just as seriously here and is a wonderful thing to enjoy with one of their great pastries on a hot summer day~
Five Watt Coffee
3745 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
This is the new coffee shop on this list and maybe the finest among the new wave of craft coffees. Five Watt is a shop that just wants you to enjoy your coffee whether it’s a basic cup of black, a VERY fancy drink laced with bitters (yes, bitters) or tips on how to brew yours at home. Recommended…go to their website (here) and browse their coffee drinks. It’s the equivalent of the very impressive cocktails at Marvel Bar or Prohibition. There’s the Orange Blossom Special (minus Johnny Cash) with Cocoa, Orange bitters, Espresso and Milk. Or the Hendricks with Cold press, Juniper + Basil simple syrup, Grapefruit bitters, Cream. This is some serious craft coffee!
The reason we’re here is the cold press of course. And Five Watt’s is top notch and the reason Dara has them #1 on her list! Located on the corner of 38th and Nicollet, you’ll just have to look for the big garage door that’s thrown up and you can slide in and enjoy some of the best coffee being made right now in the Twin Cities!