WILLMAR, Minn. (WCCO) — Most of us have a favorite coffee shop — a refuge to get some work done, have a great conversation, or people watch all while sipping a caffeinated beverage.
We went looking for the best in Minnesota, and your votes sent Natalie Nyhus to LuLu Bean’s Coffee Shop in Willmar.
Everyone has their favorite drink and spot at their coffee shop. And that’s just how owner Laure Swanson wants things to be at LuLu Beans, because this coffee house is an actual house.
“I guess the difference between this coffee shop and others is that it’s not just one big area,” she said. “It has little nooks and crannies you can hang out in.”
There are rooms upon rooms where you can share fellowship and a frothy coffee.
“The ceiling is coffee bean bags from the roasteries that we get our beans from,” Swanson said.
And the walls are an ode to Willmar, the town LuLu’s calls home.
“Before I owned a coffee shop, I always thought, ‘If I owned a coffee shop, it should be a reflection of the community,'” Swanson said.
Swanson says she always fantasized about owning her own coffee shop — making a place for people to gather.
“I didn’t know the different between a mocha and a latte,” she said. “So that’s what I thought the core of owning a coffee shop is. But really the core of owning a coffee shop now is being with people and making everybody happy. It’s not just the coffee.”
But the coffee is just as good as the company, each cup made from scratch. So what makes a good cup of coffee?
“It’s a lot of different things,” barista Michael said. “First you have to have good coffee beans.”
And then you have to have someone — like Michael — who knows what they’re doing.
“So each one, when they say it’s made with love, they really mean it, because they make each drink one-by-one,” Swanson said. “I don’t think we have the best scone, or the best anything. I think it’s the people who come here — they’ve just made this their home. It’s a home away from home. It’s just theirs.”
LuLu Bean’s is open seven days a week. If you need coffee fast, they have a drive through window. They also serve bakery items and sandwiches.
Your other favorite coffee shops were Stonehouse Coffee and Roastery in Nisswa, Anelace in Minneapolis and Five Watt Coffee in Minneapolis.