10 Coffee Shops to Visit in the Twin Cities
Photo by Thongsuk
Is there anything better than a hot cup of coffee? Or your favorite iced espresso beverage crafted to perfection? The good news for all coffee lovers is that the Twin Cities have lots of independent coffee shops to choose from—and if you're anything like me, you'll have multiple favorites. Below is a list of ten coffee shops to visit in the Twin Cities:
Undoubtedly a Minneapolis-St. Paul staple, Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co. sells wholesale coffee beans and runs café locations in five neighborhoods—Uptown, Whittier, Northeast, North Loop and St. Paul—besides. I am partial to the Northeast location myself, with its deck, high ceilings, and plethora of seating options. I always get a Carmella (if caramel isn't your favorite, their Spygirl latte is also a good choice with hints of honey and lavender). If you fall in love with the ambiance (and the coffee) like I did, check out Spyhouse’s coffee accessories and apparel online.
Located right in Highland Park in St. Paul and dangerously close—across the street—to Patina and Half Price Books, Quixotic Coffee is small, cozy and aesthetic. In fact, the actual definition of “quixotic” is “exceedingly idealistic.” The definition continues with “unrealistic” and “impractical,” but that just isn’t true of Quixotic Coffee. Their roomy wooden booths make for good studying or productivity spots, and their salads are almost as good as their lattes. And who said coffee shops couldn’t sell beer and wine, too? If its later in the evening and coffee is out of the picture, order a beer on tap instead.
If the look of your latte almost matters as much as the taste, you’re in the right place. Café Astoria has gone viral for its extravagant, colorful, gold leaved lattes and mochas—perhaps you’ve seen this video? Located on West Seventh Street in St. Paul, you’ll be Instagramming your creation before you even take a sip.
The charming atmosphere of Claddagh Coffee will make you fall in love right away. If you aren’t in the mood for a specialty latte, go for a lavender lemonade or a hot tea, instead. For larger tables or a dimmer ambiance, take your drink downstairs to the lower level; it’s tiny but cozy. Look for the coffee shop’s notebook if you have comments about the coffee or would simply like to share a line from your favorite song or poem.
The Café Meow
Cats plus coffee? Yes, please! Relatively new to Uptown, the Café Meow allows guests to play with cats while they drink their coffee or espresso drinks. Be warned though—lots of people are interested in this concept, so you might have to wait a little while to play with the cats. Read more about Visit Twin Cities’ experience at Café Meow here.
Nina’s Coffee Café
Located in Cathedral Hill on Selby Avenue, Nina’s Coffee Café is a cozy coffee shop. Tables fill up fast on the weekends with college students and professionals trying to get work done, but if you get a spot try one of their vanilla lattes (Nina’s serves Spyhouse Coffee). And if you stick around for lunch, their sandwiches are to die for. Plus, a whole entire wall is taken up by a painted bookcase—you can’t get cuter than that.
Five Watt Coffee
Located in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis, Five Watt is known for mixing coffee with bitters and the end product is more delicious than you think. Try The Kingfield, with vanilla, Five Watt coriander bitters, espresso, milk and black Hawaiian sea salt, or the Big Easy with cold press, chicory and nutmeg simply syrup, black walnut bitters and cream.
Besides selling wholesale coffee, Dogwood Coffee has three locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area—East Lake, Uptown and St. Paul—so you have choices when it comes to sipping your favorite caffeinated beverage. If you go to the East Lake location, check out the new wallpaper designed by Flavorpaper and art by local artist John Alspach.
Cahoots Coffee Bar
Unassuming, a little quirky, but definitely a Macalester-Groveland favorite, Cahoots Coffee Bar is located right off of Snelling Avenue and offers coffeehouse staples (plus some great specialty options like a Lavender White Mocha or Raspberry White Mocha), but also a Mediterranean platter, stuffed grape leaves, a hummus place, daily soups and fresh bakery items. Find a spot indoors or, in nicer weather, take your coffee outside behind the shop in Cahoot’s little garden patio.
Rustica has two locations, one in Uptown Minneapolis and one in Eden Prairie, and serves specialty coffee beverages all day and award-winning baked goods from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday. Although the Eden Prairie location is out in the west metro (which can be a commute for some), the bakery is located in the historic Smith Douglas More House right off of Eden Prairie Road—the character of the house inside and out make this a worthwhile destination, even if it is just for coffee.
If you’re up for coffee and an adventure check out these other coffee shops located in the outskirts of the Twin Cities: Black Sheep Coffee Café in South St. Paul has live bluegrass music on most Saturday mornings, Mocha Monkey in Waconia won an award for “Best Coffee Shop in Minnesota” and The Daily Grind Espresso Café in Stillwater is attached to a bookstore, so grab a new book to enjoy before you choose your morning coffee.