All posts tagged msp

  • Blue Ox Coffee Co. | Ethiopian Espresso


    Blue Ox Coffee Co.

    3740 Chicago Ave. S.

    Minneapolis, MN 55407

    Counter Culture “Apollo” Ethiopian Espresso

    Review by Anthony Jones:

    After getting lots of recommendations for Blue Ox as a new and impressive store in south Minneapolis, I finally found myself a spare moment to drive down to 38th and Chicago to check it out. It’s not the first place you would think about putting a coffee shop in my opinion, but the location really works well as it is not over saturated with Uptown drivers and shoppers. Upon walking in I realized that this place serves as a neighborhood hang out, meeting spot, and espresso bar for the Powderhorn area. Although the walls were bare and furniture was new, the enviornment was buzzing with chatter, laughter, and the sound of steam wands, making any new customer feel right at home on a Wednesday afternoon. Blue Ox sources a few different roasting companies to buy beans from, which is always nice to have the diversity in a shop for people to choose from.

    After I was welcomed into the store, I started asking questions about their two different espresso options. The barista walked me through them and recommended the Counter Culture “Apollo” Ethiopian Single Origin Espresso. I agreed and he immediately hoped behind their La Marzocco espresso machine and started pulling my shot. He let me know that it’d be an extra minute because he wanted to give me a perfectly timed shot, which is right where Blue Ox won my heart. So many coffee shops locally have great product, but ruin the experience by preparing it without care. They also served me a glass of sparkling water on the side which is always a nice compliment to the espresso.

    The double shot was wonderful as the aroma was earthy and sweet, but not overpoweringly acidic. Upon the first sip, I tasted a nice earthiness balanced with high fruity notes and finishing with a chocolate richness along with a mellow acidity. This isn’t the typical “Ethiopian Espresso” experience, as it was very well balanced and easy to drink.

    All in all, Blue Ox is doing something right by making great coffee, sourcing it from great roasters, and providing a great neighborhood hang out spot. Go check out Blue Ox on 38th and Chicago. If this place keeps doing what they’re doing, they will be around with a lot of local support for a long time.

  • Bull Run Coffee | Papua New Guinea

    Bull Run Coffee

    Bull Run Coffee Bar

    33rd and Lyndale Ave. S, Minneapolis

    The summer in Minneapolis is on the turnaround towards the home stretch, but it hasn’t stopped anyone in town from getting out and enjoying these last few weeks before Fall hits. This called for a place that I knew would have some fresh air flowing through the store, and Bull Run’s atmosphere definitely fits in well for these sunny days. Bull Run Coffee is leaning towards the boutique feel of coffee shops and concentrating on specialty coffee that starts from the beginning at the farming and harvesting, all the way throug until the barista is preparing your drink with some impressive latte art. In this case, I chose to get a taste of their locally roasted coffee from Papua New Guinea. It was prepared with the Hario pour over method and if you are a regular customer to some of these specialty shops in town, you need to try a pour over method sometime. It is brewed and prepared within a few minutes and there are amazing differences in flavor compared to your normal drip tasting coffee. This cup specifically to me had some bright fruity flavors and ended the last few ounces with a zesty, lemony taste. Granted, those are pretty general terms when it comes to barista “flavor profiles”, but there’s times when I don’t want to sit there and suckle on my coffee to pick out if its a red fruit, grapefruit or what not. The cup of coffee was delicious and I was for sure on that. Not to mention, I was completely unaware of their amazing sandwiches they had for sale there. I forgot to catch a glance where they were provided from, but I finished off my afternoon with a taste of their mozzarella and tomato basil sandwich and called it a day.

  • Spyhouse Coffee | Latte

    Spyhouse Coffee Shop

    2404 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis


    Recently, the Vita. MN here in the cities did the official “The List of Lists 2011” that called out Spyhouse Coffee as the #1 Best Coffee Hangout. You can read more lists of 2011 done by the Vita. MN here. It seems as though that people have caught on pretty easily to Spyhouse’s coffee, as nearly every table was full in the shop. It’s no mystery to why they continue to increase in popularity as a great local hang out. The coffee is exceptional and they offer choices for the flavor specific specialty coffee drinker, as well as the customer who just wants to quickly get in-n-out to get their daily fixation and continue on with their day. Even after a hot bike ride from my house to Spyhouse, I went ahead and ordered a latte “for here”. The barista prepared a delicious drink. The great thing about the drinks I have gotten from Spyhouse is that they are never too hot. I can’t stand burning my mouth on coffee drinks as it basically ruins the experience of enjoying the rest of the drink you just spend 5 bucks on. The milk can be heated up to about 180 degrees without being burnt off and ruined. Most of the drinks that you are getting from your Starbucks or Caribou are probably sitting around 150 or 160 degrees in my experience. I figure a good and enjoyable drinking temperature would sit around 130 degrees in my opinion. You’ll know what I am talking about if you take the visit to Spyhouse and try one of their lattes. Great consistency and flavor shined through this drink and it was only a matter of a few minutes before I knew I had taken the whole drink down. I finished off my caffeine kick with an iced coffee which was a perfect touch to the hot and humid weather in the city.

  • Rustica Bakery | Kenya “Karinga” Coffee

    Rustica Bakery

    3220 W. Lake St. | Minneapolis, MN

    Kenya “Karinga” Coffee

    It was a nice day for a bike ride down the South Minneapolis greenway which stretches all the way from Uptown to basically the back of Rustica Bakery and beyond. Just a little hint for those biking and not interested in taking the streets, it was pretty convenient. I walked in and saw a small featured sign on the counter promoting their Kenya “Karinga” coffee provided locally by Dogwood Coffee. You could also find this coffee at their location in Calhoun Square if you wanted to check that out. Even at the cost of $4.80 for a 12oz cup of coffee, I was excited to get a taste. They described the flavors as blackberry, cranberry, lemon zest, and melon goodness so it was pretty hard to pass up. I definitely got those bright flavors from the coffee as it started to change temperatures and cool down. It was provided by their Clover brewing method which isn’t my preferred, but I have still enjoyed a handful of cups by the Clover before. I normally pick up the most zesty and almost lemony sour tastes with my last couple of sips and the same was true in this case. Check out this little information that was provided by the Dogwood Coffee website about the farm “Karinga” where this coffee was sourced from:

    “The Gitwe Farmers Coop registered in 1985 after a split from the Gatundu coop, it has 1,868 members. There are 14 permanent staff members and a board of 9 members – one from each electoral area. The coop has 2 wet mills, Karatu and Karinga and they are planning to construct a third wet mill as well. The Karinga mill was built in 1984, it is located on the eastern slopes of Aberdare Range.” –

  • Rustica Bakery | Iced Miel Latte

    Rustica Bakery

    3220 W. Lake St. | Minneapolis, MN

    Iced Miel Latte

    It’s always nice when I get the chance to bring a friend out to grab a cup of coffee, because they are normally picking something off the menu that I wouldn’t choose on a regular basis.  Today, the hot weather called for an Iced Miel which is a latte made with honey and cinnamon. In my experience, I have always used real cinnamon and honey for making Miels, which would leave some of the cinnamon powder still preeminent in the milk. I was curious if they had used a syrup for this drink but it definitely didn’t take away from any of the flavor. It was always one of my favorite drinks to make at the shop, and the combination of the flavors with the espresso and milk make it a perfect hot or iced mix. The iced drink came with a layer of foam on top which was a nice touch to the presentation, and maybe it will take some more experience on my part from ordering ice drinks to see different shops mixing up the styles in how their drinks are served. Rustica Bakery had the place packed wall to wall, calling out interesting drinks like a “green mango ice tea” and other tasty combinations to get you coming back for more. With other food options around like Burger Jones, Punch Pizza, Wakame Sushi and Whole Foods, you are bound to make an afternoon trip to this area for a great cup of coffee and some delicious restaurants to choose from.

  • Muddy Waters | Macchiato

    Muddy Waters (New Location)

    2933 Lyndale Ave. S | Minneapolis, MN

    Monday – Friday:  7am – 2am

    Saturday & Sunday:  8am – 2am


    Now, if you haven’t already had the chance to visit the new Muddy Water’s location for a cup of coffee, great happy hour specials or late night menu, you have definitely been missing out on one of Uptown’s new best food and drink restaurant. They have evolved from their homely like cafe’ menu and environment to a one stop hang out spot that really meets everyone’s daily fixations. The layout of the place is fantastic. The restaurant has a full bar, outdoor patio, and as you enter Muddy you will find a full cafe bar that serves the residing coffee through B & W roastery out of Brooklyn Park. It seems as though that the transformation of Muddy Water’s has also included a new Conti Espresso Machine as well. I noticed this same brand of machine at the SiP Coffee Bar in Northeast a couple weeks ago that was also serving B & W coffee. The espresso bit pretty hard through this drink, which is almost better than the contrary in my opinion. I was able to chase the drink down with a piece of their vanilla espresso shortbread which was definitely a tasty finish. This was my 3rd or 4th visit to this new location and I hadn’t had a chance to try out the coffee yet, and I was glad to get a taste of what they are serving now. This is a must visit place this summer with an impressive drink menu, create and original food items, and reasonable prices throughout the entire menu.


  • Sip Coffee Bar | Latte

    SiP Coffee Bar

    34 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN


    Lately, I have been hoping to get back on track to going out and trying out shops out that I have never been to before. I had come across SiP Coffee Bar a few times with search results on review websites like and wanted to investigate a little further. It is tucked away in Northeast Minneapolis inside the Grainbelt Brewery Complex and the area is definitely a little taste of history to Minneapolis. They are sourcing their coffee through B & W roasters out of Brooklyn Park, MN and some of you may already know that B & W is the supplier of several different shops just in the South Minneapolis area alone. The latte was prepared quickly and would have been suitable for someone grabbing it “to go” and on the run. Although, I was able to enjoy one of their daily fresh made veggies sandwiches and relax on a couch for a few minutes. I can see people in this Arts District of Minneapolis running in to SiP and grabbing a quick cup before heading into school as well as being a convenient stop for bikers or commuters on the way to work. Check it out if you ever in the area and need a clean, and quiet place to get some work done.

  • Sip Coffee Bar | 34 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis

    SiP Coffee Bar

    34 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis

    Located in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, Sip Coffee Bar has been open since 2004. This area holds a lot of history and the shop is tucked away in the Historic Grain Belt Brewery Complex.

    “We brew locally-roasted, organic fair-trade beans and use natural syrups. Our baked goods are made from scratch and baked fresh daily. And for lunch, we serve tasty soups, salads and sandwiches.”

  • Dogwood Coffee | Latte

    Dogwood Coffee

    3001 Hennepin Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55408
    Monday-Saturday 7am-9pm
    Sunday 9am-6pm

    I haven’t quite grasped what the weather in Minneapolis this summer is trying to tell us, but the gloomy overhang and the random rain sprinkles made it suitable to go get a quality made espresso drink. Dogwood Coffee located in Calhoun Square is doing just that in South Minneapolis. Concentrating on specialty coffee with it’s own niche of up to 6 single origin coffees made by the cup, and a simple and straight forward espresso menu. They also offer a public cupping of their locally roasted coffee every Thursday at 7:00pm. There is a sign up list available at the shop as well as information on their website on how to attend a cupping.

    The latte art on my drink was utterly perfect, and you can tell the time and effort that has been placed in the baristas at Dogwood to advancing their craft. The presentation of the drink wasn’t the only impressive aspect, as the taste and consistency shined through to the end of my glass. The flavor of the espresso was smooth and made a perfect match together with the locally sourced dairy they use by Autumnwood Farms out of Forest Lake, MN. Dogwood is unique set up in a busy part of town, and it is great to see a shop utilizing that to their full advantage and serving specialty coffee drinks.

  • Wilde Roast Cafe | Guatemala “Tikal”

    Wilde Roast Cafe, New Location

    65 Main St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

    Guatemala “Tikal”

    Right off the bat, the new Wilde Roast Cafe was definitely an impressive step up from their previous location just a mile away. They scored a prime location right in St. Anthony Main, which is an area with all brick stone sidewalks and an old vintage feel that Wilde Roast seems to fit perfectly into. Wilde Roast Cafe sources their coffee through Alakef Roasters which is based out of Duluth, MN. From their testimonial page on, it seems like a few other coffee shops are serving Alakef in the outer Twin Cities area including Anoka and Zimmerman. For me personally, its hard to really pick up any specific flavor profiles when you are getting served coffee out of an airpot but this light roast coffee was suitable for the time being. It definitely met the standards of having some fine flavors and acidity that wasn’t overrun by some burnt after taste. I was able to find a spot tucked away amongst the food, coffee, and ice cream being served, and even chased the coffee with a Surly Furious off their drink menu. I really enjoyed the fact that I could get a good cup of coffee and a decent meal either in their outdoor seating area or amongst the amazing layout of the dining area built inside of Wilde Roast. I will definitely be taking another visit soon and look forward to trying out an espresso drink possibly next time.