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Best Places for Locally-Roasted Coffee in Minneapolis

Article submitted by Kathy Gallo, a freelance writer 

Minneapolis is famed as one of the centers in the US for the brewing of craft beers – however, in the world of coffee, the city has also been undergoing a quiet revolution and is now home to a number of commendable small roasteries as well as coffee shops serving specialty coffees.

Here’s our guide to the best places in town to buy and drink locally-roasted coffee.

What’s in the roast?

Before recommending local roasters and coffee shops that brew their beans, let’s think about why you should prefer locally-roasted beans.

Roasting is what creates all the delicious flavors and aromas we love so much, but right after roasting, the beans are not yet ready to brew since they are filled with carbon dioxide.

After roasting, they begin releasing CO2 immediately, and after a couple of days, enough has dissipated for oxidization to begin. At this point, they are ready for brewing, but once oxidization starts, there is very little you can do to prolong their freshness.

At only about two weeks after roasting, beans will already be past their best.

If you buy from local roasters, you will know the exact date of roasting (often the day you order the beans) and you will also be given much more information about their origin, the elevation they were grown at and so on – all of which will allow you to appreciate the coffee more.

Local artisanal roasters also know how to coax the best flavors from their beans. Many large-scale roasters tend to heavily over-roast their beans – Starbucks is notorious for this.

However, a delicate specialty coffee often benefits from a much lighter roast since this will allow all the subtle flavors and notes to be present when the coffee is brewed. Local roasters are experts in this.

1. Driven Coffee
Driven Coffee is a craft coffee roaster located in the city suburbs. It is run by a small team who pride themselves on sourcing the best specialty coffees, roasting them on site in small batches and brewing them with the utmost care and attention. For the moment, they focus on selling roasted beans rather than selling brewed coffee at the roastery; their beans can be ordered online.

2. Peace Coffee Shop
Having been around for over 20 years, Peace Coffee is a veteran of the specialty coffee game. They are a small co-operative roaster focusing on importing only fair trade, organic beans from co-operative farmers to ensure that everyone along the line is rewarded equitably for the work that goes into coffee production. The coffee shop itself boasts bright and colorful décor and welcoming surroundings, making it an ideal place to go for some downtime over a cup of top-quality, locally-roasted coffee.

3. Spyhouse Coffee
This roastery opened in 2013, replacing the older coffee establishment that previously occupied the same site. Spyhouse looks to work with small, independent farmers around the world, and this is the place to head if you want to sample some of the best coffee in town against a quirky old-style industrial backdrop. The equipment used for roasting is also quite something to see.

4. Café Palmira
Café Palmira is a Minneapolis-based business that imports high-quality Guatemalan arabica beans direct from their own family farm. The beans are shade-grown at high altitudes of around 1000-1500m in one of Guatemala’s most famous coffee-growing areas – they produce a delicious full-bodied brew with a smooth finish. After arriving in Minneapolis, the beans are roasted locally and can be found at local farmers markets such as the Mill City Farmers Market. They can also be bought online from the company’s website.

5. Blackeye Roasting
Blackeye Roasting specialize in roasting their own beans for use in their unique nitro cold brew product which they make in three different flavors, regular, white chocolate and cocoa. The company started in a basement but now has two city coffee shops of their own as well as the roastery itself. Their nitro brew drinks are also sold in over 1000 locations throughout the Midwest, either on tap or in cans. This is their only product, they don’t sell regular brewed coffee and their beans are not available to buy.

6. Claddagh
When Claddagh opened its doors in 2011, it was the realization of the dream of owner Mary Hogan-Bard who had always wanted to bring lovingly-selected and locally-roasted specialty coffee to the area. The café offers some interesting brews from around the world as well as a selection of pastries and small snacks. The special welcoming atmosphere you will find there defines the place as much as the coffee.

7. Dogwood Coffee Bar
Located in Uptown, Dogwood is another local specialty coffee roaster that specializes in sourcing the best beans and roasting them to perfection. The Dogwood roastery is not open to the public, but they have opened several popular coffee bars around the city where you can taste their meticulously roasted coffees brewed on site or buy a bag of beans to take away and enjoy at home.

8. UP Coffee Roasters
Originally known as Flamenco Organic Coffee Company before it was rebranded as UP Coffee Roasters in 2014, this local roaster carved out a niche for itself in a highly competitive market by being one of the earliest to focus exclusively on organic coffee. This was at a time when organic was really taking off across North America and further afield, and this gave the company an edge over some of the other roasters that were appearing at the time. From small beginnings, UP has grown into a major player in local coffee roasting in Minneapolis. They also roast coffee for Café Palmira.

Many places to find great coffee

As you can see, whether you are looking to buy coffee that has been freshly roasted locally or whether you want to sit down to enjoy a cup of specialty coffee in comfortable surroundings, Minneapolis has a wealth of options. Maybe the most difficult part is choosing which to try first!

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