M.A. students can choose from 7 coffee shops
within 7 miles of campus
By Meara Cummings and Jeffrey Riley
Talon staff writers
As spring rolls around the bend and the thick blanket of snow begins to melt, students are able to walk and bike to their favorite hang-out spots. Staff writers Jeffrey Riley and Meara Cummings had the opportunity to visit seven coffee shops within seven miles of Minnehaha Academy.
1. Blue Moon Coffee Cafe
3822 East Lake Street, Minneapolis
Located on East Lake Street, Blue Moon Coffee Café gives off a very welcoming and accepting vibe. It’s a cozy and intimate spot, great for focusing on your homework. The soothing music in the background adds to the atmosphere, and one can tell from the minute they walk in that this place is very laid-back and relaxed. The shop is proud to sell organic and fair-trade espresso and offers a variety of different drinks for any taste. Blue Moon Coffee Café strives to create an enticing and inviting atmosphere where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and appreciate the shop as a whole.
This mocha is definitely focused more on sweetness rather than the coffee taste. There’s lots of whipped cream on top which gives it even more sweetness and drowns out the coffee taste almost completely, which might be good news for those of you out there who have a sweet tooth.
This cup of hot chocolate has a good chocolate taste. It’s a successful balance of chocolate and milk. It’s your average cup of cocoa but the whipped cream and chocolate chips on the top add to the flavor as well as the presentation of the drink as a whole.
Chai Tea Latte
The light flavor of this chai latte makes it satisfying but not overwhelming. The unique flavor of chai is handled well at this cafe. This drink is creamy without being heavy and has a sweet and delicious taste. The spice in this drink is subtle enough that it doesn’t overpower the sweetness.
2. Dunn Bros Coffee
1506 West Lake Street, Minneapolis
You might be surprised to discover that a shop that many Minnehaha Academy students pass on a daily basis is owned by the father of freshman Ben Gifford. The comfortable atmosphere and smell of beans fresh roasted onsite is unique to this neighborhood coffee shop. With several two-person tables and a couple of sets of couches, Dunn Bros is a great place to collaborate with other students for projects and other homework assignments. Although the popularity of the shop can make finding your seat of choice difficult, during the spring, outside seating is available. The fair pricing and quality of the beverages make Dunn Bros a great well-rounded place to take a stroll to some spring day after school.
It was exactly what you expect of a mocha. The baristas at Dunn Bros. Coffee produce a very consistant chocolate drink that will statisfy your cravings. With a great balance of fresh, bitter espresso and sweet chocolate, they create a satisfactory mocha.
Another drink that will meet expected standards is the hot chocolate. Creamier than your normal hot chocolate, one doesn’t have to worry about a bitter taste. You might not even want to ask for the usual whipped cream on this beverage because it could put it over the top as far as creaminess goes. It is a very solid drink.
The perfect drink for a hot day, the iced mocha was the barista’s recommendation. This chocolatey way to keep cool will have you returning to Dunn Bros. Coffee often. The iced mocha is a slightly more affordable method of keeping down the body temperature than the popular ice cremas that they offer.
3. Peace Coffee Shop
3262 Minnehaha Avenue South, Minneapolis
Proud to sell organic fair-trade coffee, Peace Coffee is the place to go to do homework, enjoy a delicious beverage and sit back and relax. Located on Minnehaha Avenue with an open and spacious interior, this coffeehouse was recently established in November 2010 and is still working on a menu of specialty drinks. Peace Coffee serves hand-crafted drinks in a relaxed atmosphere complete with plenty of space to spread out your books, work with friends, finish that paper you need to work on, that packet that needs to get done, or to just take some time out of your day to enjoy a great cup of coffee.
The combination of flavors in this drink are put together with care and the product is a rich tasting mocha that’s smooth and well-crafted. None of the three ingredients overpowers the others and the drink is complimented by fresh whipped cream, not your average Reddi-Whip cream in a can.
Caramel Anise Latte
This unique drink keeps you guessing until the last sip. The subtle hints of flavor are evident in the first taste until the last and blend together very well. It’s a creamy drink that has a new experience waiting for its drinker in every sip.
One can tell that the chocolate used in this drink is a very high quality and rich chocolate. The strong chocolate taste is there but the drink is still light and sweet. Peace Coffee’s take on hot chocolate is a satisfying and tasty one and makes the drinker feel warm and fuzzy until the very end.
4. Riverview Cafe
3753 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis
“What makes the Riverview Café different from other coffee shops would have to be our longevity in the neighborhood of 13+ years with hands on original owners,” said owner of the café, Mara Bernick. Located on 42nd Avenue South, the Riverview Café proudly serves organic, fair-trade coffee and offers a variety of drinks, as well as yummy food options such as soups, sandwiches and even cheesecake. This shop has a family-friendly vibe and is complete with a kid’s play area filled with toys and entertainment. It’s not the best place to come for a quiet homework session but is definitely a great place to go after a movie at the Riverview Theater across the street or whenever you have the time to enjoy a well-made beverage and a tasty snack.
The more milky flavor of this mocha might make it more enjoyable for a person who’s not so in love with the coffee flavor. It’s a decent blend of the three ingredients and though it is more milky tasting, the coffee and chocolate tastes are not totally drowned out.
This cup of cocoa is slightly on the thin side but still full of good flavor. The whipped cream which melts into the drink adds a lot of sweetness and creaminess and is a necessary addition to the drink.
Chai Tea Latte
The first sip of this latte is full of a surprising but delicious hint of spice. There is not blandness in this drink, it’s flavor packed without being overwhelming. Chai lattes are sometimes described as “Christmas in a cup” and this latte definitely lives up to that.
5. Coffee Bene
3 Cleveland Avenue South, Saint Paul
Coffee Bene’s easy accessibility, located on the intersection of Grand and Cleveland (also near two major bus routes), makes it a hot spot for students throughout the year. Its spacious and diverse seating arrangements range from a cozier, fire-side feel to open and more suitable for larger groups. With a large variety of flavor shots, one can add almost any combination to their favorite drink. The highlight of Coffee Bene is their onsite bakery. Instead of prepackaged and opened according to demand as with most coffee shops, Coffee Bene bakes a wide variety of pastries such as cinnamon rolls and croissants. The atmosphere isn’t quite the homework friendly environment as the lights are bright and the soundtrack loud. Parking may also present a small issue on such busy streets, but walking is always an option and Grand Avenue is a wonderful street to stroll on a spring day.
“Hot chocolate with a buzz” is a concise way to describe Coffee Bene’s mocha. The drink is perfect for those not accustomed to the acquired taste of coffee, but would like a tasty chocolate drink that will put a pep in their step.
At 1 dollar, the kiddie size of hot chocolate is a great deal for anyone who wants a small taste of cocoa. Otherwise, this classic beverage isn’t Coffee Bene’s forte, but it is definitely on par.
Chai Tea Latte with Shot of Pumpkin Flavor
Even if a Chai Tea Latte isn’t your thing, the additional flavor shot leaves a lingering aftertaste that perfectly mimics a slice of pumkin. It is definitely a drink to sample.
6. Kopplin’s Coffee
490 Hamline Avenue South, Saint Paul
We’re not trying to make the best 16-ounce latte to-go, in fact we don’t even make 16-ounce lattes. We’re trying to get people to sit down and enjoy a product,” said owner and operator of Kopplin’s, Andrew Kopplin, is a Minnehaha alumnus who found a passion for coffee early in his career and established a coffeehouse of his own. Kopplin’s is located on Hamline Avenue in St. Paul, and is definitely not your average coffeehouse. With natural lighting and a cozy atmosphere, Kopplin’s is the place to go if you have the time to sit down and enjoy a well-crafted beverage. The taste of the drinks may not be what Starbucks drinkers are used to, but one can immediately tell the difference in quality and presentation between the two.
The first sip has a very creamy and rich flavor and you can taste the high quality of the milk in the drink. The blend of cocoa, milk, and espresso is done well; all the flavors work together quite nicely.
Kopplin’s take on hot chocolate is one that is very diferent from your average Swiss-Miss mix packet. This drink is made with dark chocolate, which gives it a slightly bitter taste full of the richness of dark chocolate. This drink has a very unique flavor and is very different from other hot chocolates out there.
This drink is probably going to be most appreciated by coffee-lovers because of its strong coffee flavor. There’s a definite espresso taste which gives the drink a more bitter flavor. It’s a satisfying drink that one must savor in order to get the full effect.
7. Quixotic Coffee
69 Cleveland Avenue South, Saint Paul
“Quixotic is an overly romanticized pursuit of an idea, but it’s very whimsical and not realistic. We’ve taken that and applied it to how we want our business to be,” said Shawn, barista of 15 years. Quixotic coffee, located on Cleveland Avenue just steps from Ford Parkway, is fairly new to the Highland area. Springing up in July of last summer, Quixotic isn’t attempting to be another grab-and-go coffee shop, but rather a warm, inviting place to slowly sip and enjoy an artistic beverage. Using locally harvested honey and milk in addition to the chocolate that they make themselves, Quixotic successfully attempts to complement the coffee rather than overpower it with flavors. If you’re looking for beverages easiest on the wallet or more than just a bite to eat, this shop may not be your first pick. But if you’re willing to sample the bolder side of coffee from baristas that respect coffee as the culinary beverage that it is, then Quixotic is the place for you.
Quixotic Coffee’s mocha is the perfect mocha for experienced coffee drinkers looking for a little less sweet but higher quality espresso and chocolate. Plan to sip rather than chug this beverage expertly crafted from local sources and created by veteran baristas.
Using very deep and rich dark chocolate, Quixotic’s hot chocolate may not be what most are accustomed to, but that is arguably for the better. The blend of vanilla, cocoa powder, milk and espresso is refined to create a wonderful treat.
Quixotic is very careful to use flavors to complement beverages rather than overpower them. This makes the addition of honey and cinnamon a great tool to enhance the flavor of this drink. While con miel definitely isn’t as sweet as most beverages students are used to, it is a good drink to sample.