In Minnesota, the winters are long and cold, so folks are always looking for ways to wake up and stay warm. Coffee is an essential tool for that, and Minnesota’s shops serve up some of the best java in the country. But there needs to be a bit more than good coffee to keep us coming back for more. An excellent staff and ambience keeps customers hooked, and Minnesota has a plethora of options with all of those ingredients.
Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar occupies a first-floor corner of a building dedicated to artist housing. Long a staple of the hip Lowertown neighborhood, the arty café overlooks the St. Paul Farmers Market and has enjoyed a recent boom in popularity: CHS Field, the new home of the St. Paul Saints, and the renovated Union Depot are each a block away. Original art on the walls, regular live music, and a full menu of food complement the standard array of coffee beverages, as well as local beer and wine selections.
Once nothing but a seasonal stand on the pebble beach in Grand Marais, the Java Moose has since acquired a brick-and-mortar location with year-round service and a loyal following. In addition to a casual menu, this coffee shop boasts a warm, cabin-like interior and stunning views of the harbor and Lake Superior.
The Depot is more than just a coffee shop. It’s a restored train station that is a trail head for one of the Twin Cities’ premier cycling trails, as well as a collaborative youth project designed to encourage an active, creative youth lifestyle without substances (except for caffeine, of course). Oh, and in addition to live music, they have awesome coffee, too.
Café Steam is a locally-owned, sunny coffee shop that caters to downtown Rochester and the Mayo Clinic. Big windows, works from local artists and plenty of seating lure customers in. Great coffee, a friendly staff and live music keep them coming back.
This funky little java house in Minneapolis’ Wedge neighborhood has been a community stalwart for years. With romantic lighting, books, art and board games, along with tasty brown brews, Cafetto is a destination for artists, musicians and those who want to be near them.
You’d think a location near Lester Park, and close to Lake Superior, would be enough to draw Duluth’s undercaffeinated masses to Amity Coffee. But, fortunately, they don’t. Not only does Amity serve up a mean cup of Joe, they also sling some of the city’s best donuts and pour beers from the local Bent Paddle Brewing. If that’s not enough to bring in, stop by for one of their regular trivia nights.
A mainstay of St. Paul’s Baker-Annapolis neighborhood, Amore Coffee serves up strong, carefully-sourced coffee and hot soups. Amore has a warm, inviting atmosphere that attracts customers not only for warming drinks but also because it serves as a hub for the neighborhood. Amore hosts and sponsors local events, like open mic nights, and has a meeting room available for reservations.
A quintessential coffee house in the heart of Old Town Mankato, The Coffee Hag has been a local community meeting place for two decades. It hosts local musicians and a monthly rotation of area visual artists to entertain and engage customers. The Coffee Hag offers a fresh, vegetarian menu to complement its organic, fair-trade beverages.