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The Absolute Best Coffee Shops in Minneapolis & St. Paul

best coffee shops minneapolis

Great coffee is becoming increasingly popular in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, but not all coffee shops offer the same quality as the next.

If you’re going out for coffee in the Twin Cities, you might as well get the best of the best, right? If that’s the goal, try these places first.

Five Watt Coffee

Five Watt Coffee is so good, it’s worth mentioning both of their coffee shops. The original location is located in south Minneapolis (the Kingfield neighborhood, to be specific.) It didn’t take long at all for this location to get noticed for incredible coffee, a great atmosphere, and possibly the friendliest baristas in town. The space features exposed brick walls, a quirky and vintage (but also clean and minimalistic) atmosphere, and a giant garage door that opens up in the warmer months.

If there was a downside to this space, it would be the size – Five Watt is often filled up with people, especially in the winter when outdoor seating isn’t an option. That said, it’s well worth the effort of waiting to find a seat.

The other Five Watt location, in Northeast Minneapolis, hasn’t quite garnered the reputation of the original just yet. That said, it’s a great place to get some work done or hang out with friends. The coffee shop is right inside of the Miller Textile Building and features a very brewery-like environment with concrete floors, lots of open space, and brick walls.

The amazing thing about Five Watt is that they don’t take themselves too seriously – even though their coffee and espresso drinks are well worth taking notice of.

You can also count on Five Watt for some of the most unique and innovative signature drinks in the Twin Cities. “The Kingfield” is a great example, it’s an espresso drink that, according to the Five Watt website, features “Vanilla, Five Watt Coriander Bitters, Espresso, Milk, [and] Black Hawaiian Sea Salt”.

Try finding a crazier drink that still has the reputation of being a local favorite!

Quixotic Coffee

Quixotic Coffee gives St. Paul a great name – this coffee shop in the Highland Park area may look unassuming from the outside, but on the inside you’ll find one of the most highly regarded shops in all of the Twin Cities.

What makes Quixotic so great? Well, just about everything.

Like Five Watt, Quixotic features some of the most unique specialty drinks around. They’re always changing, but many feature Quixotic’s famously good nitro cold brew. This is a coffee shop that’s not afraid to experiment either – past specialty drinks have included house made pistachio milk, rose petal, house made caramel & vanilla, and much more.

But even if you’re more for the classics, you will not be disappointed here. Even the most basic of drinks are incredible, and you’ll have a great place to enjoy them too.

Quixotic Coffee is a great place to do work meet friends, or even work on a group project. There’s plenty of booths and tables as well as a semi-private room in the back of the shop. There’s tons of stylistic elements in this minimalistic shop – everything from stone countertops to wood fixtures and subway tile.

Be sure to try a pastry as well – you can’t go wrong!

Empire Coffee

Empire Coffee is definitely one of the littler, cozier places in town, but that doesn’t take away from the place at all. In many ways, Empire Coffee’s interior looks like something out of a recent interior design publication. You can find lots of white walls and fixtures, some minimalistic art, succulents on tables, and plenty of modern touches.

That said, Empire wouldn’t be on this list if the coffee was anything short of fantastic. The team here does a great job of brewing up some of the city’s best. The menu isn’t long and essentially features all of the coffee shop classics, but as an added benefit, you can enjoy some amazing pastries to complement that – and they’re made from scratch!

Dogwood Coffee

Unlike most of the coffee shops in town, Dogwood Coffee is also a roaster that has its roots in Minneapolis. By that, you can probably assume that the owners understand coffee through and through – and you’d be right in doing so.

Like a few of the other places on this list, Dogwood has more than just one location. There are a couple of coffee shops and a couple that are considered as coffee “bars” aka places that you’d find inside a mall or something of the like.

Since this article is both about great coffee and the places it’s served within, we’ll be focusing on the two coffee shops – one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis.

Of the two coffee shops, the Minneapolis location is the original. It opens up to a hip furniture store next door that sells all kinds of work from local artisans.

The shop itself is definitely on the small side, but still offers up a one-of-a-kind Dogwood Coffee experience. There’s quirky art, classy wood fixtures, and a few tasteful pops of color.

The other Dogwood Coffee shop in St. Paul offers lots of similarities, but plenty of differences too. It shares a building with a print making shop and have some windows that look inside of it. Naturally, this Dogwood location features lots of art from the shop next door as well as a very clean, minimalistic vibe with concrete floors and the works.

The actual coffee Dogwood roasts, however, is the real star of the show. It’s smooth, full of flavor, and well deserving of it’s title as one of the city’s favorites. Many of the coffee shops around town roast Dogwood for these reasons (Rustica Bakery and Black Coffee & Waffle Bar are two prominent examples.)

Dogwood also has a brand of espresso called Neon, meaning the variety of espresso-based drinks are extremely delicious and entirely unique to Dogwood and those that use Neon.

Urban Bean

Barista.

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Where did all the time go? Make it up with espresso on the run!

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The Urban Bean Coffee House is another great place to visit in the Twin Cities. It’s a quieter spot on a busy street – a great way to get out of the crazy and relax or get some work done. The coffee shop is very minimalistic in design and extremely light and airy. The light wood, white walls, and many windows all work towards making the shop feel bright and open – no matter what time of day it is.

There’s more to this place than looks, though. Urban Bean makes great coffee and espresso drinks – they even have a frappe!

Vicinity Coffee

Pressed to cold perfection.

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The daily grind. ☕️

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Vicinity Coffee (formerly known as Bull Run) is one of the big names in Minneapolis coffee. A lot has changed in the coffee scene since Vicinity opened its Lyndale shop in 2011, but the fact of the matter is this – the coffee here stands up to just about anywhere else.

Vicinity is another great place to find unique drinks that aren’t on most of the menus across the city. You’ll have the opportunity to try drinks with Nutella and cocoa, honey, cinnamon, and graham cracker, or a number of other amazing combinations.

The coffee shop itself is also a great place to hang out. Unlike some of the others on this list, it’s very spacious. It features lots of cool features like exposed brick walls, wood fixtures, and stone countertops as well.

Kopplins Coffee

Maple latte love. #afternoondelight #snowday

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Kopplins Coffee is almost unanimously considered as the Twin Cities’ first “third wave” coffee shop. This shop opened up in 2006 and brought with it a whole new way of looking at coffee. Third wave coffee shops are those that consider the creation of specialty coffee as an art form.

It might sound pretentious (and in some cases, it is) but the reality is this – third wave coffee shops are a lot like cheese or wine experts – they consider the origin of their beans, the process of roasting them, and even the way they make the drink that ends up in your hand.

Since Kopplins brought this way of thinking to the Twin Cities, it’s definitely fair to say that they are one of the cities’ longest lasting coffee shops worthy of the title “truly great.”

At Kopplins, you’ll still find an incredible dedication to coffee as a craft. The shop itself is in St. Paul and offers a great environment for kicking back and staying awhile. The coffee itself is absolutely incredible as well.

Angry Catfish

For Angry Catfish fans, coffee and bikes are the perfect match. When you walk inside, you’ll be greeted by a place that’s truly reached the top in both of their industries – bikers know the place as the best of the best, and coffee fans do too.

If you’re thinking of bike shop coffee as the same type you might get at a mechanic or the gas station, then think again. This coffee is made by artisans who appreciate coffee as a craft. You can get all sorts of amazing espresso-based drinks here and we’re almost certain that you’d enjoy a wide variety of them.

Claddagh Coffee

Claddagh Coffee has quietly become a powerhouse in terms of St. Paul coffee. They’ve recently opened a second location and have been serving up all sorts of unique drinks at both locations ever since.

At Claddagh, there’s no doubt that you can find drinks that aren’t replicated anywhere else. They have one specialty coffee that even lists Coca-Cola as an ingredient. But whether you’re intrigued or repulsed by that, we’re confident that there’s something here for every coffee lover. All of the traditional drinks are created with excellence just like the more specialty drinks.

If you’re going to stay for awhile, the Claddagh on West Seventh is the place to be. It offers a more traditional coffee shop environment on the main level, and a comfortable spot with big couches in the basement.

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