The Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities brings its series of coffeehouse tours in coffee-centric cities to the heart of Minnesota
By Sadie Colwell
Two cities, a thousand lakes, a vibrant culture, and excellent coffee and tea; this was what we looked forward to as we embarked on the second Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities recently.
Peace Coffee graciously hosted the Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities kickoff at their roasting facility, and crawlers arrived and poured warm coffee into cups as thunder clouds rolled in. Huddled together, event bags in hand, everyone pressed toward the front to listen to LAB teammate Emily give a history of the Caffeine Crawl and express appreciation for the countless people who help make it an amazing event. She then gave the floor to Erica, who convincingly portrayed the incredible good being done by Chloe’s Fight, a rare disease foundation benefitted by the Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities raffle. After drawing the winning tickets and awarding prizes varying from a three month LAB coffee membership to a Baratza Virtuso Grinder, we divided into our route groups and we were off!
In the spirit of a rainy afternoon spent in a cozy coffee shop, Minnesota kindly provided abundant showers and rainclouds, and the fearless bike route was not to be deterred. Twin Cities bikers mean business. At Dogwood MIA—their new coffee bar inside the Minneapolis Institute of Arts—crawlers observed Chemex brewing via Mod Bar, and were granted access behind the counter to see the programming in action while they sipped a savory Burundi. Bull Run demonstrated the differences between cold brew and iced coffee and sent crawlers happily on their way with their very own bottles of Bull Run Cold Press Coffee, tastefully served in repurposed beer bottles for an optimal patio-with-friends experience.
At Rustica Bakery, Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities participants received a brewing demonstration using the Clever, and sipped a delicious Ethiopia Amaro Gayo two ways while sampling house made cookies and a cold brewed Colombia and Brazilian blend.
Groundswell mixed things up with a stunning Salted Honey Caramel Affogato, made with salted caramel gelato from a local company, cold brew coffee and a house made wild honey salted caramel sauce. We licked every last sticky, delicious drop from our mason jars, and left with very large smiles on our faces. By this point, the caffeine jitters had set in, and crawlers dived into their event bags for a little sustenance. The bountiful snacks from our fabulous Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities sponsors included granola bars from Earnest Eats, Rip Van Wafels, and coconut macaroons from Groundswell, not to mention issues of Barista Magazine and HerLife, and swag from Yelp, Teasource, Libations App, Wholesome Sweeteners and Gray Duck Chai.
At Peace Coffee’s Wonderland location, we were served a three course marvel of caffeinated exploration. First up was a “Harrar Shakarato”—an Ethiopian espresso, ice, and blueberry simple syrup shaken and served. With a classy nod to Aubrey Hepburn, we next indulged in a “Roman Holiday,” a take on the traditional Café Milano: lemon peel muddled with sugar and shaken with espresso and a touch of cream. Our final beverage evoked a summer love affair with smoothies, the “Es Alpukat,” a coffee avocado milkshake blended with sweetened condensed milk to create a surprisingly delicious and quite sustaining libation.
J&S Bean Factory served Colombia and Ethiopia cold brews from a lovely setup on their patio until the drizzles chased us inside, where we were treated to a personal encounter with their roaster in action, and observed the beans gradually changing color as curious questions were answered and coffee was sipped. Teasource went all out with an impressive and flavorful spread of teas—from a Japanese Saemidori Green to a Jin Jun Mei black tea, steeped and sampled out multiple times to emphasize the flavor differences of each steep.
Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar provided a welcome respite for the bike route, brave and very much damp as they were, and warming drinks of Intelligentsia coffee brewed via Siphon vs. French Press sustained and intrigued. Gray Duck Chai rounded out our tastings with chai three ways: traditionally iced, mixed with lemonade for a spicy Arnold Palmer, and a fresh take on chai cocktails, with chai simple syrup complementing rum, lime juice, and ginger beer.
Happily caffeinated and brimming with a day’s worth of beverage education, we said goodbye to new friends and went our separate ways, coffee cups in hand. The Twin Cities dynamic beverage scene provided a vibrant, varied, and delicious experience, and it was, truly, a caffeinated pleasure.
Sadie Colwell is a completely committed coffee addict who adores coffee shop culture and chocolate. She currently resides in Kansas City with her extraordinary husband, Tyler, and her remarkable dog, Brutus. When she isn’t advancing her unorthodox latte art skills as a barista at Quay Coffee, working on a project for The LAB (creators of Caffeine Crawl), or teaching young prodigies to play the piano and like it, she dives headfirst into blogging and freelance projects with reckless abandon.