~ Caffeinating in the Twin Cities is a thrilling adventure, and we did just that ~
After a year's hiatus from Crawling in MN, we were thrilled to revisit seasoned shops and explore the boom of new cafes, roasteries, chocolatiers and coffee trucks that have filled the Twin Cities since 2014. Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities Platinum sponsor, UP Coffee Roasters, took their status as event headliner to a whole new level with cascara and honey processed Costa Rican coffee samples on the Crawl, whole bean samples and logo keep cups in every Crawler's Wholesome! event bags, and a rockin' afterparty post-caffeine (more on that in a bit). Crawlers navigated between route stops using the NearestYou web app, and sported additional swag from Yelp Twin Cities.
Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, a new addition to the lineup, welcomed Crawlers to their roasting facility for an authentic roaster's experience - a rousing climb to their top floor space, an aromatic roasting demo, and several delicious single origin brews to sample. Crawlers went home with their very own bag of whole beans for home brewing.
We were greeted with cold brew and a specialty drink featuring coconut milk (unique and delicious!) at Dogwood Coffee, as well as a history of the company and the whimsical tale of how their cold brew came to be known as 'Zamboni.' We also had the chance to peruse the intriguing visual work of Robert Schneider - Coffee Culture: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces before heading to our next stops.
K'ul Chocolate took us on a full tour of their impressive chocolate making facility, and we inhaled the chocolate journey from cacao pod to smooth chocolate bar. Crawlers sampled several of the health-forward chocolate bars to complete the experience.
Peace Coffee gave us a taste of both sides of the caffeine experience - a iced, spiced black tea latte featuring Rishi tea, and an americano cupping - shots pulled along the spectrum of extraction and paired with water to bring out the specific flavors of an under-extracted, over-extracted, and perfectly extracted shot.
More Zamboni Cold Brew from Dogwood at Rustica Bakery, featured this time in a coffee mocktail using Angostura bitters, brown sugar and cream. We munched delicious house made cookie while we sipped.
Fireroast Cafe welcomed us to the patio for chocolate cold brew and house made chai alongside fresh baked goods and an exploration of the cafes offerings.
We witnessed a roasting demo from the 2016 U.S. Roaster Champion, Tony Quiro, at Spyhouse Coffee Roasters, and sipped delicious Arnulfo Leguizamo Finca Primavera Colombia.
Angry Catfish Bicycle + Coffee Bar kicked off the bike route with single origin brews of 5 different coffees from 3 roasters - Ruby Roasters in Wisconsin, Parisi Coffee in Kansas City, and Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago. Five Watt Coffee at Big Watt Beverage Co. mixed it up with coffee shandies & cold brew on tap highlighted by hops and malts. Unique and tasty!
Bartending skills met improvisation outside the new Blackeye Roasting Co. cafe - the soon-to-open space will be available for local enjoyment soon, but we enjoyed the nitro cold brew in the mean time!
Groundswell served it up sweet and savory with a twist on an affogato - cold brew coffee brewed with cacao nibs over housemade basil ice cream, and a delicious rosemary chocolate chip cookie. The newly opened Hub City Cafe blew us away with a thai iced coffee & house made spicy potato pupusas. A great new space and awesome half-pound T-Rex Cookies!
A delicious chai tasting at Gray Duck Chai was followed by great giveaways and a better understanding of the chai making process.
J&S Bean Factory demoed roasting on their commercial roaster and a sample roaster, and multiple origins and blends were available for sampling. Misfit Coffee Co. served a unique horchata mocktail from their mobile coffee bar, hand crafted from Valentine Coffee out of Milwaukee.
Ice cream meets coffee at Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream, and we savored affogatoes made from house roasted esprseso as Tim shared his roasting approach with us. Quixotic Coffee took 'iced latte' to a whole new level - a kegged house made nut milk and caramel latte flowed into glasses, and we happily sipped as Jake shared the mission behind Quixotic Coffee and the delightful creation we were enjoying.
UP Coffee Roasters' afterparty was one for the books - a local collaboration coffee beer with Insight Brewing satisfied the uppers-and-downers side of any good Caffeine Crawl afterparty, and local baristas threw down for title of latte art champ. Appetizers, house made virgin mocktails and plenty of new friends rounded out a great day of caffeinated exploration in the Twin Cities, and we can't wait for next year!