If you’re a Minnesota native or someone who’s looking for a good cup of coffee on your next trip there, here are the best coffee shops in Minnesota.
Ah coffee! Where would we be without it- probably sleep-deprived and hazy? We have coffee to thank for all those late nights and early mornings (and even the hours in between).
But for some coffee isn’t just a necessity but also a way to explore a city’s culture. In some places, coffee has become a tourist attraction in itself.
Each state in the U.S has its own coffee culture and in this article, we cover one of the most underrated coffee destinations of all: Minnesota.
The coffee culture in this state has come a long way since its early days and the number of brew shops has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years.
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Best coffee shops in Minnesota
You can find a great latte, a cold brew, or a latte almost anywhere in Minnesota these days but we want to spotlight the best coffee shops in Minnesota that will have you coming back for more.
Let’s jump right into it:
A classic establishment as anywhere else in Minnesota, Spyhouse Coffee is definitely number one on our list. The café has six different establishments across the Twin Cities including Minneapolis, Northeast, North Loop, and St. Paul. But unlike other coffee shops, Spyhouse is not only known for its great coffee but its incredible interiors as well.
The coffee establishment looks like a warehouse on the inside complete with marble countertops for the ultimate hipster vibe. The café has the added benefit of being dog-friendly as well. Some great options at Spyhouse include ‘Spygirl’, a honey and lavender latte or the Jasmine Tea Lemonade. The house-made gelato with a hot espresso is also a fan favorite.
If you find yourself in the Twin Cities in the summertime, check out the Soundset Music Festival.
Dogwood Coffee is another Minnesota favorite that many people have grown to love. The café focuses on the quality of roasting so you can best believe its coffee is brewed to perfection. Its flagship location (one of three destinations) doubles as a roasting space.
The industrial hangout spot that keeps with the traditional hipster vibe features glass garage doors that light up the entire space. The café also has a mural by local artist Ashley Mary which is reflected on a wall of mirrors.
But the coffee is definitely the highlight of Dogwood café with beans sourced from places like Costa Rica, Columbia and Ethiopia. The owner considers coffee beans to be like wine stating that is after all an agricultural product and the café only brews the best beans.
See Related: Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities
Isle Buns and Coffee
If you are looking for a cozy corner to curl up with a good book and coffee, Isle Buns and Coffee is the perfect spot. In addition to its own custom brew, the café also offers any type of brew you can imagine.
But this café’s signature menu item (as the name suggests) is its large buns. With an open-floor kitchen, visitors can watch these buns made right in front of them. They are made from fresh, natural ingredients so you know it’s going to be good. One of the best being “Sweet as Grandma” which goes great with a strong cup of coffee. Their cookies are just as delicious.
Located right next to Lake of Isles, this café is the perfect spot for a “pick me up” after a Sunday morning jog or if you’re looking to just relax with a good book. A trip to Isle Buns and Coffee is an experience you don’t want to miss on a trip to Minnesota.
In addition to the Lake of Isles, here are a few more great lakes to check out in Minnesota.
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Riverview Coffee and Wine Bar
Riverview offers the best of both worlds, café by day and a wine bar by night. But in addition to great wine and food, the café also features live music and you can check out the schedule on their website.
If you’re there during the daytime, grab a coffee along with a bite. You can either have a pastry or opt for one of their delicious, soups, salads, or sandwiches. But if you decided to head there in the evening, cozy up by the fireplace with a cheeseboard and one of the hundred different wines.
Riverview is one of the best coffee shops in Minnesota with a reputation that has spread far and wide across the state. They have some amazing flatbreads at the wine bar. Check out these other top pizzerias in Minnesota.
See Related: Best & Fun Things to do in Minnesota
Five Watt Café
Five Watt Café has made craft coffee culture a thing in Minnesota. The quirky coffee shop embodies seeks to differentiate itself from traditional establishments with unique interiors and lots of colors.
Coffee drinkers who are looking for something new should head here. The coffee shop is the pioneer behind cocktail-style coffee which soon became a fan favorite.
A few great drinks to try includes The Saints which is a vanilla latte with raspberries and Jamaican bitters which goes great with a piece of chocolate on the side. But if you’re not into cocktails a regular espresso or latte is just as good.
Five Watt sources its food from Rose Street Patisserie so there are a number of pastries available too.
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If you are looking for a coffee shop with an elegant vibe, Quixotic is a great place to be. The name of the café (although it sounds quirky) actually means “romantically idealistic” which is everything the establishment strives to be. The minimal interiors and great coffee have made it one of the most visited spots in Highland Park.
The café also has a nitro bar which has a great selection of freshly brewed coffee. But don’t just go here for the drinks because the food is just as good. Quixotic sources its bites from a number of different local vendors for their food.
So it’s a great way to enjoy some good food while supporting local businesses. Quixotic is one of the best coffee shops in Minnesota with a great location in Highland Park so feel free to park nearby and walk around with a coffee in hand.
You may even find a cool souvenir to take home from Minnesota.
Gray Fox Coffee and Wine
Another great coffee and wine establishment is Gray Fox. Although its coffee is great, the interiors of this café are totally insta-worthy.
The café features white walls, glass ceiling and black velvet couches placed on black rugs. A corner bar made of wood completes this picture-perfect café.
The café specializes in craft coffee and instead of traditional latte art, Gray Fox uses the Ripple Maker which can print any picture on your latte. So you get the added benefit of getting a picture of your great cup of coffee. You can even add bitters to your drink as well.
Gary Fox sources its food from Cardigan so you can enjoy some delicious sandwiches, donuts, and smoothie bowls all day long. It’s a great place for happy hour too, there’s a great wine list to choose from.
If you love travel photography, these are great Instagrammable spots in Minneapolis.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Grand Marais, Minnesota
Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea
If you enjoy a café’s interiors just as much as the coffee, head to Fairgrounds Craft Coffee. The walls of the establishment are adorned with photos from Old Minnesota State Fairs complete with high ceilings and rope swings. It’s a great space to grab coffee with your friends.
The café has a lot of drinks on tap including cold brews, tea, and kombucha. You can even opt for a made-to-order coffee at the brew bar for a regular latte or espresso.
Fairgrounds sources its beans from a number of different cities including Chicago, Nashville, and even Spyhouse in Minneapolis. The café wants its customers to try something new every time they visit.
The café is also known for its carnival-style food options including funnel cakes, and corn dogs along with the usual café-style food. If this is your first time in Minnesota, make sure to check out a few day trips you can take across the state.
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If you are looking for an artsy yet minimalist café, Parallel is definitely a place to visit. The founder of the café, Jackson Schwarz initially wanted to build a glass-blowing studio with an espresso bar but later decided to turn the entire 3,000-square foot space into a café.
Much like a showroom, Parallel’s interiors are very minimal with wide-open spaces and light fixtures made by the owner. A sauna is parked right outside the building. Creatives flock to this coffeehouse for its eclectic vibe.
As far as drinks go, there is an espresso menu with roasters that change each month along with a new drip coffee every day. The lattes are also known for their incredible artwork.
The café is also a famous brunch spot and is known for its pancakes and avocado toast. A lot of the foods on the menu are inspired by the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. If you are looking to grab a bite in the area, check out some of the best restaurants in Minneapolis.
The Oklahoma-based Hodges Bend opened its first branch in Minnesota in 2018. During the day the café is a cozy spot to enjoy a great cup of coffee but then turns into a cocktail bar in the evening. Hodges is known for its interiors just as much as it’s known for its coffee.
The whole space gives off a speakeasy vibe with corner booths, high ceilings, and library shelves. To add to its eclectic vibe, the walls are also lined with chandeliers made of beer bottles. But the highlight of Hodges is definitely the coffee. The café has its own custom brew with beans roasted on a family farm. You can either get it as an espresso or pour-over.
Hodges also has a wide range of cocktails including the Stonebreaker Heights Sour or a coffee cocktail. It’s a great spot for happy hours and you can also enjoy a wide variety of foods from Spain, Morocco, and Latin America.
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Penny’s is a growing local chain that has 3 locations in Minnesota. An establishment known for its baked goods, Penny’s has a growing presence in the brew scene as well. The café’s Linden Hills location features minimal décor with a cutout at the back where you can watch the pastry chef create his masterpieces.
The downtown location has a fancier vibe with green stone walls and resembles a fine dining restaurant more than a café. The spot is located in a commercial area, making it a great spot for a coffee break. There are a lot of great museums to check out in the areas as well.
In addition to light and dark roast coffees, Penny’s is known for its crepes and its array of traditional foods inspired by the head chef’s travels in the Middle East.
If you’re looking for one of the best coffee shops in Minnesota with a fancy ambiance, head to Penny’s.
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If there’s such a thing as the perfect coffee, we can guarantee Café Astoria has it. The café’s fame spreads beyond Minnesota and is known across the nation for its unique lattes. The café features a chalkboard menu with numerous breakfast and lunch options.
These include the hippie salad, oatmeal bowls, and various crepes which are great breakfast and lunch options. But what Café Astoria is most well-known for is its aesthetically pleasing, colorful lattes.
Some even feature rainbow art made with edible items. Leah’s Happy Place is one of their best drinks. If you are looking for other great breakfast spots in Minnesota, here are a few great options.
But that’s not all. The Astoria is also known for its secret menu which includes a 24K latte (which is on the pricier side). This world-famous café is dog friendly but be prepared for lines because it’s always busy!
See Related: Best Restaurants in St. Paul
Nina’s Café is a neighborhood classic. It is located in the Cathedral Hill Hotel, a place that was frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The local atmosphere of this café is a major pull for natives and newcomers alike.
Nina’s is a great space with sofas and a feel-good vibe. Unlike mainstream coffee shops, this café has a lot of visitors from the local area. So if you are just visiting Minnesota, it’s a great place to soak in the local culture. You can even sit at one of the tables outside on a warm summer day.
Nina’s sources its food and coffee from local roasters and cafes so it’s a great place to support local businesses. Some of their best drinks include the mocha and the chai latte with cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top.
See Related: Best Things to Do in St. Paul, Minnesota
Minnesota’s emerging brew scene has a lot to offer from its wide variety of blends to cafes that each embody a different aesthetic. If you are looking to travel around Minnesota, check out our travel guide on Edina, Minnesota.
We hope this list of the best coffee shops in Minnesota will help you find the perfect Cuppa Joe on your next trip there. If you are a Minnesota native, you may have discovered a new coffee spot on this list. Brewed with the best beans in town, these coffee shops in Minnesota are a must-try!
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- About the Author
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A self-proclaimed digital nomad, Divya has a love for discovering new places. Perpetually ensconced with a book in her hand and coffee in the other, she’s always on the move. As a world explorer, she learnt that traveling helps rejuvenate the soul and fills it with memories and lessons that no classroom can teach.