Caffeine Crawl Twin Cities returns for a caffeinated, sold-out weekend!
A special report for Barista Magazine by Sadie Renee
After a year’s hiatus from Caffeine Crawling in MN, we were blown away by the growth and new energy present in the Twin Cities’ specialty beverage scene. Seasoned cafés and an exciting lineup of fresh caffeine ignited the 19-shop program on June 24th and 25th, and the sold-out event was highlighted by the enthusiasm present at each and every stop along the way.
The event Platinum sponsor, U P Coffee Roasters, took their status as headliner to outstanding heights with cascara and honey processed Costa Rican coffee samples on the Crawl, whole bean samples and custom KeepCups in every Crawler’s Wholesome! event bag, and a rocking’ afterparty post -Crawl (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, Craft sponsor and 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.
Dogwood Coffee greeted us with cold brew and a specialty drink featuring coconut milk (unique and delicious!), plus an engaging 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 a unique americana cupping with 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. We slurped down more Zamboni Cold Brew from Dogwood at Rustica Bakery, featured this time in a coffee mocktail using Angostura bitters, brown sugar and cream. House-made (and delicious!) cookies were the perfect accompaniment.
We witnessed a roasting demo from the 2016 US Roster Champion Tony Querio at Spyhouse Coffee Roasters, and sipped delicious Arnulfo Leguizamo Finca Primavera Colombia. Fireroast Café welcomed us to the patio for chocolate cold brew and house-made chai, alongside fresh baked goods and an exploration of the cafes offerings. Angry Catfish Bicycle + Coffee Bar kicked off the bike route with single origin brews of five different coffees from three 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 for a unique and tasty flavor exploration.
Bartending skills met improvisation outside the new Blackeye Roasting Co. café the soon- to- open space will be available for local enjoyment in the not-too-distant future, but we enjoyed the nitro cold brew al fresco in the meantime! The newly opened Hub City Café blew us away with a Thai iced coffee & house-made spicy potato pupusas. With a great new space and awesome half -pound T Rex Cookies! 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 coffee. A delicious chai tasting at Gray Duck Chai was followed by great giveaways and a better understanding of the chai making process.
Another new addition to the Twin Cities’ scene, Misfit Coffee Co. served a unique horchata mocktail from their mobile coffee bar, hand crafted from Valentine Coffee out of Milwaukee. Ice cream met coffee at Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream, and we savored affogatos made from house-roasted espresso as Tim shared his roasting approach with us. Quixotic Coffee took iced latte to a whole new level with a kegged house-made nut milk and caramel latte which flowed beautifully into glasses, as we happily sipped while Jake shared the mission behind Quixotic Coffee and the delightful creation we were enjoying. J &S Bean Factory demo ed roasting on their commercial roaster and a sample roaster, and multiple origins and blends were available for sampling.
U P 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.
We can’t wait for next year!