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BEST COFFEE (BY THE POUND) Minneapolis 2002 - Bean Counter Coffee Company

Readers' Choice: Dunn Bros Coffee

The Twin Cities are overrun with coffee shops, but only a handful roast their own beans. "It's an expensive proposition to get into," says Bean Counter Coffee Company co-owner Brian Ortale. This mini-chain not only roasts its own beans at its Highland Park store but will do so at your command. Give them a day's notice and your freshly roasted order of Ethiopian Moka Stag or Java Blawan will be waiting at one of their four locations. If you're lazy (and wealthy), the Bean Counter also offers to ship the order for an extra $3.25 for up to two pounds. At any one time, the store offers at least a dozen varieties of coffee--everything from Irish Creme to Kenya Decaf to Sulawesi Toraja ("heavy, syrupy coffee with moist, woody flavor"). Prices run from roughly $9 to $15 per pound (although for a while the store was offering an extremely rare Sumatran variety for a whopping $199 per pound). For those who can't wait to get home to satisfy their caffeine craving, the Bean Counter will often throw in a gratis cup of fresh-brewed coffee to enjoy immediately.

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