Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 8:57 a.m.
A new craft coffee company opens in downtown Duluth
Duluth isn't all that far away. It's really an easy 2 1/2-hour drive north, but sometimes trends take their time to work their way up there. While their music and art scene is vibrant, the third wave of craft coffee took a while to hit. That all changed three weeks ago with Eric Faust, former contributor to the Rake and one of the founders of Heavy Table, opened the new Duluth Coffee Company.
Faust grew up in Stillwater but attended college at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he fell in love with the area's small-town feel and beauty. He worked for a time in the cities as a writer, in the restaurant business, and as a barista at Black Sheep Coffee. It was there that he found another love, coffee: the art of coaxing flavor from the selectively sourced, green beans.
Ultra-rich milk mixed with premium espresso make for the best latte in Duluth
He eventually returned to Duluth, spent some time as a manager at fine-dining establishments like the recently shuttered Nokomis and the JJ Astor, the slowly twirling restaurant perched atop Duluth's Radisson.
Meanwhile, a stretch of real estate along Superior Street in downtown Duluth was reinventing itself as an arts district (think Lowertown with a more expansive waterfront view). There were restaurants, an independent theater, art galleries, but sadly no coffee, until three weeks ago when Faust opened the Duluth Coffee Company and the tempting, roasted aroma began to pervade the city blocks.
The interior is unfussy, industrial with black, slate, and red accents. There's a turntable, softly playing records like local bluegrass favorite Charlie Parr. The acoustics are pleasant, occasionally interrupted by the rumble and whir of the roaster.
It's all about the roaster
Small batches of beans are carefully fed into the machine, manned by Faust. The toasted smell seeps into your clothes as you wait for a barista to carefully pour each individual cup. The beans are sourced from select farms in such coffee-rich countries such as Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
Specialty espresso drinks are made with creamy milk from nearby Dahl's Dairy. At the moment there is a seasonal Buttered Rum Breve drink that blows any chain-brewed-pumpkin-holidazzle-latte-frappe right out of the holiday drink competition. Ultra-rich, threaded with gentle spice and a distinct butteriness, this is the sort of drink that fuels a productive shopper's quest.
Each cup is brewed to order, and all of the tools of the trade are available on site for purchase.
Pastries are made fresh daily from a nearby How Sweet It Is bakery, including a heavenly eclair, croissants, and mammoth macaroons.
It may be early for this new business, but already, without question, Duluth Coffee Company is brewing the best cup of joe in the Twin Ports area. Look for their coffee at other area businesses and restaurants, or order online.
Duluth Coffee Company
105 E. Superior St., Duluth