Mayor Carter, feel free to hand me the key to the city anytime.
I don’t mean to sound so on-the-nose for a millennial, but buying coffee from a local coffee shop is the only thing I really look forward to when I wake up in the morning.
Simply by catering to my compulsion, I came to the realization that I’ve been steadily making my way through every local coffee shop in the great American city of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. So I decided to do a little research on Yelp, Google, etc., and properly compile a list.
Fifty coffee shops later, these stood out as highlights. I’ve assembled them here for your enjoyment and, as always, the greater good.
For Coffee Snobs Like Me
Yes, I’m a self-appointed asshole about my coffee. And given that coffee is the first thing I need to consume each morning, I crave quality and consistency. Nothing burnt, improperly bitter, or too acidic. These shops always deliver.
Bootstrap Coffee Roasters
While compiling my research, I learned that many of my favorite spots were serving Bootstrap’s coffee. It all made sense once I visited their coffee bar south of the river. I dare a pretentious snob (me) to find a fault. 432 Wabasha St. S., 651-528-7543
The team at Roots Roasting is clearly skilled and knowledgeable. Every cup is clean and full-bodied without fail. Also the baristas are extremely kind and passionate about ensuring you get the right coffee for you. 1552 St. Clair Ave., 651-401-1414
The “I Love You a Latte” Department
Sometimes you want your coffee straight, but sometimes you want a balanced and high-quality mixed drink. Everyone can learn to appreciate a well-crafted latte—it’s the cocktail of the coffee world!
Claddagh’s owner, Mary Hogan-Bard, makes all the syrups and flavoring mixes in-house, and you can tell. Every concoction tastes fresh, balanced, and bold. In the spirit of thotumn fall, you have to try their pumpkin latte. I promise, you’ll know those spices were freshly ground at first sip. 459 W. Seventh St., 651-600-3400 and 612 Selby Ave., 651-493-7455
Five Watt Coffee
Five Watt is a Twin Cities favorite for a reason. And now, with a location at the Keg & Case Market, St. Paul residents finally have easy access to their famed cocktail-inspired coffee concoctions. I really enjoy the Kingfield—a latte elevated by a cozy combo of coriander bitters, vanilla, and sea salt. 928 W. Seventh St. #105, 651-756-1662
What’s the Wifi Password?
Yes, the majority of coffee shops have wifi. (It’s the right thing to do.) But with a growing population of freelancers and co-workers, some establishments are better suited to host than others.
A spacious location with outlets aplenty combined with an all-day food menu, Groundswell is my go-to shop when cranking out a couple hours of work. Whether you’re productive at 7 a.m with coffee or 7 p.m. with a beer, Groundswell’s got you covered. 1340 Thomas Ave. W., 651-645-6466
Workhorse Coffee Bar
I challenge everyone to find one St. Paul resident with a liberal arts degree who hasn’t spent hours at Workhorse. And for good reason. Every time someone wants to do a “pick your brain” meeting there, I know well-brewed coffee and a warm atmosphere await. 2399 University Ave. W., 651-348-7561
I’m Not Like Those Other Coffee Shops
Some coffee shops are just different. They’re unpredictable. Clever. Maybe even quirky. These joints are as unique as you are.
Cahoots Coffee Bar
Lined with antiques and warm decor, this tiny little shop makes you feel timeless in a community that’s otherwise growing and changing. Gaze dramatically out the window as you sip Turkish coffee and munch on hummus. 1562 Selby Ave., 651-644-6778
Caydence Records & Coffee
A record store and a coffee shop? What a time to be alive! I always feel like I’m a more interesting person than I am when at Caydence. And if you’re actually cool, you’ll be in good company. 900 Payne Ave., 651-207-6856
An absolutely quirky little gem nestled inside the St. Paul skyway, Perkelat gives you high-quality, reasonably priced coffee in a cozy little shop that can only be described as a cross between a cabin and someone’s hip grandma’s house. 180 Fifth St. E., Ste. 266, 651-219-5342
For the #Influencers
Given that I started this article by mentioning that I’m a coffee snob, I won’t send you to a coffee shop that’s all frills. But I’m also a sucker for some coffee aesthetics.
The not-so-secret menu features colorful latte art, ostentatious edible toppings, and the perfect decor for the ’gram. Don’t be fooled by all the literal glitter and gold; the drinks are damn good too. My personal favorite is Leah’s Happy Place—a matcha latte with lavender syrup topped with pistachios. 180 Grand Ave., 651-340-9471
Folks, we’re talking about latte art in a whole new way. Think: exposed ceiling beams, minimalist color tones. Be sure to wear the right outfit because once you sip your genuinely excellent drink of choice, your body will guide you directly to your phone’s VSCO app. 769 Cleveland Ave. S., 651-699-5448
Mmm... Coffee & Pastries
Something about coffee just begs to be paired with a sweet treat. Some coffee shops partner with local bakeries and caterers, but the best crank out their own desserts fresh, in-house.
Bread & Chocolate
From my favorite chocolate chip cookie in the Twin Cities to a latte made with Nutella, I head to Bread & Chocolate (or its sister store, Cafe Latte) when I’m seeking decadence and indulgence in my tag-team coffee and pastry experience. 867 Grand Ave., 651-228-1017
This place stole my heart with its Almond Kringlers: shortbread-type bars topped with a heap of slivered almonds. They’re fresh, chewy, crunchy, a little sweet, and perfectly matched with a morning coffee. 2264 Como Ave., 651-645-9181