Worst Cups of Coffee - St. Paul edition

Worst Cups of Coffee - St. Paul edition
photo by Ahmed Rabea

The fine folks over at Heavy Table unloaded a bomb of sorts on the St. Paul coffee scene.
Writer Eric Faust calls out the brew at Cosmic's Coffee and Coffee News Cafe. Here. Here. If blasting a joint makes the coffee in the Twin Cities better. The resident CP coffee snob is all in.

Some highlights of his blast:

Cosmic's Coffee is serving local Peace Coffee, but Starbucks is serving coffee you can stomach. Cosmic's does not use bad beans, but the brewing is seriously deficient. The espresso tastes bitter and astringent, signs of an over an extracted espresso shot due to too fine of a grind. The taste is stale and the mouth feel is drying, the result of ground coffee sitting around too long before it is brewed.


Coffee News Cafe has won the Best of the Twin Cities from the City Pages at least twice in recent years. A regular customer says: "They won the best of the City Pages thing a few years ago, but the coffee's always been crap. We come because the conversation is usually good."

Before taking a sip, be sure to check your ceramic mug. There is a good chance it won't be clean. One of the baristas looks at a lipstick mark on the side of a cup of espresso and says: "it's probably just a stain" while proceeding to pour the espresso over the "stain" into a "clean" mug. Not much can be said for the delivery besides appalling.

We'll accept the jab. Back when CP first traveled to the Twin Cities, I went to this shop based on my paper's 2005 review and expected something of the Albina Press, Metropolis, or Ritual variety. Instead, what appeared was dive bar coffee. Great in dive bars and perfect for hang overs, but not great for coffee.

Thankfully, in 2008 we gave our Best Barista award to Andrew Kopplin, and in 2009 we gave the award to his coffee shop.

But on the idea that Amore is in the same league as Kopplin's... no such chance. That's like arguing Oasis is in the same ballpark as Radiohead. Seriously, Kopplin's quality is in weight class equal to Chicago's famed Intelligentsia. And for the lucky ducks in South St. Paul, Peter Middlecamp's Black Sheep Coffee is ristretto heaven.

This riff gets to a larger idea, namely that St. Paul has such amazing coffee shops that a foodie can rip apart the crappy ones. That's what does good coffee does, it makes you an addict for actual flavor, and angers you when the coffee tastes like burnt popcorn. This snobbery is also the first step in becoming a citizen of Seattle (step number two: own a Subaru Forester.)

Mr. Faust, budding coffee snob, a native of Bean Town salutes your bravery. We welcome anyone into our naked-portafilter wonderland. It's nice here, we get Ethiopian Bonko Sidamo direct.

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