Horgen’s Heroes: Star Tribune Covers MPLS Coffee Scene

My gosh, you betcha! Minneapolis Star Tribune journo Tom Horgen has done yeoman’s work by publishing this pretty darn excellent survey of the Minneapolis specialty coffee scene. Included in it are our friends at Cafe Imports and Dogwood Coffee Roasters, along with many other local notables like St. Paul cafe Quixotic, Kopplin’s, Bull Run, and Blue Ox. Here’s some overview from the feature:

Like craft beer and craft cocktails, coffee is experiencing an artisanal spring.

With that comes a new sense of intimidation for those of us who just figured out what “venti” means. Some of these small shops have a seriousness of purpose that easily can tip over into snobbish superiority.

Still, I find myself enamoured of the process — the sourcing of the beans, the roasting, the slo-mo ritual of the “pour-over.” All of which culminates in the thing that matters most: a better taste. It’s like discovering Surly after drinking Miller Lite all your life.

Mr. Horgen keeps the tone light and humble throughout his content, and the whole thing reads like a big breath of fresh air. Bless our stars, there’s even a little bit of aesthetic consideration in Hogen’s writing, a true rarity for coffee writing in the paycheck masthead realm AND in the trade pubs:

When I ordered an espresso at Quixotic some months ago, the barista immediately whipped out a metallic soda siphon and handed me a small glass of fresh sparkling water. She then turned away to make my order.

There I stood, frozen in bewilderment.

What was I supposed to do with this carbonated water? I didn’t dare ask her and embarrass myself.

After a minute of deep contemplation, my critical thinking skills kicked in and — ah-ha! — I figured it out.

It was a palate cleanser, meant to prepare my tongue for the flavor explosion hidden in the tiny cup of hand-crafted espresso.

Embarrassment averted.

A big resounding cheers to Tom Horgen for writing a great piece on the Minneapolis specialty coffee scene. The whole thing makes us want to go to there…listen to Prince and Husker Du the whole time, finally go to that Victory 44 place that looks so nice…