Best places for a coffee date in the Twin Cities

December 20, 2023
Cappuccino at Spyhouse

This post was originally published in April 2019 and was most recently updated on December 20, 2023.

Looking for coffee flights? Check out my post about where to find coffee flights in the Twin Cities.

For the past several years, my husband Mike and I have had a standing coffee date on Sunday mornings.  Thanks to all of our coffee dates, we've developed a rotation of favorite local coffee shops.  I update this post periodically with new finds—there are so many great coffee shops in the Twin Cities, and this is only a sampling.

Coffee shops are listed alphabetically within each geographical category.

Coffee shop interior
Carma Coffee


Carma Coffee is a bright space with lots of natural light, retro decor, and a friendly feel.  It’s owned by the same couple that operates the auto repair shop across the street.  There's a full menu of espresso drinks, as well as pastries, cookies, and sandwiches.  If it’s available on the specials menu, try the lavender cold press latte (I like to order it with almond milk).  Their caramel syrup is also incredible—it tastes homemade, with caramelized, buttery undertones.  In addition to plenty of indoor seating, there are a few streetside tables.

520 Lowry Avenue NE, Minneapolis; 612-208-1253;

Mocha garnished with a chocolate truffle
Fairgrounds Craft Coffee & Tea

Minneapolis—North Loop

Fairgrounds Craft Coffee & Tea is a Chicago-based chain with a location in Minneapolis' North Loop.  The whimsical carnival theming makes for a fun escapist coffee date.  Fairgrounds serves coffee from a variety of independent roasters, in addition to featuring several different cold presses on tap.  They have a nice tea selection (I like the peach blossom white tea, served iced) and if you prefer, you can substitute matcha for espresso in the specialty drinks.  The mocha has a neat DIY aspect: you get a fancy truffle on a skewer that you melt into your cup of espresso and milk.  I also recommend the sticky chai latte, which is made with buckwheat honey.  Free street parking is available a few blocks away on Fourth Avenue, and there's a patio.

116 3rd Avenue N, Minneapolis; 612-333-9165;

In the Loop Coffee Co. is a little coffee shop with a lot of heart.  It's tucked into the ground floor of an office and apartment complex and has baked goods that taste homemade and a community bulletin board.  It’s the kind of spot where you feel like a regular even if it’s your first visit.  Most of the signature drinks veer towards the sweet side of the spectrum—Mike enjoys the toffee crunch, a mocha garnished with toffee bits.  There are also traditional espresso drinks, pour over coffee, a variety of sweet and savory pastries, and sandwiches.  In addition to seating in the shop itself, there are a few tables in the adjacent lobby and streetside.

708 N 1st Street, Minneapolis; 612-479-9300;

Flight with four small glasses of cold brew coffee
Last Drop Cafe

The Last Drop Cafe & Wine Bar has a sunny, bohemian vibe and a seasonally-inspired beverage menu.  It's located inside the Graze Provisions & Libations food hall.  My go-to order is the coffee flight, which includes four four-ounce beverages.  The lineup varies with the season—in the summer I enjoyed a cold brew flight, and I've also tried flights with fall and Christmas-themed drinks.  The food hall has an expansive indoor seating area, and you can also enjoy your drink outside on the patio or rooftop deck.

520 N Fourth Street, Minneapolis;

Flight of four small glasses containing lattes with latte art
Third Space Cafe


Third Space Cafe has a welcoming, down-to-earth feel.  The drinks are top-notch—you can get classic espresso drinks, pour over coffee, matcha, and creative seasonal drinks, including flights with four miniature beverages.  The miel cream cold foam cold brew is excellent, and there's also a food menu with paninis, breakfast entrees, and salads.  There are a few streetside tables outside.

2930 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis; 612-353-5667;


Fireroast Coffee & Wine Bar has a cozy neighborhood cafe vibe, and they make their own baked goods in-house.  The scones are very fresh, since they're baked throughout the day in small batches, and I love the chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons (especially with a cup of black coffee).  In addition to direct-trade, organic coffee, there's a nice selection of loose leaf teas, and Mike likes their chai lattes.  Fireroast also serves a breakfast and lunch menu, and the covered patio is open year round.

3800 37th Avenue S, Minneapolis; 612-721-0039;

Latte with latte art with leather sofa in the background
Northern Coffeeworks

Northern Coffeeworks serves tasty house-roasted coffee in a laid-back atmosphere inspired by Minnesota's great outdoors.  There are usually a handful of seasonal beverages available, and the regular menu includes an incredible maple latte—it has an intense maple flavor without being too sweet.  There are a few picnic tables along the sidewalk.

4208 S 28th Avenue, Minneapolis;

Hand holding an iced coffee drink in a plastic cup
Wesley Andrews

Wesley Andrews Coffee & Tea is a hipster coffee shop straight out of central casting, and I’m here for it—think exposed brick, lush houseplants, and carefully crafted beverages.  The menu is relatively brief, but I love the creative seasonal drinks, like a Szechuan miel made with fresh pressed ginger honey syrup, Szechuan peppercorn, and orange bitters.  There are a handful of streetside tables.

111 E 26th Street, Minneapolis; 612-460-7739;

Latte with elaborate rainbow latte art
Cafe Astoria

St. Paul

Café Astoria is Instagram-famous for drinks that taste as lovely as they look.  My go-to is the rainbow latte, which is flavored with peppermint and chocolate.  It's not as sweet as you might expect, and it makes for a stunning photo.  There’s also a 24K latte with edible gold and a campfire latte garnished with a toasted marshmallow.  In the fall, opt for the pumpkin pie latte, which is loaded with whipped cream and flavored with real spiced pumpkin puree.  The cafe has a food menu that includes crepes, smoothie bowls, oatmeal bowls, and sandwiches.  Outdoor seating is available.

180 Grand Avenue, St. Paul; 651-340-9471;

Large oatmeal cookie topped with frosting and a Minnesota-shaped chocolate

Groundswell would be my default coffee shop if I lived in St. Paul.  It has a welcoming, comfortable feel, with a menu of espresso drinks and a robust tea selection.  There’s lots of seating and natural light, and plentiful free street parking nearby.  My favorite thing on the menu is the Minnesota cookie: an oatmeal and dried cranberry cookie with almond-orange icing and a Minnesota-shaped chocolate garnish.  There’s also a breakfast and lunch menu and a little gift shop section with handcrafted jewelry, cards, and pottery from local artisans.

1340 Thomas Avenue, St. Paul; 651-645-6466;

Glass of cold brew topped with cream
Quixotic Coffee

Quixotic Coffee has a neighborhood coffee shop vibe, with top-notch drinks—their cold brew options are especially good.  I'm a big fan of the Marko Polo, a nitro cold brew drink with housemade caramel and vanilla syrups, and if you want something desserty, the DeNiro, which combines nitro cold brew, chocolate milk, and almond simple syrup.  They also have espresso drinks and on-tap kombucha.  In addition to pastries, there's a full menu of smoothie bowls from Bom Dia Treats.  Streetside outdoor seating is available.

769 Cleveland Avenue S, St. Paul; 701-484-3375;

Cappuccino with foam art balanced on a sofa arm
Backstory Coffee Roasters

Multiple Twin Cities locations

Backstory Coffee Roasters has a curated menu of coffee drinks made with care, and they roast their beans in-house.  The seasonal drinks are always interesting, and I also like the Maple Standard, a cold brew drink flavored with maple syrup, cream, cinnamon, and sea salt.  Backstory Coffee Roasters has two locations, one on St. Paul's West Side and the other in the Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood.  We love the North Loop location—it's in a historic industrial building with high ceilings, lots of plants, and decor that reminds me of a fancy hotel lobby.

Top down view of pastries and coffee arranged on table
Cafe Ceres

Café Ceres is the place we go when we want to feel like we’re on vacation, thanks a menu with European, Middle Eastern, and North African influences.  I love the Turkish bagel and the pistachio croissant.  The ras el hanout latte has a beautifully complex flavor, and if you prefer a more traditional drink, try the spiced vanilla latte flavored with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.  Cafe Ceres has three Minneapolis locations.  The Linden Hills and Armatage cafes have full food menus with made-to-order sandwiches and salads, and downtown's Washington Square cafe offers pastries and a few grab-and-go items.

Dogwood Coffee is a Twin Cities standby—they've been roasting coffee since 2010.  They have  Minneapolis locations in Northeast and on East Lake Street plus a spot in St. Paul.  I love the colorful, modern aesthetic of their cafes (especially the Northeast one), and they make an excellent cappuccino.

Hand holding a latte in a paper cup with latte art
Five Watt Coffee

Five Watt Coffee has a clever, quirky sensibility that resonates with me—every fall the menu features the Pumpkin Spice Lawsuit, and their website claims that they offer a rent-by-the-hour unicorn stable.  Many of the intriguing craft-cocktail inspired espresso drinks feature bitters and savory spices: Mike's favorite is the Busy Beaver, which is flavored with maple syrup and blackstrap bitters, dusted with cinnamon and black pepper, and finished with a drizzle of molasses.  I usually try one of the seasonal specials, and have consistently been impressed.  Five Watt three Minneapolis locations (we like the East Hennepin one, which has lots of outdoor seating) plus a stall in St. Paul's Keg and Case Market.

Latte with latte art

FRGMNT Coffee features coffee from an ever-changing lineup of roasters, plus a selection of Cardigan Donuts.  The menu is short—a couple seasonal drinks, a handful of traditional espresso drinks—but you can count on an intriguing, exquisitely crafted beverage.  FRGMNT Coffee has three Minneapolis locations (our favorite is the North Loop one thanks to the large indoor and outdoor seating areas and cozy fireplace) plus a location in Eden Prairie.

Cappuccino on a table with plants in the background
SK Coffee

SK Coffee has a minimal, Nordic vibe, and they roast their single-origin coffees in-house.  I recommend getting a simple drink, like a flat white, so you can fully appreciate the nuanced flavors in the coffee—it's quite flavorful and unusual.  SK Coffee has two locations, one in Minneapolis' Whittier neighborhood and the other in the Vandalia Tower complex in St. Paul.

Latte with foam latte art and knitting project

Spyhouse is one of the Twin Cities’ original third-wave coffee shops, and the industrial chic hipster aesthetic is a huge draw for me.  My favorite drinks are the Spygirl (a lavender honey latte) and their fall/winter special, Sage Against the Machine (a pecan sage latte).  Added bonus: there isn’t an additional charge for alternative milks like almond, oat, and soy.  Spyhouse has five locations in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul.  On Sunday mornings, we prefer the North Loop location because it isn't as busy and there's free street parking nearby on 10th Avenue.  For weeknight coffee dates, the Northeast location has an intimate vibe and an adjacent free parking lot.

Chocolate chip biscotti and cup of coffee
Daily Dose


Daily Dose is one of our go-to independent coffee shops in the northwest metro.  Baked goods are made in-house—I love the biscotti, especially the cinnamon white chocolate and salted caramel mocha flavors.  They offer a wide range of espresso and tea beverages, including cold press ice cream floats, miels, and loose leaf teas.  There's also a food menu with sandwiches and salads.  Daily Dose has two locations, one in a strip mall in Brooklyn Park and the other in a shopping center in Maple Grove.  The Maple Grove location has outdoor seating.

Top down view of a cappuccino with foam art
Kingdom Coffee

Kingdom Coffee has become another northwest suburban go-to, thanks the excellent house-roasted coffee (even the drip coffee is delicious), expertly made espresso drinks, and creative, flavor-forward seasonal drinks.  The regular drink menu also includes some great options—I like the Sweet Heather, a cold press drink with cream, vanilla, and a touch of white chocolate.  In addition to pastries (many of them gluten-free), there's a short food menu with sandwiches and toast.  Outdoor seating is available on a small patio.

7899 Main Street, Maple Grove; 763-424-3866;

Further reading: Where to find coffee flights in the Twin Cities

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Latte with rainbow latte art and text reading "Best places for a coffee date in the Twin Cities"