This summer I spent two weeks in Minneapolis and fell in love with it. They have the bike culture of Portland, coupled with a Norwegian resistance to cold, wrapped up in the beauty of 10,000 lakes. I never thought I’d want to live in the Midwest (again), but Mpls really made an impression on me. However, the coffee culture left me wanting something more—good news is Peace Coffee, one of the most prominent roasters in town, is working hard to fill this coffee void I experienced on my visit.
After roasting Fair Trade organic beans since 1996, Peace Coffee opened their first coffee shop last November in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The new shop carries all the principles I would expect from a company who delivers their coffee around town with bikes and biodiesel trucks.
Reclaimed wood was used to build benches along the exposed brick walls, while an old fire door hangs transformed above the bar as a unique menu board, and Craigslist finds help furnish the rest of the space. The companies quirky personality is reflected in the brightly colored mosaic (made with recycled glass) and with the support of a local artist, who’s little clay monsters are hidden in crevices throughout the walls.
The shop offers espresso, pour-over (one of only a few I know in the city), as well as pre-brewed for those in a hurry. But if you’re smart, you’ll stick around for the homemade pepparkakor (swedish gingerbread cookie) served with each drink. I was already planning another trip to Mpls but this gives me one more reason to go back.
Peace Coffee Shop & Peace Coffee
I’ve recently been having conversations with friends about the ecological impact of drinking coffee. No matter how you brew your fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee—unless you live at origin—your coffee is still being shipped halfway across the globe. The environmental impact of that journey can’t be offset by simply using a filterless, non-electric brewer (eg. French press or Presso). While they are responsible options to minimizing our impact, it’s still a losing battle.
For those who love the Earth as much as their coffee—meet Tiny Footprint Coffee, the world’s first carbon-negative coffee roaster. In business for less than a year, this Minneapolis based roaster offers light, medium, and dark roast blends, as well as decaf and espresso. They also offer a selection of single origin beans for purists like myself. TFC sources organic, shade grown beans from a variety of countries around the world and roasts them in small batches on a vintage Probat.
What makes TFC so unique is their efforts to offset the carbon impact of their coffee. They’ve done the math and figured out that 4lbs of CO2 are emitted during the harvest, shipping, roasting and delivering of a single pound of coffee. So for every pound sold, TFC plants enough trees in the Mindo Cloudforest of Ecuador to suck up 54lb of CO2. This endeavor makes each pound of coffee’s footprint, net negative 50lbs. Aside from absorbing CO2, TFC’s reforestation efforts also provide jobs to local farmers, improves local infrastructure, rebuilds water tables, reinforces soil conservation techniques, and provides habitat for rare and endangered bird species in the cloudforest. So not only is this a great solution to the eco impact of coffee, it also tastes pretty damn good.
Tiny Footprint Coffee: Organic Light Roast
Aroma: While the beans were darker than what I normally consider a light roast, I wasn’t disappointed. The scent of the grind was pleasant with a sweet earthy smell. Once brewed the aroma transformed into a rich cocoa with hints of caramel and vanilla.
Taste: The first sip was very smooth with enough brightness to part the lips for more. After passing the initial spark of that first sip, the doors opened wide to a very unique mix of citrus, oak and pine, with a touch of clove. If there ever were a coffee that captured an early morning in the Minnesota (or Maine) woods, this would be the closest I’ve ever tried. The medium body brew brightened as it cooled and finished with a mellow taste of almonds.