Edit ModuleShow Tags

5 Best Fair Trade Coffee Shops in the Twin Cities

Get your caffeine fix the Fair Trade way at five local coffee shops, including Spyhouse Coffee, Peace Coffee, and more


Published:


Photo by TJ Turner/Minnesota Monthly

It’s hard to think of tropical sun and berry-picking as you sip your venti latte du jour. After all, it’s easy enough to forget that your coffee was once a plant, and that the people who grew it are far away, along the equator.

But for some local coffee shops, this isn’t good enough—they’ve dedicated themselves to supporting these farmers by serving Fair Trade coffee. While Fair Trade is notoriously difficult to define, at its heart it is a social and economic movement to ensure living wages for workers in developing countries, transparency in business dealings, and environmentally sustainable farming practices. (Fair Trade, capitalized, refers to products that have undergone a certification process through Fair Trade USA; fair trade, lowercase, refers to the larger social movement.) Here are five Twin Cities coffee shops that serve Fair Trade coffee, where you can get your caffeine fix while supporting the people who make it all possible:   

Up Coffee Roasters

Where: 1901 Traffic Street Northeast, Minneapolis
This northeast Minneapolis café and roastery is off the beaten path, known for its selection of Fair Trade and organic-certified coffees. The kitchen offers an assortment of pastries, paninis, and gelato for breakfast, lunch, or snacking, and coffee choices range from the classics to the “Lumberjack” (coffee with bacon and maple syrup flavoring). If you're lucky enough to show up at the right time, customers are invited to participate in daily “cupping” sessions, where coffee roasted onsite is tested for quality and consistency. Learn more.

Peace Coffee

Where: 225 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis; 3262 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis
Peace Coffee is known for its commitment to building sustainable partnerships with small-scale coffee farmers, and the “map my beans” section of its website lets you read about the farming communities that grew your coffee as you’re drinking it (communities including farms in Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Indonesia—Minnesota-grown coffee beans don't exist due to our harsh winters). The downtown location offers both a ground-floor café for larger meetings, as well as a bright, window-lined skyway café with local pastries and a range of espresso concoctions. The standalone Minnehaha Avenue shop is impossible to miss with its bright red storefront. There’s even a training lab space if you want to up your coffee-brewing game with classes for using specialized home-brewing equipment and barista drink-making techniques. Learn more.

Coffee Bené

Where: 53 Cleveland Avenue South, St. Paul
Blending the English word for coffee with the Italian word for “well” or “good,” hangout spot Coffee Bené has also become a popular study location for students in the St. Thomas-Macalester area. The shop's own organic, Fair Trade coffee blends are available bagged or brewed in-store, and they also offer alternatives, such as smoothies, baked goods, wine, and Fair Trade teas. The fireplace, leather armchairs, and rustic décor make this shop a cozy place to warm up in the winter. Learn more.

Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Company

Where: 2451 Nicollet Avenue South, 2404 Hennepin Avenue South, 945 Broadway Street Northeast, 907 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis
With four Minneapolis cafés and a fifth St. Paul location that just opened, Spyhouse Coffee serves a rotating selection of both Fair Trade and non-Fair Trade blends from around the world. The cafés themselves have taken up residence in historic buildings and embrace the industrial-chic vibe known for attracting hipsters (no judgment here). Popular drinks include the “Spygirl” (latte with lavender and honey) and the “Caramella” (latte with vanilla and caramel). Learn more.

The Coffee Shop Northeast

Where: 2852 Johnson Street Northeast, Minneapolis
This unassuming coffee shop with a straightforward name serves only organic, Fair Trade coffee. Specialty drinks include the “killer chai” (chai with almond and chocolate), the “liquid tryptophan” (only described as “warm and comforting with a hint of spice”), and a no-guilt version of the modern classic, the pumpkin spice latte. Learn more.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Three Things to Eat: November 21-27

Food critic Joy Summers recommends where, and what, to eat in the Twin Cities this week

Chef Landon Schoenefeld Leaves Nighthawks and Birdie

Landon Schoenefeld's last day at Birdie and Nighthawks will be December 31

Future Food Trends in the Twin Cities, Part II

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge talk about the next best food and drink trends in 2017

Gingery Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Apricots and Pecans Recipe

There is always room for a new side dish, and nutty wild rice is an excellent option at festive feasts, especially with a healthy touch of ginger in the mix.

2016 Charlie Awards Winners Revealed

The Twin Cities best restaurants, chefs, bakeries, breweries, and distilleries are honored at the 6th Annual Charlie Awards

Future Food Trends in the Twin Cities

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical's John Birge discuss the next best food trends in 2017

Cheers to Helping Hire Veterans

For every “Cheers to Veterans” social media post, UV Vodka will donate $2 to the Hiring Our Heroes program

Help Give a Thanksgiving Meal to a Family in Need

Taher Inc. makes it easy to give this Thanksgiving with their Pay it Forward mission.

Coming Soon: Finally A Wave of Restaurant Openings

Here it Comes! Restaurant Alma's Cafe, Punch Bowl Social, Hewing Hotel's Restaurant & more.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags