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Dogwood Coffee, Minneapolis MN: Shop Review
Last week I was on vacation up in my old stomping grounds, the upper, Upper Midwest, and thought I better check out a new coffee shop - one with which I was not yet acquainted. I had done some research and heard good things online about Dogwood Coffee in Minneapolis, so I worked out a time to meet with my sister (who lives up there) and we headed down Hennepin Ave in search of adventure.
Dogwood is located in an entrance to the Calhoun Square Mall so it is easily accessible from both inside and outside the mall. When you first walk in the doors, you are immediately greeted by the welcoming smell of good coffee and find yourself looking at one of three "islands" for the shop, each station serving a particular purpose. A large amount of space is devoted to preparing coffee and serving it, and the baristas have a lot of elbow room for working. See here for an overhead view of the shop: Dogwood Coffee Bar.
The middle island, and the one you first reach, is the customer service island where you place your order. We ordered - I puchased a shot of the Burundi offering, pulled into two demitasses, one served straight and the other as a macchiato - and paid. While we waited for our drinks I chatted a little with the barista who took my order and educated me on the history of Dogwood. From its inception, it seems that Dogwood has been founded on a love of great coffee and a desire to share that as a great experience with the community. You can find more specifics of its history here: Dogwood About Us Page & this blog post detailing Dogwood's decision to split from Bull Run Roasting Co.
Once we were finished chatting, I headed over to the espresso bar to wait for my drink. While watching the baristas work I admired the 3-Group WBC Version Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, Curtis Hot Water Tower, and the three options for grinders (Two Compak K10 grinders and a Mazzer Mini), after which I happily accepted my espresso, macchiato, and glass of water. My wife and I headed over to sit down and catch up with my sister while I sipped my espresso. My first impression was that the shot was one of the sweetest I have ever had. The shot had notes of sweet caramel and bourbon. The macchiato was just as flavorful, and the milk further sweetened the bourbon-like taste adding an almost (not quite) earthy tone to it... which actually reminded me a little of something from the Sumatra or Indonesian region. The espresso alone was well worth the trip.
Once I had finished sipping and my wife and sister were immersed in conversation regarding children, I decided to get a closer look at the coffee bar. I headed over to the rightmost island to admire the two Clover machines and dedicated Ditting grinder. While there is much debate over Clovers and whether they are worth the investment, I must say (and think you will probably agree) that they can produce a great cup. One of the baristas made me up a cup of the Burundi for me to try since I had already experienced it as an espresso, and I was not disappointed. The familiar, if somewhat more subdued, caramel notes of the Burundi filled my palate, and this time I picked up a note of peaches in the cup. They told me they really like the Clovers and use both Clovers and manual pour over methods for customers.
Next to the two Clovers, I noticed an interesting device I recognized as an Über Boiler. Dogwood baristas also do their fair share of pour over brews and the Über Boiler comes in handy... although many of their customers have preferred the interactive and aesthetically appealing experience pour over brewing with a kettle affords. To each his own. We also discussed the Luminaire LB-1 in comparison for a pour over water source.
Now I must admit that the shop was somewhat difficult to find if you did not know exactly where it was, but in an effort of full disclosure, I must also admit this was mostly my fault. I am the type who refuses to pay someone extra money per month for internet on my phone, and therefore belong to those Neanderthal clans who have not yet switched to Smart Phones. This means that I had originally ignored the helpful directions on their website of how to easily find them, and I could not look them up once away from my computer. Therefore, I had assumed it would be easier to find with GPS... and was wrong. There is no actual address listed on their website or on Google maps, so we kind of had to head over to the intersection of W Lake St & Hennepin and look around. Eventually, we asked someone and they said they thought there was a coffee shop in a certain building. We rounded the corner, and sure enough, found the signs on the windows. My only suggestion would be to have some sort of sign out on street level, I imagine this will also help attract a few more walk-ins (and people like us who forgot to pay really close attention to the website directions). Either way, we found it and loved it..
Wrapping It Up
At the end of our visit, I thanked the team and we headed out the door. I felt greatly refreshed by the stop and am excited about what Dogwood adds to the coffee scene in Minneapolis. Obviously, judging by the machines, setup, and coffee, Dogwood has invested a lot of time, thought, money, and energy into pursuing the highest coffee experience for their customers. As an example of this, every Thursday evening, Dogwood puts on cupping sessions for the public to educate them on evaluating coffee. From my brief perception of Dogwood, I would say they care about their coffee, their customers, and their business, in that order. If you are ever on Hennepin directly south of Minneapolis (right next to Lake Calhoun), I would highly recommend stopping by and getting an espresso or coffee from Dogwood. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am confident that you would as well.
Anyone else have any great experiences at Dogwood? Or do you have any other good options for me to try out the next time I am in Minneapolis/St.Paul visiting the fam? I'm always excited to find new shops in my former stomping grounds, dontcha know you betcha! Anyway, til next time...