New Dunn Bros Coming to Powderhorn Neighborhood

New Dunn Bros on 38th St E at Park Ave S

Here is a great sign of optimism for the Powderhorn community, and more specifically Bryant and Central neighborhoods: A new Dunn Brothers planned for the SE corner of Park Ave S at 38th St E.

A neighborhood seems a lot less tough when people are walking around carrying Dunn Bros coffee cups.

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Birchwood Cafe Now Has Free Coffee Refills

One of Minneapolis’ top breakfast spots, Birchwood Cafe, has long caused one minor (some would say major) gripe among coffee junkie breakfast enthusiasts: they charged for coffee refills.

Their coffee is delicious and is bike delivered from Peace Coffee, so it’s probably not the cheapest thing to brew. However, the complaint isn’t as much about the price as the pain of getting up, waiting, and ordering extra caffeine hits.

But all that recently changed, as Camacho Watcho reports:

We hadn’t been to the Birchwood for a while, but we could feel something was different as we sat down. Looking around us, we discovered that people had small, silver carafes of coffee at their tables and they were pouring their own refills while they ate. That was it; that was the difference. Kyle and I were just glancing down into our mugs of disappearing coffee, wishing we had known about this when we ordered, when a waitress appeared with a carafe of coffee and poured us refills. Fantastic!

That pretty much locks them in as the #1 breakfast spot among my coffee-junkie breakfast-loving friends.

Shockwave Energy Coffee at SuperAmerica

Energy Coffee

Something about the term “Energy Coffee” seems a bit redundant to me. Personally, I’ll just turn my Krups Grind & Brew to 11 if I want more kick from my beans, for others may prefer to pour a cup or this stuff after topping off their tanks.

I haven’t tried the stuff, but ENERGYGURU from (aka Energy Drink Reviews) gave it at try at a Speedway location in Chicago . . . in the future. His post is time stamped March 11, 2008. So it’s quite possible that this produce has time traveling properties and is kept warm on a flux capacitor.

Energy Drink Reviews: Speedway Shockwave Energy Coffee

About 45 minutes after finishing the cup I started to get real jittery, definitely more than with a normal coffee. I swear I couldn’t stop my foot from tapping. One thing Shockwave Energy Coffee definitely did though was perk me up. I was up big time with my eyes so wide open and my head screamingly clear. This is like power coffee. I kept my caffeine rush on for a few hours before a screaming caffeine crash that left me nearly delirious. It’s like drinking a normal coffee first thing in the morning and then coming down from the caffeine, but magnified three times. I still didn’t know what was in Shockwave Coffee so I emailed the marketing department at Speedway SuperAmerica. They were really friendly and got back to me within 3 hours. They claim that Shockwave Coffee has the same ingredients as their other coffee blends, but with a higher caffeine content.

And an anonymous commenter explained that this is strong stuff:

Energy Drink Reviews: Speedway Shockwave Energy Coffee

I have been trying to figure that out myself. My caffeine rush from this coffee lasted 12 HOURS!! I was able to do 11 hours of overtime off of it. I had never felt so awake. I love the coffee, but I wish it would not cause me to talk fast, histerically tap my feet and make me feel like running around the entire office twice!

Here’s a tip: don’t drink this stuff before golfing. I have a feeling that it would destroy your short game.

Grind & Brew Coffee Maker Reviews

Every since discovering grind and brew coffee makers, I’ve been hooked on them. It’s pretty darn awesome to be able to add beans and water and watch coffee be made right before your eyes. Or, better yet, to hear it being made in the kitchen while you’re still waking up upstairs.

For the past 5 years or so, we’ve been using this Cuisinart model:

Cuisinart Grind & Brew

It worked very well, but there were a few things about it that were kind of annoying. The biggest nag was the cleaning. As you can see, this thing has a lot of parts. And all of them need to be cleaned out on a regular basis since the steam from brewing the coffee works its way back up into the grinder area. The clock was also tougher to set than you’d expect on something like this, making it a pain to do every time we had to unplug it for some reason.

On the plus side, it did make great coffee. But eventually we had to put it down because the grinder/drip component would no longer release from the main body, making it impossible to clean.

When it was time to look for a new model, I checked out the latest reviews on Amazon. I figured there must have been a few changes to the grind & brew coffee scene over the past 5 years. Sure enough, the models have changes a bit. Cuisinart has some models with insulated decanters and brushed chrome finishes and they’ve made their design a bit more boxy, so it would play more nicely with counter space.

The Cuisinart reviews for the model we previous had made it clear that others had similar nags about their design: too much crap to clean. (This Cuisinart model costs around $69 on Amazon).

Then I discovered this:

Krups Grind & Brew

The Krups KM7000 Grind & Brew. Krups’ engineers figured out how to get around the issue that causes so many problems for Cuisinart users. They dispense the freshly ground beans then close off the grinder before dispensing hot & steamy water. The lid pointing out the the left (photo below) flips into place once the beans are in place:

Krups Grind & Brew

Brilliant. Once that problem was solved, they were able to turn things up another notch by allowing you to store beans for more than one grinding session in the machine.

Turning things up yet another two notches, they allow you to set your grind consistency and drip speed, which allows you to dial in your perfect cup of coffee over time.

Krups Grind & Brew

They recommend starting on the course grind with a fast drip. I tried it and it made good Peace Coffee taste like something you’d drink at a PTA meeting. However, within the week, I managed to get it fine tuned for what Carly and I like.

But wait! There’s one more notch! It also allows you to easily select how many cups of coffee you want to make. For example, to make 6 cups of coffee (what Carly and I need to fill our mugs) we just add 6 cups of water, set the Krups to 6 cups, so it grinds (and brews) an appropriate amount of coffee beans for the job.

This thing is not cheap, with an MSRP of $165 (currently $129.95 at Amazon), but it does make great coffee. If this keeps you from buying coffee every day at the week at coffee shops rather than just making it at home, I think you have the financial justification you need to shell out for one.

Scott McGerik’s Coffee Brewing Research

This sort of thing is tough to read halfway through a no-caffeine 30-day challenge:

I have to admit I was disappointed with my first sip of this coffee. But, the second sip tasted better than the first and each subsequent sip tasted better than the previous. Simply put, my tongue had to re-learn how to taste coffee. Whereas before I was expecting to find strong, simple flavors, the Finca Vista Hermosa gave me subtle, complex flavors.

Scott explains why he’s dumped Dunn Bros at his source of beans. I can’t wait until November to test out Scott’s findings on my own.

Caribou Iced Coffee in an Aluminum Bottle

I don’t know about you, but I’m often frustrated by the lack of caffeinated beverage choices available to me at my local convenience store . . . not.

Enter Caribou, who’s rolling out an iced beverage in an aluminum bottle in partnership with Coke:

Coke teams with Caribou on iced coffee drink

Caribou Iced Coffee will be available in regular, espresso, and vanilla and will be packaged in 12-ounce aluminum bottles. It will be priced similar to other refrigerated coffee drinks, or between $1.79 to $1.99 each.

I’ll give it this: It sounds unique, which isn’t exactly easy in the beverage game. It’s a different angle than the Starbuck’s Double Shot and the aluminum bottle sounds like a creative alternative to the Frappucino (which I call a Frappu-crapo).

What will Dunn Bros’ bottled (or canned) coffee drink angle look like? You know it’s coming. Any speculation?

Is McDonald’s Coffee a Threat to Starbucks?

That’s what one stock analyst following Starbucks seems to believe.

Marc Greenberg, a Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. analyst in New York, reduced his target price for Starbucks shares to $32 from $37 today, saying that positive consumer reaction to McDonald’s brew poses a threat to the coffee chain.

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a cup of coffee from either establishment. I think the last time I was in a Starbucks was to use the bathroom in Vancouver 13 months ago, and I occasionally get a Diet Coke with a McDonald’s meal on road trips.

Any coffee aficionados want to weigh in on this one?

via Howard Kaplan

Gigi’s Coffee on Bryant

Cafeapolis has a great review of Gigi’s, and breaks down the clientèle thusly:

Gigi’s Cafe » Cafeapolis «

“Generally you will find a slightly older, more professional crowd at Gigi’s. There is no wifi offered and after sitting awhile it occurred to me that this was most likely done on purpose. The biggest difference from most coffee shops I’ve been to is the almost complete lack of students tapping on laptops. One could certainly study here, but only if it involved those old-fashioned dealies known as “books”. No wireless and the downplaying of decor lends itself to the experience. Gigi’s becomes the background upon which more important things happen: enjoying quality food and drink, relaxing and talking with friends, and appreciating a delicious summer evening.”

Sounds like a good place for a face to face meeting. And the deserts mentioned in the review sound good too. I may have to drag Ben of to this inner-city oasis sometime soon.

Twin Cities Coffee Review Site: Cafeapolis

Via, MNSpeak, Cafeapolis is a new blog written by a new Longfellow resident (via Madison) reviewing coffee shops in the Twin Cities.  The first review was of the Blue Moon Coffee Cafe:

“This coffee shop is truly a neighborhood living room. It is not the type of place that someone would drive across town to visit; it is filled with neighbors and regulars just wanting a relaxing place to talk or study or just enjoy a warm cup. Benches sit outside along the front window and, when the weather is warm, tables and chairs also occupy the sidewalk area on the east side of the building.”

Strangely, The Other Mike doesn’t appear in any of the photos from that review.