Urban Bean Changes and Expands

This past week, Stephanie March, Senior Food Editor at Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine featured Urban Bean and shared some exciting news. Read the full article below. 

Coffee nerds want to know…. What’s up with Urban Bean lately?
Greg Martin, the chief coffee nerd of Urban Bean, has had kind of a strange year. In 2014, one of his two locations changed hands. His longtime GM and confidante Liz Abene took over the helm at the 33rd and Bryant location and turned it into her own shop, Canteen (which seems to be marshaling the toast trend locally). Martin refocused his energies on Urban Bean's flagship store at 2401 Lyndale.
Then, Martin stepped away from Dogwood Coffee, both as a local rep for the brand and by the fact that he no longer uses their beans in his shop. Urban Bean now stocks Chicago’s Intelligentsia brand for pour overs and batch brew, along with San Francisco’s Four Barrel for his espresso.  
“These are such great beans. We are happy to introduce Minneapolis to something new and awesome. We’re aligning ourselves with the right brands that think about coffee the same way we do. Local is great, but to really find the best coffee we could, we wanted to widen our search to include other states. Dogwood Coffee is clearly the best local coffee roaster, no one else is even close, but it's important to us to get the best possible product to our customers. There are tons of amazing coffee roasters in the US right now, it's like a revolution! Coffee is about relationships and Four Barrel and Intelligentsia really understand the importance of this. As we expand our horizons, we will also showcase other roasters that share our views. "

This is exciting! Martin plans to bring in beans from all over, which means that (like a real bar) you'll be able to belly up and call your drink: latte with Four Barrel, machiato with Cool Beans Not Here Yet. 

But it is a move that sorta shook the local coffee fiends. “Look, we want to be thought leaders on coffee, but we also want the right baristas who will make you what you want, who can educate without being snobby. We all have to respect each other if we’re going to grow the scene.”
And this is really just the beginning of their work trying to enrich the local coffee culture. UB uses all house-made syrups and plans to do some exciting stuff by working with pros, “My GM, Amy Johnson is working with some mixologists to develop a recipe for a coffee tonic and we are just seeing where this can all go." She's also well regarded for her house-made marshmallows and here's in insider tip: not listed on the menu, but always on the menu, is her bourbon vanilla syrup. Jack your cup.

credits: photography by Eliesa Johnson, words by Stephanie March, full article here

Urban Bean & Cool Hunting


Recently, we were added to Cool Hunting's Minneapolis city guide sponsored by Lexus. Cool Hunting is an online magazine dedicated to highlight creativity and innovation in design, technology, style, culture, food and travel. We're listed along side some of our favorite places in town, Black Blue, Bachelor Farmer, Angry Catfish, Northeast Social and The Soap Factory. They shared some kind words about us and our community, read more below:

The coffee shop trend has not skipped out on Minneapolis. The city is piled high with unique places to get a good latte and scope the scene—and Urban Bean is the perfect spot. Housed in what used to be old Muddy Waters on 24th and Lyndale, this coffee shop is where high-design meets unbeatable craftsmanship. Built under the instruction of owner Greg Martin, Urban Bean prides itself on a visually pleasing aesthetic that is focused on cultivating conversations. The Urban Bean brand with its two locations—the other is on Bryant Ave and West 33rd Street—is dog-friendly, with ample room. At the Lyndale location, what instantly draws your attention is the large communal table set against the window—usually with three to four people quietly engaged in work on their respective laptops. Urban Bean is not just about great coffee; they believe in building community and understanding the needs of their customers. Each barista is knowledge not only about the beans or roasting process, but also about the brands they carry and the brewing methods that make for refined taste.

credits: photos by Eliesa Johnson and story by Cool Hunting 


The Warby Parker Class Trip stopped by our Lyndale location to chat with owner Greg about his style, path and passions, with a guest appearance from local rap star and regular, P.O.S. Read the words from Warby Parker below and check out the photos from Collin Hughes above.

Local Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. strolled into Urban Bean on Lyndale and ordered a mocha on the morning we sat with owner Greg Martin. “I like it shaken though, I like the froth,” he told Greg as he stood waiting for his drink.
“We don’t shake it,”Greg told him, smiling at the barista making the drink.
His reasoning is two fold: he thinks it’s classier to stir the drinks, just like a stirred cocktail. Secondly, which female barista would want attention drawn to them for shaking up a drink? As Greg discovered—none of them.
They make their own chocolate to begin with, so they developed a system of mixing this chocolate in the powder form with Dutch cocoa and cane sugar, using a small whisk. The result: a perfectly blended, powder-free mocha or hot chocolate (albeit, froth free).
Greg started working as a barista just out of college, a side job in addition to his 9 to 5 in sales. “My day job was very boring,” he told us, “I wanted to be learning, so that only lasted six months.” He left for Summit County, where he worked in opening a coffee shop from start to finish, from the build-out to the opening and drink-making.
With this knowledge under his belt, he opened his own bakery in 1995 (which has since closed) and the first Urban Bean location in 1997. “There’s something about coffee that people are passionate about,” he told us, “And I’ve always been into things that are palate-y like cigars and chocolate.”
“I also love the social part of the job—it’s easy to collaborate,” Greg explained to us. “I can be at work and meet interesting people, then do other things,” he told us, “I meet a lot of creative freelancers.” For example, he meets folks like Martha McQuade, who helped him remodel his loft apartment building (where P.O.S. is actually a resident) and design the Urban Bean space on Lyndale.
“I know plenty of lawyers and doctors,” Greg continued, “They all studied in the shop.”
Coffee and coffee shops are community builders in themselves, but the coffee better be good to keep people around. “You can’t say ‘good enough’ and rest on your laurels,” Greg explained to us. In the early 2000′s after opening into Urban Bean, he really started to get into the process of making coffee, attending barista conferences and taking notes from roasters like Stumptown and Intelligentsia.
As one of the few non-chain shops in Minneapolis, Urban Bean is worth seeking out for your daily pick me up.

For more, check out the Warby Parker Class Trip post here