Urban Bean & Bear Fox Chalk

Yesterday, we kicked off a collaboration with local chalk artist Max Holmgren of Bear Fox Chalk. Every two weeks, Max will create a new piece on our big black wall in our Lyndale location. The first installment is a portrait of local rap legend P.O.S. who we interviewed for an upcoming "I Heart MPLS" article that will drop this Wednesday. Stop in and check out Max's latest piece and stay tuned for more amazing work to come.

Be sure to follow Bear Fox Chalk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Complex Magazine // Dogwood Coffee Company Named In Best 25 Coffee Roasters In The U.S. Right Now

Our roaster, Dogwood Coffee Company was named one of the top 25 best roasters in the nation by Complex Magazine. Dogwood's director of coffee, Stefanie Ratanas was quoted speaking to the flavor notes of her latest favorite, Dogwood's Honduras Edgar Enemecio Marquez. We also interviewed her for our "I Heart MPLS" blog, where she spoke about her experiences and career with coffee. Below, you can find the kind the words written by Complex on our very own, Dogwood Coffee Company.

Where to get it: Dogwood Coffee Bar in Minneapolis; Urban Bean in Minneapolis, Press Coffee Bar in Dayton, Ohio, and select coffee shops in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Colorado, Oakland, and Chicago; online at dogwoodcoffee.com.
Roaster recommends: Honduras Edgar Enemecio Marquez. "This is a new origin for us, so it's exciting to be in the first year of developing these relationships," says director of coffee Stephanie Ratanas, who describes it as "pretty mellow, lots of chocolate and toffee flavors." It is best brewed with a Chemex or Aeropress.
Although it's a recent arrival, Dogwood has already established itself in many of the Twin Cities' coolest and most trusted coffee shops. Describing its coffees as "well developed light roasts," the company has quickly proven that it has an eye for quality and a knack for getting the most flavor out of its beans by not under roasting them.
In addition to a short list of relationship-based single origins, Dogwood also offers three eye-catching blends emphasizing balance and presented with a sense of fun—if you order beans of the Zamboni Cold Brew blend, make sure to pick up the matching bottle to store it in. "We just want to buy really delicious coffee and roast and brew it the best we can, and in the process have everyone benefit from its existence," says Ratanas. Hard to argue with that.

To see the full article and others who made the list, visit Complex.

credits: photos by Eliesa Johnson, story 


September DOTM // Bourbon Vanilla Latte


For the month of September, we're offering a latte infused with bourbon and vanilla. Our vanilla syrup is homemade with brown sugar, giving the latte a unifying caramel flavor. The alcohol in the bourbon has been simmered away, leaving a subtle smokey flavor. Our Bourbon Vanilla Latte is perfect as we transition into the cool and colorful Minneapolis fall. Stop by and try our Bourbon Vanilla Latte before September slips away. 

Town Hall Lanes with Drew Wood

Greg tags a long with Drew Wood and the Warby Parker Class Trip for a beer and some bowling at Town Hall Lanes in Minneapolis.  

“The coffee shop owner knows the musician, who knows the chef who knows the brewer, and he knows the shoe maker who knows the journalist that also knows the coffee shop owner, you know?” Drew Wood, editor of the Twin Cities edition of Thrillist, said to us of his city. “There’s this sense of unity to the whole scene of people making it happen and existing within it,” he explained. 

Drew’s responsible for staying on top of the latest and greatest of the Twin Cities food and drink scene, and when writing as travel editor, seeking out new and unusual things to do around the world.”My days and weeks usually look like they’re going to go one direction, but end up going a totally different one,” he told us. For example, he was recently planning to visit a new brewery in Lino Lakes, then spend the afternoon editing another piece. Instead, he ended up writing about a company that’ll send your ashes into orbit for under $2,000 then photographed the Minneapolis version of the Cronut, called the Cro-Knot.

He grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, and aside from a stint in California for school, he’s always lived in the area. “At the end of the day I’ve always thought the Twin Cities was dynamic and had something novel and radical to offer the world,” he told us.

Take for example Town Hall Lanes—the spot where we spent the afternoon with Drew  and Greg from Urban Bean sampling craft beer (something that’s really on the rise in Minneapolis) while bowling. Note: Drew’s explanation of the community in Minneapolis really became apparent during our meeting. Urban Bean was our jumping off point and Greg, who knows Drew since he’s in his shop so regularly to write, decided to tag along.

For avid bowlers and folks who might not want to venture into the serious craft beers, there’s a Super Strike Light Lager on tap—you can have a few glasses and still bowl a decent game. As for food, Drew knowingly recommended that we test out the burgers and flatbread.

Whether it be for a casual lunch bowl, or just to grab a beer, we definitely recommend making a trip to Town Hall Lanes. It’s off the beaten path, but is quickly becoming a neighborhood staple!

Read more on their time spent at Town Hall Lanes and check out more of the Warby Parker Class Trip here

Photos by Collin Hughes article from Warby Parker Class Trip


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


Our New Coffees

We would like to introduce four new coffees to our family from our friends at Dogwood Coffee Company. We encourage you to come in and give each one a roll and experience the differences between each crop. You will have the best flavor experience if you order a pour over, it takes a few more minutes to make, but it tastes infinitely better. We hope you enjoy.


This is a really clean fruit bomb coffee – flavors of blueberry and raspberry are really forward in the cup. In natural processing, the coffee cherry is left on the seed during the drying process, which allows a lot of the fruit flavor to be absorbed. This coffee comes from the east side of a small Amaro mountain range, near the Sidama region in southwest Ethiopia. The miller, Anaskesch Thomas, pays well for quality and has done work to establish schools and clinics for the workers of the area.


Nereo rules! This coffee is delightfully bright, with an apple-like acidity and candy like sweetness throughout the cup. Located in the West valley region, Nereo’s farm is 1,700 meters up, and grows Villa Sarchi, a Bourbon variety mutation found mostly in Costa Rica. Nereo and his wife, Elida, pick all their own cherries, instead of hiring outside help. Processing of the coffee is done by nearby and highly celebrated micro mill, Hilmar de Arcaro. Dogwood has been buying Nereo’s entire crop or three years.


This farm is one of a few owned by Luis Alberto Mongo Ureña and his brother Oscar. The farm produces about two hundred bags annually, but only ten bags is of dwarf Bourbon variety, which is what this lot if made up of. Coffee from this farm has done well in the Cup of Excellence competition, placing second last year and receiving a presidential award for scoring over ninety points. We found this coffee to be really sweet and sugary, with really juicy caramel flavors. Yum! Limited offering!


This is one of our first offerings from Honduras! Edgar Enemecio Marquez is the president of the COMIXBEL coop (Cooperative Mixta Belén Gualcho Ltda.). There are thirty-six coop members, each produce five to ten bags per year. Belén Gualcho is a small, remote town in the far western part of Honduras. The coop has sold their coffee collectively for years, but recently has begun to make efforts to separate their lots by producer and variety, with hopes to break more into the specialty market. This coffee is very clean and easy to drink, with light toffee and bittersweet chocolate notes.

Read more about Dogwood Coffee Company’s coffee adventures on their blog and our interview with Stephanie Ratanas, Director of Coffee at Dogwood, in part of our “I Heart MPLS” blog.


Make Your Own Coffee Liqueur


Homemade coffee liqueur tastes like a fresh cup of coffee with added depth from rum with just enough sugar to make it great for sipping or mixing—or baking and dessert garnishing. Pick up a pound of our Dogwood Neon espresso and try this out. Be sure to let us know how it goes and save us a a drink!


1/4 cup fine ground Dogwood Neon espresso

2 1/4 cup water (divided)

1 cup turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups light rum


  1. Cold brew the coffee by combining the Dogwood Neon espresso grounds and 1 1/4 cups of the water into a sealable glass jar, shaking it, and then refrigerating the mixture for 12 hours. Strain through a coffee filter into another sealable glass jar.
  2. Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let this syrup cool to room temperature.
  3. Add cooled syrup, vanilla bean, and rum to the glass jar that contains the coffee. Let that mixture steep for 3 days, then remove the vanilla bean and bottle the liqueur.

credits: Serious Eats photo via Kinfolk



A Brief History of Coffee

This photograph is from a Brazilian coffee farm in the 1880s

This photograph is from a Brazilian coffee farm in the 1880s

Prior to 1000 AD: Members of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia notice that they got an energy boost when they eat a certain berry, ground up and mixed with animal fat. 

1000 AD: Arab traders bring coffee back to their homeland and cultivate the plant for the first time on plantations. They also began to boil the beans, creating a drink they call "qahwa" (literally, that which prevents sleep). 

1453: Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, open there in 1475. Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce their husband if he fails to provide her with her daily quota of coffee. 

1600: Coffee, introduced to the West by Italian traders, grabs attention in high places. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII is urged by his advisers to consider that favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire part of the infidel threat. However, he decides to "baptize" it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.

1607: Captain John Smith helps to found the colony of Virginia at Jamestown. It's believed that he introduced coffee to North America.

1645: First coffeehouse opens in Italy.

1652: First coffeehouse opens in England. Coffee houses multiply and become such popular forums for learned and not so learned - discussion that they are dubbed "penny universities" (a penny being the price of a cup of coffee).

1668: Coffee replaces beer as New York City's favorite breakfast drink. 

1672: First coffeehouse opens in Paris.

1713: The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV of France with a coffee bush whose descendants will produce entire Western coffee industry when in 1723 French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu do Clieu steals a seedling and transports it to Martinique. Within 50 years and official survey records 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the world's coffee spreads from this plant.

1721: First coffee house opens in Berlin.

1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America.

1903: German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius turns a batch of ruined coffee beans over to researchers, who perfect the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying the flavor. He markets it under the brand name "Sanka." Sanka is introduced to the United States in 1923.

1920: Prohibition goes into effect in United States. Coffee sales boom.

1940: The US imports 70 percent of the world coffee crop.

1946: In Italy, Achilles Gaggia perfects his espresso machine. Cappuccino is named for the resemblance of its color to the robes of the monks of the Capuchin order.

1995: Urban Bean is born.

2011: Urban Bean opens second location at 24th & Lyndale.

credits: source 

What's your beef with skim milk?


We don't hate skim milk, but in the world of espresso, the fats in whole or 1% milk bring out flavors in the espresso that skim milk can't.

Skim milk was introduced into coffee culture as consumers became more and more concerned about calorie intake and dieting. Espresso drinks have been prepared with whole milk for centuries, and for good reason. When the fats in milk meet and mingle with our espresso, beautiful things happen. Next time you're in Urban Bean, let our barista make you a latte, cappuccino or macchiato. Sip your drink slowly, pay attention to the soft texture and sweet nutty flavor that the milk fats bring out of our perfectly prepared espresso.

Why doesn't Urban Bean serve dark roast coffee?


When we spoke with Stephanie Ratanas, the Director of Coffee at Dogwood for our "I ♥ MPLS" blog, she explained that the high temperatures and extended roasting times that go in to creating dark roasts takes away from the beautiful, subtle complexities of coffee, leaving the beans burnt, chalky and oily.

The term dark roast (aka French, Italian or Viennese) are marketing terms that have been used by large coffee companies to make burnt beans seem sexy and desirable. We're not total dark roast haters, there are quality dark roasts out there, somewhere...

Coffee has more flavor notes than wine and its our goal to make sure that our coffee is presented in a way that accentuates all of its palatable qualities. So next you're in Urban Bean, have a seat at the bar and order a cup of coffee from our Pour Over or Clever coffee makers. Sip it slowly, and let the coffee roll off your tongue. Try to identify subtle flavors that perk your senses.