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Dunn Bros cup drawing

 

Dunn Bros

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

First Impression: Oh, coffee. I’m always hesitant to go to Dunn Bros because I prefer independent ones. I was craving coffee as usual, and decided to give it a shot. The first thing I noticed walking in was the circle of comfortable chairs around the fireplace, situated in the center of the room. Hmm, this looks like an independent shop.

Appearance/Atmosphere: Everything was in one large, open room. There was a circle of chairs, as I mentioned before, that encircled the circular fireplace. A ring of lights above the chairs provided nice lighting. Two walls are red, the far back one is steel/silver, and the other wall is yellow with some places of exposed white brick. The ceiling is a dark brown with large old-fashioned tiles, and an aluminum air vent ran along the middle. There are two white peeling columns and two wooden posts. The floor is red/orange worn concrete. Tables and chairs are simple, square, and black. Between the chairs around the fireplace, there are assorted antique trunks, chests, and small dressers. Behind the black bar there’s a black, handwritten menu on the wall. Bags of coffee sat along the front, waiting to be sold. Window seats at a bar looking out onto Lake St. were available. Art and painted stained glass windows hang in the windows, and various pieces hang on the walls as well. There a very awesome antique mirror on the yellow wall. A section in the back is dedicated to roasting coffee beans, and is done in the store.

Music: Good, indie music at a great volume. Speakers were all around. I didn’t recognize any music, which doesn’t happen often.

Vibe: Relaxed, hip. There was a wide range of ages, but thankfully no kids. People were talking, music was playing, and the workers were cleaning, but it didn’t feel chaotic.

Coffee: I had a Carmel Mocha that came in a bright yellow cup. How did they know yellow was my favorite color?! Their menu is detailed and offered a lot of choices. The prices were average, and might be a tad higher.

Service: Two nice baristas quickly made my drink. There was a steady stream of customers, so they were always busy.

Notes: I might come back here to hang out with friends during school. There are a lot of groups of 2 that appear to be catching up. It’s a nice place, but I think it’s too loud to study at.

 

 

Eye Drawing

I don’t know if those reading this reviews have noticed yet, but my rating system is very inconsistent. One of my favorite places is 3 stars, which leads me to believe that my stars don’t equate to how much I like the coffee shop. I’m not sure exactly why I give them the rating that I do, but don’t let a low rating deter you from trying them. Also, I don’t have any other drawings of coffee related things, so please enjoy my drawing of an eye.

First Impression: Many of these sound the same because my thought walking in the door is “Oh yum, coffee soon!”

Appearance/Atmosphere: This part is hard to write eloquently. It almost always ends up in choppy fragments, due to the fact that I’m writing things as I see them. Usually when I write this part I’ll look around, write something down, and look around again. I’m more interested in getting the details down than worrying about how it sounds together.

Vibe: It’s really hard to describe the vibe of a place sometimes. When I say that a place is chill or relaxed, I mean that I feel comfortable there. I’m not worried about looking a certain way or feeling that the other customers are judging me.

Music: I pay special attention to music in coffee shops. There are many factors that go towards good coffee shop music, such as volume, content, and vibe. Sometimes a grungy (I mean that affectionately) shop will have metal music playing and it won’t seem out-of-place or odd. However, if a cute little shop played screamo music it wouldn’t really jive with the vibe. It all depends on the mood of the place.

CoffeeI like coffee. Unfortunately, my knowledge of it is limited. I don’t know anything about growing beans, roasting them, or grinding them. When I say that my coffee was good, I mean that it was good and I’d have it again. That’s all I can tell you about the drink!

Service: If the workers are friendly and nice, then wonderful. That’s all I ask for!

Notes: If I can’t classify something under the other categories, I’ll put it here. I’ll also write things I think of later here.

As you can see, these aren’t very technical reviews. For the newer reviews I’ll try to come up with a more accurate system.

Enjoy the snow and safe travels!

Taraccino coffee cup drawing

Taraccino Coffee

Monday, July 30th, 2012

First Impression: Coffee! I was a little lost walking around the area because I hadn’t looked at a very detailed map beforehand. The cute sign outside proclaiming, “Taraccino Coffee” caught my eye. The first things I noticed were the awesome couches and walls. I felt warm and welcome just walking in the door.

Appearance/Atmosphere: The walls are a warm orange; the ceiling’s tan. One wall is exposed brick, covered with pictures of flowers for sale. Most of the floor is carpeted, with the exception of the tiled path leading from the door to the counter. Lights hang from the high ceilings, and the big window in front lets in a lot of light. A fan/air conditioner kept the room cool (it was 87˚F and sunny outside). There are a lot of square tables in the carpeted area: small tables with 2 green cushioned chairs. There are two plush faux leather sofas, an oversized chair, and a coffee table. The counter has very clear “Order Here” and “Pick Up Here” signs hanging. Their menu, located on the wall behind the counter) is  terrific. They have a wide variety of drinks and specials listed. Also on the counter is small bakery. Along one of the walls there is a bookshelf, full of books and coffee for sale. A doorway to the left of the counter leads to the shop next door.

Vibe: Chill, relaxed, and extremely friendly. I felt really welcome here, and everyone seemed nice.

Music: Indie, relaxed. Again, it was all very chill. I recognized one of the bands that played (Passion Pit). The rest of the music was new to me, but it was at a perfect volume level. I was able to listen to it without it being overpowering.

Coffee: I had an Iced Mocha because of the heat. It was good, but I wouldn’t recommend getting it iced. The ice melted and diluted my drink. Something to keep in mind when ordering iced drinks! I noticed one of their specialty drinks was a mix of espresso and chai. Maybe next time I’ll try that!

Service: Nice! The barista was really friendly. She was the only one working and make my drink quickly. A man from the store next door came into the shop and offered everyone (the 4 people) free bags of bagels. Sweet! I don’t know how often that happens, but it was great.

Notes: Go and get lost in a book or something for a few hours. It’s such a cute place that I know I’ll be going back. It’s also right on the bus route – bonus!

Update (12/11/12)While typing this up, I remembered how great this place is. I’ll try to go back soon and re-review it. Hopefully it’s just as great in the winter. Maybe it’ll be my new favorite study place. We’ll see!

Coffee cup drawingI apologize for abruptly ceasing my coffee shop review posts. There were a few reasons I stopped posting (broken camera and laziness, mostly), but that is no excuse. I have four more reviews to post, from the end of July and into early August. After that, I’m going to try something new.

Since my last review (which I have yet to post), I’ve started college at the U, moved, and gotten a job. A lot has changed, but one thing has stayed the same: my love of coffee and coffee shops. My plan is to re-review the coffee shops I go to a lot, because my opinions have changed. I’m also going (to attempt) to try out some new shops.

Any coffee shop recommendations that you love cozying up in during these cold winter days?

 

Remember, the best place to view snow is in front of a fireplace with a mug of coffee in your hand. Stay warm, my fellow caffeinated Minnesotans!

Dunn Bros cup drawing

Dunn Bros Coffee

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

First Impression: While wandering around downtown, I decided that a cup of coffee was in order. I headed to the nearest spot: Dunn Bros on Nicollet. I usually avoid “chain” coffee shops, preferring instead the local ones, but I thought I’d give this one a shot. From the outside it looks very unassuming and friendly, with nice chairs and tables. I didn’t write this review very eloquently, so please bear with my “stream of consciousness” style.

Appearance/Atmosphere: Orange table, black round tables, funky chairs, granite type floors, office building feel. Clean, comfy chairs, lights in the ceiling, large coffee on left center. Chairs/seating in front and on right side. The floor is mostly stone, carpeted in the front. Wooden trim. There isn’t a lot of personality in the shop, and it seems a bit generic, one of the reasons I don’t frequent chain coffee shops very often. The color is bland: tans, browns, greens. Star shaped light hanging in the doorway. Large window in front, and nice outdoor seating. I like the ceiling: tan, half circle windows at the top in front. Lights in the ceiling, higher ceiling, square, white in the center of the room. Nice pictures on the walls. Lanterns on the walls with electric lights that looked light candles. Fake plants scattered about. Yellow walls.

Vibe: Business-casual. It seems like a good place to take a break, but not a long one. The vibe is jeans with a suit jacket, if that makes sense.

Music: A wide mix. The last song that played was “Purple Rain” by Prince, but they have been playing a lot of different types. It’s louder, but the place wasn’t too busy. I’d imagine the music would be at a good level during the busier hours. I think it may have been a radio station playing, because there were a few ads.

Service: Very good. The workers were friendly and efficient, joking around a bit as they made my drink. The coffee was made very quickly and looked awesome. Cool, interesting workers here: one of the best parts.

Coffee: Good! My drink looked awesome in the ceramic cup with a mountain of whipped cream on top. It tasted as good as it looked.

Notes: There aren’t many independent coffee shops (that I’ve found) in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. However, there are a lot of Starbucks’ and Caribou’s. This Dunn Bros in tucked away on Nicollet Mall. I’ll definitely be coming back when I happen to be craving coffee downtown, but I wouldn’t make a special trip. One of the downsides is that they close at 6 PM.