The best coffee shops that I have experienced have been focused and unflinching in their drive to make the best cup of coffee possible. They realize that a great cup of Joe is more than simply the sum of its parts: every aspect works together in a creative and powerful way. Making concessions and compromising on one aspect can break the whole process. One barista that isn’t committed to his or her craft can negatively influence the atmosphere of an entire coffee shop, for instance.
Spyhouse Coffee is one coffee shop that knows their trade, and knows it well. On their website they lay out their mission:
Since the inception of The Spyhouse in 2000, our primary goals have been to ensure quality, sustainability, education, and a commitment to producing the finest coffee and espresso drinks while sourcing from the most artisanal micro-roasters, both locally and nationally. Our daily operations consist of working with local distributors and extensive barista training to produce high-quality drinks that are ultimately served with professionalism to you, the customer.
Spyhouse Coffee doesn’t roast their own coffee, but they source from some of the highest quality roasters in the country: Verve Coffee Roasters, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Coava Coffee Roasters, and Tea Source. They’ve done their research, each and every one of these roasters is time-tested and well known throughout the coffee industry.
One of my favorite things about Spyhouse Coffee is that they offer several brewing methods in-house. This is a trend that’s starting to pick up among cafes and coffee shops, and I love it. Not only do they offer staple methods like drip and French Press, but in addition they provide Hario V60 Pour-Over and Cafe Solo methods.
While I haven’t had the chance to visit either of the Spyhouse Coffee shop locations (they’re in downtown Minneapolis), they were gracious enough to send me two coffees to review. They sent me the “Streetlevel Espresso” from Verve and a Light/Medium roast originating from Honduras from Coava. I found both to be delightful coffees, each great in their own rite.
Verve’s Streetlevel Espresso is a blend of three coffees of Guatemalan origins. While I haven’t had the chance to run it through an espresso machine yet, I’ve found that my Aeropress does a fine job of testing out Espresso coffee when I adjust the water to coffee ratio properly. I found this coffee to have a delicious start and finish with earthy notes between each. The coffee was quite sweet actually – making for great espresso to be sure. The taste in between the start and finish is difficult to place, but reminds me of some sort of secret, secluded area in a forest. As if this coffee demands mysteriousness. Bold, yet sweet. Earthy, yet delicious.
The Light/Medium roast from Coava originates from Honduras. As is typical of light coffees, this was packed with a caffeine punch not to be trifled with. With notes of caramel, this coffee was exceedingly bright in every aspect. It was acidic, to be sure, but in the best possible way. Light and fun, this coffee was the perfect start to my day when I enjoyed it in the morning. Unlike the Streetlevel Espresso, this coffee was constant throughout, starting and finishing on the same strong bright note.
Spyhouse Coffee has an amazing website full of information about all things coffee, and more. In their Coffee and Brewing Methods section they discuss their roasters and offer brief descriptions of their various available brewing methods. Their photo gallery has some great images showing shots being pulled, coffee art, and some pictures of their locations. Perhaps most intriguing of all is their Staff Statistics page which has a fascinating infographic about their baristas.
Another aspect of their website is incredibly revealing about Spyhouse Coffee’s values. On their About page they talk about “Our Community.” They discuss what it looks like to help out and give back to their community by doing small things like recycling and riding a bike to work.
Spyhouse Coffee sees the big picture. They realize that to make great coffee you need great people. They see that part of being a part of a community is giving back to that community. And they understand that the ends of a great cup of coffee do not justify the means. Spyhouse Coffee earns high marks in my book, and I strongly recommend hitting up one of their two locations next time you’re in Minneapolis. In addition, their social media links are below.
The Coffee Guy