As the chilly afternoons and evenings of autumn approach, it becomes less enticing to go for a walk and explore the local café scene, especially when a warm latte or cappuccino is available just across the street at Dunn Bros or Caribou Coffee. But in the Mac-Groveland area there are quite a few hidden-gem coffee houses that offer great coffee and the perfect environment to work or socialize. You can find several neighborhood coffee shops within 10-15 minutes of campus. We looked just north and south of Macalester and found Cahoots Coffee Bar and Roots Roasting. Each with their own individual menu and atmosphere, both cafes offer tasty coffee within walking distance of campus.
Near Whole Foods and the Neighborhood Cafe is Cahoots, a small, cozy coffee shop. Cahoots’ interior is very welcoming and different from most coffee shops. One exciting aspect of Cahoots is its emphasis on supporting local businesses by emphasizing the importance of it on their website. It features dim lighting, cozy carpets hanging from the wall, novel lampshades with camels on them and locally made jewelry for sale. Cahoots sells not only coffee but also ice cream, smoothies, Middle Eastern inspired food and pastries.
I ordered a turtle mocha with almond milk, and it was perfection — one of the best mochas I’ve had. The turtle mocha was not too chocolatey nor heavy on the espresso. As STEM majors would say, “It was at equilibrium.” The prices at Cahoots are similar to Starbucks and Caribou, about four dollars for most drinks. One thing to keep in mind is that if the price is under five dollars and you pay with a card, they charge extra. I would recommend this place to study or catch up with friends because it offers many different seating arrangements and doesn’t play music which is important for focus.
Just a couple of doors down from the corner of Snelling and Saint Clair is Roots Roasting.
It’s a two-room coffee house that offers a simple, tasty menu of coffee, drinks and pastries. All their beverages are available hot, iced or decaf, and milk substitutes are available for no extra charge. Roots Roasting has a mission to provide only the best ethically-sourced coffee beans and to do the best by the coffee industry and the environment. All the single-use items (cups, straws, napkins, etc.) are compostable, and according to their website, five percent of their profits “are donated towards ending modern slavery in the coffee industry in Brazil.”
I ordered an iced latte with oat milk and their house simple syrup, and was pleasantly surprised by how different and delicious it was. Rich and smooth, the coffee was like nothing I’ve had before in the Twin Cities, and is competitively priced at four dollars for 12oz. I sat in the cafe for over an hour, enjoying the bright space and easy-going background music while I studied. The baristas, decor and lighting give Roots Roasting a relaxed and inviting space. It is perfect for studying, catching up with friends, or simply grabbing a delicious coffee. A hidden gem, I think Roots Roasting is a wonderful spot for the busy Macalester student.
Cahoots Coffee is located at 1562 Selby Ave, Saint Paul.
Roots Roasting is located at 1552 St. Clair Ave, Saint Paul.