Getting Local With Coffee.

I am a huge fan of my local coffee shops.

Being a Minnesota native could make me biased to this statement, but there's something sweet about the way Minneapolis and St. Paul in particular thrive as smaller cities & communities that just seem to connect. Perhaps it's the interwoven trails, the never-ending art, music, and theater shows daily, the other independent neighborhood/residential businesses, or maybe it's just the Minnesota nice thing going on. It's probably a mixture of all those and more. I don't really need to to talk up Minnesota, it usually speaks for itself.

The reason I am even more excited about local coffee shops lately is that I just get the opportunity to photograph them weekly! This gig is geared toward spreading the word about these local gems. As I go from shop to shop I'm learning that there's a lot of background and intentionality behind every little one. So, it's time to explore and share some stories! I will be featuring one shop every week or so, and the highlights of each one.

Before I share my first experience, I want to share a few reasons why it matters to support local businesses in general, and why supporting local coffee is important.

Simply put, when we buy local more of that money remains in the community. This also employs passionate baristas who make some killer latte art. These small business employees tend to frequent other small businesses, and you an see where I'm going with this point. Local helps local.

I love thinking about proximity and how we connect with our community by just living there. This is definitely the case when coffee shops are right down the block or a small driving distance. As we familiarize ourselves with faces and places in our neighborhoods, we can feel that sense of connectedness in our area. Let's be real, too, sometimes it's just nice to feel connected as a human to another familiar human. Seeing that familiar face who acknowledges that we exist and are seen even when we feel the negative throes of life can be reassuring. I also have to add the truth that I can't count how many spontaneous conversations I've gotten into at local coffee shops. Whether people notice I'm editing photographs and strike up a conversation, or I like someone's stylish boots, the welcoming and friendly atmosphere of most shops definitely welcomes openness. 

Good conversation goes hand in hand with good coffee. Literally. I really think good coffee is worth the price. Not only does the coffee usually taste better, but most local coffee shops roast their own or supply local roasters. A large percentage of those local roasters also offer organic and fair trade coffee, which I like to support when possible. These shops also usually offer different brewing methods vs. just auto drip, and if you've dived into the world of coffee brewing methods you may agree that it just does taste different. A warm, aromatic, delicious cup of good quality coffee is a simple and small joy. I am thankful for all the baristas out there that know how to brew coffee in 10 different ways and who take time to make it enjoyable. 

The first coffee shop I'd like to share with you is Wesley Andrews, located in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. 

This shop opened in November 2016 and features their own roasted coffee, a hand-selected tea list, specialty drinks, pastries, yummy chocolate, and the purest cold brew I know of in Minneapolis. I was impressed by their botanically infused specialty latte, finished off with a sprig of mint. If you're an herbal fan, it's a must try.

Since I am in love with good lighting I need to mention that this shop has great window light. I find it hard to sit and work, read, or have a nice conversation in a dark and dim coffee shop. The atmosphere is simple yet inviting with plants and songs from their record player.

Lastly, I want to give Wesley Andrews a huge shout out for their values. These guys value quality conversation and the power of relationships. Sometimes I wonder how many people actually value these core and life-giving things. Maybe that sounds cynical, but amidst our social media crazed generation it can be hard to go back to fundamental relationships and how to have them (in person). Thank you, Wesley Andrews!