2758 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis –
If Uptown is good for one thing, it’s getting a drink.
Whether it’s a pint of “the good stuff”, a glass of wine, a (double) shot of whiskey, or a damn fine cup of coffee, there are all too many places in Uptown ready and waiting for you to get your fix. The real shame, though, is that when you hear someone is going to Uptown for a drink, they are usually going somewhere other than I Am Coffee. It doesn’t matter if you want a lager drink, a cider drink, or a vodka drink – there is no better place to get “a drink” than I Am Coffee.
Is it the ambiance? No! Is it the coffee? Kind of. But what makes I Am Coffee a dark horse candidate for “Best Coffee in Minneapolis” is the unapologetic, unpretentious vibe of the place. Something sorely lacking from coffee shops across the world, let alone Uptown.
In some parallel universe -a timeline where Starbucks, Dunkin’, and even Caribou do not exist – “I Am Coffee” is the gold standard. Like the name says, this place is coffee; it is the quintessential American coffee shop.
Even if “I Am Coffee” is only a small local joint in Uptown, Minneapolis, the ambiance is not too far off of a larger chain. This place isn’t bohemian, it isn’t ultra-modern, it is just a store on 28th street next to a Subway that sells coffee. You probably won’t find people lounging for hours reading Thomas Pynchon novels or The New York Times. You will more than likely only find one other person at the store – a barista, ready to make some coffee. The store doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that, and that’s okay.
I Am Coffee uses Peace Coffee beans and offers a standard line of coffee drinks. They also have bubble tea, if that’s your thing.
But none of that matters, because we only care about the quality of a large regular cup of coffee, with no room for cream.
The stuff is everything coffee should be: it’s hot, the flavor is full, and the acidity is mild. If this was the average cup of coffee, coffee as a whole would be much, much better.
The Subjective X Factor:
There are a few things that really make this place exceptional. For one, the price for the quality of the brew is fantastic. A large cup of coffee really is large, and it is closer to $2 than $3. The other thing that makes I Am Coffee better than the product of its parts is the novelty and convenience of it. Hardly anyone is ever there, but the product does not suffer for it. You can get in and out of the place in 30 seconds with a large coffee for under $3, and if that was what all American coffee shops were like….
Final Grade: 3.8/5