Anelace Coffee is a great addition to the food-laden Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. The cafe does not attempt to become a food destination in itself. Instead, it focuses on the coffee experience and offers a few pastries from the neighboring Aki’s BreadHaus and from Nokomis Bakeshop.
What it means to do, and does well, is present a small but diverse menu of coffee drinks and tea. This is no Starbucks with its tall, grande, and venti size choices — each coffee here comes in a single size. Given that one of Anelace’s specialties, the cortado ($3.25, above left), is traditionally served in only one size, this works (unless you’re a fan of super-sized coffee drinks). “Cortado” means “cut” in Spanish, and the drink is created by “cutting” the espresso with milk, in a small glass (4-6 oz.). Anelace’s cortado is smooth and milky, perfect for sipping slowly while munching on a treat from Aki’s.
As for the rest of the menu, cups of coffee are brewed individually using beans from purveyors such as Anthology, Counter Culture Coffee, and Ruby. Editor’s note: The original version of this story erroneously included a roaster that has not, in fact, been brewed at Anelace. The website notes that Anelace plans on rotating its beans to highlight a variety of quality roasters.
Any of the drinks can be served with a boost from housemade syrups, either vanilla or cardamom. The latter is surprisingly mild, and the latte we tried with it would have benefited from an extra spoonful — the cardamom flavor dissipated before the latte was consumed. Whatever you order, you’ll be offered a choice of complimentary still or sparkling water to go with it. A note for the lactose intolerant: the only non-cow’s-milk offering here is almond milk. Fans of cold press coffee, take note: neighboring Fair State Brewing began offering Anelace’s cold press on tap earlier this month.
Anelace’s interior is a far cry from many community coffeeshops, whose knickknacks and tchotchkes sometimes reach ADHD-inducing levels. Here, everything is sleek and minimalistic, with white walls and plastic tiles on the ceiling, replicas of the original ceiling tiles. The walls are mostly bare, save for a few small shelves with bags of beans for sale from Michigan’s Anthology Coffee and Wisconsin’s Ruby Coffee Roasters. The counters are mostly empty, and even when espresso drinks are being brewed, the overall atmosphere is peaceful. It’s not a lunch destination, but definitely come before or after and enjoy — slowly — your cortado.
Anelace Coffee, 2402 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418; 612.236.4870