Now Open: Quixotic Coffee in Highland Park

Just dropped by Quixotic Coffee in Highland Park, St. Paul — it’s the former White Rock. Promising stuff. Beans are from MadCap Coffee of Grand Rapids, MI; cupcakes from Cake Eater. Small menu, a bit pricey, wish they used a local roaster, but the iced coffee I sampled was really first rate… rich in flavor, smooth and mellow, well-balanced — can’t argue with that. They use a manual drip method for at least some of their coffee.


  1. James Norton

    So, Rich — tell us specifically a) what “the best” means in this context, and b) what MadCap Coffee can do that one of the better roasters in Minneapolis can’t. I’m curious to hear it, you sound like a coffee expert. Talk about some of the best local roasters and explain why MadCap is doing better work.

  2. Tom

    Well not exactly local by the common standard around here, but I like to think of Michigan as part of our regional “Great Lakes” food system. Mostly because I’m from there.

  3. James Norton

    Honestly, I have no problem with coffee roasted in Michigan or wherever — as I wrote, it seems like good stuff. But I know we’ve got some strong local roasters, and I’m sure there’s a story behind why they were passed over.

  4. gromit

    Chicago’s more local than Grand Rapids. Why buy MadCap when Intelligentsia’s in town, too?

  5. Rich

    I’m no expert. I don’t think local makes thing better. Sure there are at lot of things from the area that are good. If one thinks that a local coffee is the best then go for it, I have tasted better in Jamaica, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Seattle, Portland, New York, Boston, Cedar Key, Des Moines, and the highlands of Mexico. The whole local thing seems to me to be getting out of hand. I don’t mean to offend but Minnesotans tend to be followers, not leaders so it seems to me that a lot of local things are getting more press than they deserve. People seem to be believing that local is somehow always better.
    I have never tasted a scallop from Minnesota that I thought was as good as the ones I had from Florida.

  6. gromit


    I can think of a pretty strong reason that seafood in Florida would tend to be better than seafood in Minnesota. But there’s not much reason that coffee from Grand Rapids would necessarily be better than coffee roasted in St. Paul or Minneapolis or Des Moines. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about the whole “eat (drink) local” idea, but for something like roasted coffee that degrades quickly over time and is best used fresh (hey! like seafood from Florida!), less travel time would seem to be an advantage.

    And really – if you’re shipping in coffee from Grand Rapids, why NOT ship it in from Portland or New York?

    So do you know anything interesting about MadCap or does the “local” thing just bug you?


  7. Rich

    It’s the local thing. If they can ship seafood they can certainly ship coffee. The seafood has a much shorter life than coffee. There is a big difference on how you roast coffee, so yes Mpls roasters mostly don’t produce a product I am infatuated with. Most are good Peace and B&W for example. Why comment that it would be nice to buy from a local roaster after commenting that the coffee was good, maybe it was good because it was from Mich. Could be that coffee from Timbuckto would even be better. The world has gotten small 24hrs is about all it takes to ship something from anywhere in the world(major city with airport) to here .

  8. Gordon

    I’m the manager of Quixotic Coffee, and my best reason for using MadCap over a local roaster, is that MadCap is part owner in the shop. As a resident of the Twin Cities, I also think something should be said for MadCap being used for diversifying the coffee scene. A lot of coffeeshops use local roasters, and at least 3 use Intelligentsia, MadCap is simply another option. The coffee scene in the Twin Cities appears to be changing for the better with new coffeeshops opening, I feel that Quixotic will merely bring another great cup of coffee to Minnesota.

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