Generally speaking, there's not a bubble to be found in bubble tea. Instead, the "bubbles" that the cold Taiwanese drink takes its name from are chewy tapioca pearls or jellies resting at the bottom of the glass, waiting for a straw to suck them up. The tea is there, however—but it's not alone. Mixed with it is the flavor of mango, matcha, or peppermint. In fact, at Steepery Tea Bar—owned by the same aficionados as the Tea Garden—more than 30 flavors combine with 10 bubble varieties to exercise creative muscles and comfort anyone who's afraid of repeating themselves.
Bubble tea is just one of the drinks at Steepery Tea Bar. And it's not even the only drink that can contain bubbles. Shakes and coolers can also hold the chewy treasures in their depths, as well as the cafe's signature drinks such as the royal tea latte. Of course, being a tea bar, Steepery brews up hot drinks too. More than 50 kinds of green, black, white, and herbal loose-leaf tea—most of which are fair-trade, organic, and inclined to give only positive fortunes to tellers—fill cups and pots.
Every time Tiny Footprint Coffee uses a little bit of earth's resources, it also puts a little bit back. Since roasting coffee produces CO2, the staff have taken it upon themselves to donate a portion of the proceeds from every pound of coffee they sell to reforestation efforts in Ecuador. In this sense, they've established their business as a "carbon negative" one?the carbon they produce is eliminated by the trees that are eventually planted. And that's not even getting to the coffee itself. Workers dote on the artisanal beans every step of the way, from the family-owned farms where the coffee cherries are picked to the carefully trained baristas who eventually transform the roasted beans into the perfect cup.
Neighborhood cafes should be warm, welcoming, and filled with good coffee. Muffin Top Cafe raises that bar and does one better, throwing baked goods made from scratch into the equation. The cafe, founded by the former manager of Minneapolis hotspots Annie's Parlour and Bobino Cafe, boasts a large interior primed for leisurely afternoons of coffee sipping, writing, and contemplating writing about coffee sipping. The menu offers up namesake muffin tops baked in house along with croissants, cookies, and brownies, which all pair deliciously with the cafe's Milan-style espresso and dark French roast.
An extension of the Thai and Indian cuisine cooking classes and Community Supported Agriculture programs of Ethnic Foods Co., Collage Global Cafe introduces tastebuds to new flavors and cultures with a smorgasbord of pizzas, soups, chicken dinners, and curries. Like Midwestern fall weather, the menu changes each day, with culinary designer Kavita Mehta selecting fresh produce from local markets to whip up dishes such as savory-sweet pad thai noodles, peppery Afghani eggplant, or whole-wheat pizzas topped with chicken satay and basil.
Cafe Inc is a private workspace created with productivity in mind for modern workers who only require a laptop and Wi-Fi to do their jobs. Beyond its members-only area, Cafe Inc shares its space with Makers Cafe, which offers food and beverages to the public.
The extensive menu at Cocoa Loco features pizzas and sandwiches alongside breakfast items, desserts, and espresso beverages. But it's the burgers that steal the show. The cooks specialize in a number of signature versions, including a brisket burger made with sliced brisket on a bed of onion rings, honey cured bacon, and barbecue sauce, all topped with cheddar cheese. Such an entree pairs well with one of the shakes or malts, though you might want to save room for a dessert such as double chocolate cake or chocolate fondue.
Besides your order, the other choice you have to make is where to enjoy it. During warmer months, the sunny patio goes well with an iced latte. As it gets colder outside, guests turn to the indoor fireplace to fend off the chill in the air and incinerate their now-useless swim trunks.