Hello & Good Morning Coffee Addicts!
I hope you’ve had an amazing first week of August. Today, we’re continuing the coffee club highlights. In today’s spotlight: SK Coffee.
A Little Background
SK was one of the first two contenders in our first ever weekly poll, they won. I hadn’t heard too much about the shop so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My first experience there was like finding gold, a pleasant surprise.
That day I met Sam Kjellberg who was the man behind the bar. I asked him what he recommended, and in response he gave a plethora of choices trying to decipher which option would be best for me. We decided to go with the single origin Ethiopian. Not only did he find out a great match for me, he told a story while making the cup-everything from the farms where the bean comes from, to how they are roasted, to the temperature of when to add water, to how the color of your cup can affect how you think it tastes. Never have I ever once left SK Coffee not learning something new. to make it clear, SK is an outstanding coffee shop.
(Sam making a pour over)
I’ve had some great ideas at SK and with their team. We exchange book recommendations, share feedback (solicited & unsolicited), and continue to bounce thoughts off each other every time we’re around. Seriously just good people who are intelligent and have a strong passion for coffee. There’s a reason why we ranked them #1 on our top 10 list.
(Sam & I doing a quick shoot for our first ever collab! 😀 )
Okay let’s get down to the nitty gritty, what makes SK so special? Humble beginnings.
Sam originally started SK back home in his apartment in Boston whole selling beans.
In late 2017 they moved over to MN.
2018 came was when they started making their way to the local farmers markets, tabling, and even getting their beans into some stores and co-ops.
March of 2019 he opened up SK on the 2nd level of the Vandalia Tower.
And on April 6th of 2021 he relocated to the lobby of the building with his fully operating state of the art roaster in the room right behind the coffee bar.
Sam and his co-owners Nate & Jeff have come a long way and continue to pave the way for the MN coffee industry.
(The SK sign beneath the coffee counter)
What’s it like?
Okay so you’re probably wondering what it’s like here -WELL- i’m glad you asked. Let’s start off with the space. It’s located in the lobby of the Vandalia building right next to Lake Monster Brewery.
Being a part of the Vandalia tower, they have the shared patio seating out front with over 100 seats, a cozy ambiance, and an open space where you’re able to have good conversation without intruding on the tables next to you. The inside is just as good. There are variety of benches, high tops, a living room style area on the side, and the coolest part-the coffee bar. Needless to say you have options.
You’ll see everyone from locals working in the Vandalia building, coffee enthusiasts, and a fair amount of out of towners wanting to try them out. Ambiance wise they’re energy is a fun mix of upbeat & chill. More often than not you’ll hear an upbeat jazzy song, it almost makes you feel like you’re at a casino, in other words, it’s a fun time. Tie that with an experience at the bar when they’re making you a pour over and it’s game over, to reiterate they do a great job at creating an engaging space.
(Patio Seating outside of the Vandalia where SK is located)
How we’d describe the experience
SK Coffee is the complete opposite of a Starbuck’s. The baristas keep things real, not the superficial “OH MY GOSH HellOooOo how are you today?” SK is the least basic shop I’ve ever been to. No super colorful drinks with 147% of your daily sugar intake, instead they have single origin coffee that they spend hours and hours sampling and sell only the best of what they find.
When you see the menu you’ll notice they have four main flavor categories: smooth, bold, sweet, & unique. As a leader in the industry, they express their knowledge and passion by trying new coffee everyday, sharing the top notch single origins on a rotation every few weeks. Once you start learning about it, things can be overwhelming, but that’s why the baristas are there. If you have a question on anything they offer, every single staff member will be able to answer your question, that’s another strength that sets them apart as a specialty coffeeshop.
Last Thursday the 16ozDays team has tried 163 different coffee shops, SK is the most passionate. I’ve mentioned it in the Instagram post from 2021, but this is a coffee connoisseur’s paradise. You might not be an absolute expert when it comes to coffee (I’m not either), but I guarantee that every time you come here, you’ll leave learning something new or have made a new connection at the coffee bar.
(The Coffee Addicts who made it to our first collab ever! Hope you can come next time!)
The Team: @s.k.coffee
Their Website: https://skcoffeeplease.com/
The Coffee Club Info: https://16ozdays.com/16ozdays-coffee-club/
The Coffee Club Signup: https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLGS3KYY5Q73T/checkout/KAMMCVAJV23YDLTB5BTNMNHG?src=embed
I don’t have too much more to say other than to try them out. SK Coffee works hard to find the best coffee to serve to us. They take the time to get to know the customers at the coffee bar and make genuine conversation while also teaching you about the origin of the drink they’re making you. Some may see it as a little thing, but something remarkable or note worthy about the people here is they are both intelligent AND humble.
There have been times when I’ve felt very out of my comfort zone not knowing what a certain drink is. They will never belittle you for not knowing what a term is, instead they will teach you, often times through example. If you’re looking to try out amazing single origins, exotic blends, or want a unique experience that is a polar opposite from your basic chain coffee shop, go here, you won’t regret it.
Have a wonderful rest of the day and please reach out if you have any questions.
(The 16ozDays Coffee Fam)