Situated in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood, FRGMNT Coffee has brought a unique approach and experience to the local bean scene. The shop has established partnerships with unique roasters from around the world and recently debuted its exclusive coffee subscription box. Owner Ben Banse chatted with us about FRGMNT’s exciting subscription service, top java trends and more.
How did you get started in the coffee business?
I began working in the coffee industry seven years ago. It was at a classic high-volume Starbucks in Jacksonville, Florida. I learned a lot about bar flow and service, but more importantly, it created a spark in me to learn more about coffee as a product. I moved on from there to a local roaster called Bold Bean Coffee Roasters. There I learned all about the process from seed to cup. I moved back to Minneapolis five years ago and have been working in the local scene ever since.
What makes FRGMNT different from other coffee shops in the Twin Cities?
I realized early on that I wanted to open my own shop. As I built the experience, I knew I wanted my shop to add to the existing coffee scene and not just copy and paste what was already being done. With FRGMNT, the most obvious differentiation is our multi-rotating coffee roaster model that allows us to bring in coffee beans from roasters all over the world, both to sell and to serve. This lets our guests try something they maybe would not otherwise have a chance to come across. In our nine months of operation, we’ve had 14 roasting partners from places like London, Berlin and Copenhagen.
While we are very fond of the products we showcase, we are also mindful of other types of guests who come through our doors. We offer unique signature drinks for the less coffee-curious, including our Blendie Bar featuring craft-blended coffee beverages.
FRGMNT sources beans from around the world. What is your process for selecting these unique roasters?
There are a handful of things we consider when partnering with a new roaster. There are obvious things like, How consistent is the quality of the roast? Have they been offered here in Minneapolis before? We also like to consider things like the overall catalog of beans being offered. Where does this roaster source from? How does that fit into our lineup alongside other roasters? The last thing we want is a lineup of four roasters one week that all have the same offering.
We also like to consider where the owners and roasters are based and where they come from. We have had some spectacular coffees from businesses owned by barista competitors. They bring a different mindset to the type of coffees they are sourcing and how they are roasted. They tend to be roasted on the lighter side to ensure an experience unique to each bean. We are slowly working our way around the globe to bring roasters to Minneapolis that would be very hard to attain any other way.
What are some of the trends you’ve observed in coffee roasting?
Coffee, especially on the roasting end, has seemed to be constantly evolving since I’ve been in the industry. There have been some major changes in how coffee is being served. Coffee roasts have continued to become lighter, which helps highlight each bean’s unique qualities and characteristics. Most of our roasters are exclusively in the light to medium roast spectrum, which is why we are able to have multiple espressos or a new origin on drip every week. Also, farmers will continue to experiment with how the beans are being grown and processed. Some of this experimenting will become more necessary as growing regions change with the climate.
FRGMNT just launched a coffee bean subscription box. What can coffee lovers expect when signing up for this?
Our first box went out this month, and we are so excited about the responses we have been receiving. Given the current global climate, we have seen a huge jump in bean sales, and we wanted to find a way to give people a chance to enjoy our curated coffee from home. Our first box featured a new partner, Manhattan Coffee Roasters from Rotterdam, Netherlands. It was the first chance for Minnesotans to get their hands on it as we are one of a handful of partners in the United States. Our next subscription, which ships September 1, will be from La Cabra Coffee Roasters out of Aarhus, Denmark.
When you aren’t at FRGMNT, how do you spend your time?
Life outside of FRGMNT right now is a little different than usual. I did just get married two weeks ago, and I am really enjoying time with my wife and our two cats, Omar and Bodie. I am quite fond of day trips up north to hike or camp. I also play indoor lacrosse for the Minneapolis Wheat Kings. I find myself trying to be out and about as much as possible.
Do you have a go-to coffee drink?
Honestly, I’m kind of boring: Just a good old drip coffee and I am set.