Downtown Fargo has proven itself to be a haven for embracing independent ventures. With the overwhelming response Twenty Below Coffee Co. has received in their first three weeks of business, it appears the city was ready for a boutique-style coffee house.
Twenty Below Coffee Co. has developed themselves on the principles of high quality coffee and fostering community. From sourcing ingredients locally to roasting the coffee beans in house, the baristas + business-owners have focused their vision and made it applicable to the customer.
Their webpage opens with their slogan: “Coffee & community, it’s amazing how well they go together.”
It is a rarity to have the opportunity to witness a business act out their premise firsthand, but I was lucky enough to experience the friendliness and community-building elements of Twenty Below prior to reporting on their product.
As I entered the handsome space on a bustling Saturday afternoon, co-owner Danae Moran approached me as an old friend, re-introduced herself and helped me feel welcome. This was advantageous considering later she would express their heavy emphasis on inclusiveness.
Once I informed her of my story, she agreed to answer the questions I had and suggested I order a cappuccino and Mexican chocolate macaron.
The cappuccino was elegantly served in a handcrafted mug and had enough lightness to capture a variety of flavor notes. Mexican chocolate macarons are pretty, airy and have the lightest touch of a cinnamon kick. 10 out of 10, would recommend.
After I did everything but devour what was served to me, I was able to ask Moran what sets Twenty Below apart from other places in Fargo-Moorhead.
“We’re really focused on quality coffee and community,” Moran said. “I think the community aspect is something that we really strive to cultivate. So when you come in, you’re not just here for a really good cup of coffee, but you can sit down and meet a new friend.”
There is a community lunch hour from noon-1 p.m. where the bar shuts down and employees dine with guests.
“We wanted it to have a warm feel, and we wanted the seating to promote kind of the community aspect,” Moran said. “That’s the reason behind the long, communal style tables and loveseats facing each other in clusters.”
With new renovations on 14 Roberts St., the space feels warm and homey. Rustic elements of open wood-paneling and artisanal-style wood furniture create a purely Midwestern take on the standard coffee joint.
The space is not only important for aesthetic reasons, but it increases community both in and outside its doors, adding vibrancy to an oft forgotten portion of downtown.
Twenty Below Coffee Co. typically keeps four different beans on stock at a time. Blizzard of ’66 is the house blend, which is sweet and smooth. Other blends include Guatemala, Rwanda, Sumatra and Ethiopia – all of which can be ordered to-go in whole-bean form or in a cup.
“Our roasting process is kind of down to a science – the beans aren’t burnt, but it has the most flavor possible inside the beans,” Moran said. “All of the roasts are considered really light, but you can taste all of the flavor profiles in each one of them.”
A variety of pour-over and immersion methods are demonstrated behind the bar.
“It’s really fun when you come in, and you can sit at the bar and ask a lot of questions,” Moran said. “We want people to ask questions and learn more … We want it to be an experience, where you interact with the barista on the other side of the bar and learn something new about coffee.”
Overall, I’m happy and supportive of the new business. The pricing may be a bit steep for college students, but a worthwhile treat for the camaraderie.