Dunn Bros Coffee is a franchise company of coffeehouses founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, in December 1987 by brothers Ed and Dan Dunn. The first store was opened on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, after the brothers had driven an old Dodge van loaded with their belongings from Portland, Oregon, to Minnesota in search of a good, underserved location for a coffee business. They found a refurbished 1950s Probat roaster in Cincinnati, Ohio, and used it to set up that first store. The second location opened in Uptown Minneapolis in 1991 (and was temporarily the only location while the Grand Avenue store was rebuilt following a 1991 fire).
The store's locations are primarily in the American Midwest, especially Minnesota, where there are 74 locations. In the last few years stores have also opened in Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa. Dunn Bros Coffee is a franchise, and most stores are locally owned and operated. One distinguishing feature that separates Dunn Bros from most of its chain competitors is that at every traditional location the coffee is roasted right in the store, usually on a daily basis. This allows customers to buy freshly roasted whole beans. Three roast levels are often available: a medium Full City, a medium-dark Vienna Roast, and a dark French Roast, which either adds a smoky flavor to the bean (French Roast) or allows subtle nuances to be distinguishable (Full City roast). Some coffee roasters can produce about a dozen roast levels, and many types of beans are considered over-roasted as French or Italian. Dunn Bros Coffee does not produce an Italian Roast on the grounds that it often produces a charred flavor in the highest grades of Arabica beans. The in-store roasting and small batch sizes typically allow for the availability of 12-15 varieties of whole beans.
As of June 2006, Dunn Bros was the ninth largest coffee company in the U.S., with 85 locations throughout the country.
- Staff Report "Retailer Profile: Dunn Bros. Coffee", Tea & Coffee Trade Online, New York, 2007-07. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
- About Us | Dunn Bros Coffee Shop Franchises
- Tanyeri, Dani: "Small Coffee Please: Can tiny-by-comparison chains exploit giant Starbucks' troubles to their advantage?" Restaurant Business 107:6 June 2008 p. 42
- "The 10 largest coffee chains in the US" (PHP). Slash Food. 2006-06-11. Retrieved 2006-12-18.