Meet Bella Lam, the Vietnam-born, Minnesota-raised co-founder of Coconut Whisk. Minnevangelist’s Andrew Parks interviewed her for the latest issue of Minnesota Monthly, profiling how the breakout brand went from a “big idea” born at Mankato State University to a popular vegan baking mix carried in 50-plus stores.
“We don’t need more businesses that are clamoring to get to the top,” says Lam, who started Coconut Whisk with her partner, Myles Olson, in 2018. “We need more businesses that are rooted in a deep sense of purpose to serve the world in a way that’s healing.”
The momentum is real. In spring, the couple opened a sun-soaked cafe across from Target’s flagship store on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. More than just a brick-and-mortar temple for plant-based treats, the airy cafe also specializes in bubble tea.
Whether you take your boba pearls with brown sugar, matcha, or chicory-laced Vietnamese coffee, ask for it to be topped with a house-made Vegan Mylk Cloud™. Inspired by Taiwan’s “cheese tea” craze, it’s like an ethereal version of cream cheese.
The storefront boasts great natural light, ample seating, neon signage, and lush greenery — a beacon of hope in a neighborhood on the verge of reawakening. Or, as Lam put it, “I wanted to create a space that felt like a warm, joyful oasis in the heart of the city—something that shared a little of my heritage and culture, and the feelings of being in Mother Nature.”
Check out our full Q+A with Lam here, which touches upon everything from ethical eating to Coconut Whisk’s turn in the Shark Tank.
905 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN; 952-486-3527.