You can’t abound coffee beans in Chicago (we are amid far too arctic of the equator), but that doesn’t beggarly you can’t buzz the beans here, as an accretion cardinal of bounded roasters prove.
Earlier this month, I absitively to try to amount out absolutely how abounding there were in Chicago. I absurd it would booty me a few hours of analytic and I’d blanket up the abstraction with a tidy accumulation of a dozen or so. After all, while there are a lot of coffee shops, there can’t be that abounding places absolutely baking the beans, right? A few weeks later, my account had added than tripled, and I accumulate award places ambuscade in apparent sight. (There’s a lot of abundant burghal coffee out there, but that’s for addition time.)
This led me to one question: Are there too abounding bounded coffee roasters?
“I anticipate it’s a acceptable thing,” says Aaron Campos, the administrator of coffee and baking operations at Dark Matter Coffee. “There is affluence of allowance in Chicago.” Campos says that bounded roasters adulation to accommodate admonition to new companies. In fact, aback Dark Matter was accepting started, Mike Pilkington from Bridgeport Coffee helped advise Dark Matter some of the basics.
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Xavier Alexander, co-owner and administrator of coffee at Metric Coffee, agrees: “We are all on the aforementioned team. Addition abundant coffee broiler alone strengthens our message, because there’s abundant for everyone. Bad coffee is the accurate enemy.”
Bad coffee, according to abounding in Chicago’s coffee scene, is coffee that is dried and bitter. It’s usually pre-ground and broiled far away. It’s what acclimated to band the shelves of Chicago breadth grocery stores.
Of course, there accept consistently been exceptions. Stewart’s Coffee has been baking beans in the burghal aback 1913. The Coffee & Tea Exchange has been in business aback 1975. Greg Stivers of Stivers Coffee has been baking coffee aback 1985 in a ability a Chinatown.
But the one aggregation that apparently did added to kick-start Chicago’s new coffee arena was Intelligentsia Coffee, which was founded in 1995. In 2003, the aggregation pioneered the absolute barter archetypal of sourcing coffee, which abounding added roasters in Chicago accept adopted.
“Usually, you’re activity to acquirement coffee beans through an importer,” says Campos of Dark Matter. “But for us, we absolutely capital to biking and accept coffee sourcing. We did that off our own dime, and it helped us assignment anon with farmers.” That affectionate of accord allows Dark Matter to assignment with the farmers to appear up with altered techniques of processing raw coffee beans.
Working anon with farmers absolutely costs more, but there are austere benefits, according to Alexander at Metric. “We pay college premiums to the producers,” says Alexander, “but we anticipate it will actualize a acceptable business.” In fact, he shows me a bulletin that he accustomed beforehand that morning from a agriculturalist in South America. “We are consistently messaging aback and forth.”
Tim Taylor, a founding accomplice at Ipsento Coffee, believes that advantageous coffee farmers is acute appropriate now. “The article amount of coffee is the everyman it’s anytime been,” says Taylor. He worries that coffee farmers will accept to carelessness their farms because they aren’t authoritative abundant money. “But if we can pay producers anon a fair price, we get abundant coffee and ensure they break in the business,” says Taylor.
For Branden Marty, coffee can additionally advice actualize opportunities for bodies in charge actuality at home. He’s a accomplice at Adept Roasters, which employs abandoned and at-risk veterans. “This can accommodate them with an befalling to ample their resume and accept a adventitious to abide in the coffee industry,” says Marty. “I appetite to advice them balance their life.” Adept Roasters partnered with Passion Abode Coffee Roasters for the project. “We use their roasters, and they advice us antecedent the beans,” says Marty. “But the veterans do the absolute baking for our blend.”
While researching, I encountered a cardinal of ample baking accessories on the West Side. But addition added accepted advantage in Chicago is the actual baby coffee roaster. These are generally annihilation added than a bistro with a coffee broiler blind out in the back.
That’s the bureaucracy at Sputnik Roasters (2057 W. 51st St.), which opened over the summer in the Aback of the Yards neighborhood. Co-founder Vova Kagan says he got into authoritative coffee while alive at a bloom affliction startup, mostly because the coffee offered to advisers was so bad. “I was bubbler tea, because all they had were those Keurig K-Cups,” says Kagan. “So we bought some absolutely abundant coffee. Unfortunately, anybody (in the office) would alcohol the coffee but not pay. So I had to amount out how to get abundant coffee for cheaper.”
After experimenting with baking at home and affairs accoutrements to friends, he eventually launched Sputnik with his brother Greesha Kagan, forth with Michael Roytman and Diarmuid Horan. Kagan is still focused on befitting the amount reasonable. “I anticipate Chicago has a charge for a added affordable coffee,” says Kagan. The boutique keeps costs bottomward by alone authoritative one alloy and by blockage abroad from single-origin coffee. “There are a lot of alarming coffee roasters in Chicago,” says Kagan. “Hopefully, our coffee gives bodies the adaptability to alcohol abundant coffee all week.”
Indeed, these canicule it’s easier than anytime to alcohol abundant coffee all the time in Chicago. Actuality are 38 bounded coffee roasters to advice get you started.
Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune
Diarmuid Horan, left, and Vova Kagan ample accoutrements with broiled beans Sept. 18 at Sputnik Coffee Co., a broiler and bistro in Chicago’s Aback of the Yards neighborhood. They are two of the four ally in the business.
Diarmuid Horan, left, and Vova Kagan ample accoutrements with broiled beans Sept. 18 at Sputnik Coffee Co., a broiler and bistro in Chicago’s Aback of the Yards neighborhood. They are two of the four ally in the business. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Abacus Coffee Roasters Founder Brian Frain is a adept of the scene, accepting formed at Intelligentsia and Bow Truss. Coffee from his latest adventure can be purchased online or at The Dill Pickle Food Co-op. abacuscoffee.com
Allegro Coffee Roasters Whole Foods’ abode cast has a baking ability central its massive Lakeview location. allegrocoffee.com
Asado Coffee Asado roasts in its tiny Lakeview shop. Aback it opened in 2009, it was one of the aboriginal cafes to address austere assets to pour-over coffee. asadocoffee.com
Back of the Yards Coffee Co. After affairs algid beverage at assorted farmers markets, Mayra Hernandez and Jesse Iniguez launched this coffee boutique and broiler in the Aback of the Yards this year. $1 of anniversary bag of coffee awash goes to a scholarship armamentarium for bounded kids. backoftheyardscoffee.com
Beverly Bakery & Bistro You can acquirement afresh broiled coffee at the South Side bistro or adjustment it online. beverlycoffeeroasters.com
Big Shoulders Coffee Tim Coonan already formed as the chef de cuisine at Spiaggia, but now he runs this bounded broiler that has bristles locations. bigshoulderscoffee.com
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters At its peak, this afflicted broiler and coffee boutique alternation had 11 locations, but now it’s bottomward to aloof one in the Loop at 190 S. LaSalle St. bowtruss.com
Bridgeport Coffee Founded in 2004 by Mike Pilkington, Bridgeport Coffee now has four cafes, and its beans are accessible at a cardinal of Whole Foods locations. bridgeportcoffee.net
Bru Coffeeworks Try some distinct agent brews at this “part-time cafe,” which is alone accessible until apex best days. brucoffeeworks.com
Buzz Coffee Broiler You can appointment this company’s new bistro in Logan Square or acquirement beans from its online store. buzzcoffeeroaster.com
Caffe Umbria This Seattle-based aggregation opened a baking ability and bistro in Logan Square in 2017. It now has a additional area in River North. caffeumbria.com
The Coffee and Tea Exchange An ancient elder of the Chicago coffee scene, this Lakeview aperture has been confined afresh broiled coffee aback 1975. coffeeandtea.com
Dark Matter Coffee This admired coffee broiler has bristles bistro locations, including one central the United Center. darkmattercoffee.com
Dollop Coffee Co. Dollop has been confined coffee for years but alone afresh started baking its own beans. It now has 11 Chicago bistro locations, additional one in Evanston. dollopcoffee.com
Four Letter Word Coffee Four Letter Word has two cafes, one that afresh opened in Logan Square and addition in Istanbul, Turkey. No joke! 4lwcoffee.com
Gaslight Coffee Roasters Gaslight opened in Logan Square in 2012. All of its coffee is broiled on-site in the aback of the shop. gaslightcoffeeroasters.com
Groundswell Coffee Roasters After ablution in Ravenswood in 2015, Groundswell now has three locations and a abstracted baking facility. groundswellcoffeeroasters.com
Halfwit Coffee Roasters Halfwit was created by some association from Wormhole Coffee, the alive boutique in Wicker Park. The aggregation stresses the seasonality of its coffees. halfwitcoffee.com
Hero Coffee Roasters Hero currently has six bistro locations, including a attractive aperture in an alleyway of the Loop. hero-coffee.com
Intelligentsia Coffee Intelligentsia is one of Chicago’s, and the country’s, best admired coffee roasters. The company, which in 2015 Peet’s Coffee acquired a majority pale in, offers an absorbing accumulating of blends and distinct agent coffees. intelligentsiacoffee.com
Ipsento Coffee Launched in 2006 with a baby bistro on Western Avenue in Bucktown, Ipsento now has two locations, including one a The 606 animated trail. ipsento.com
Jimmy Beans Coffee Jimmy Petrozzini purchased a coffee broiler from adjacent Ipsento and again displayed it acutely in the aback of his bistro in Logan Square in 2016. This allows you to watch the coffee actuality roasted, while adequate a cup in the comfortable shop. jimmybeanscoffee.com
Kusanya Bistro & Roastery This nonprofit operation offers the Englewood adjacency a amplitude to accommodated and some abundant house-roasted coffee beans. kusanyacafe.org
La Colombe Coffee Roasters The Philadelphia-based aggregation broadcast to Chicago in 2011. It has bristles bounded cafes, additional a baking ability in Logan Square. lacolombe.com
Limitless Coffee & Tea Limitless opened able “the cleanest, best authentic coffee,” a affirmation that abounding in the industry dispute. limitlesscoffee.com
Little Foot Coffee Roasters Created by a accumulating of Michigan expats, Little Foot roasts out of Metric’s facility. The aggregation hopes to eventually move all baking to Detroit. littlefootcoffee.com
Metric Coffee Co. According to co-owner Xavier Alexander, the aggregation uses science and technology to accomplish bigger coffee. It has one bistro area absorbed to its baking ability forth West Fulton Street. metriccoffee.com
Metropolis Coffee One of Chicago’s better bounded coffee roasters alone has one cafe, but provides beans to a cardinal of coffee shops about the city. metropoliscoffee.com
Mojo Coffee Roasters Mojo Coffee is based in New Zealand, but all of the coffee for the Chicago area is broiled locally. us.mojo.coffee
Passion Abode Coffee Roasters Passion Abode roasts its beans in a ability on West Fulton Street. It additionally has one bistro in Logan Square. passionhousecoffee.com
Printer’s Row Coffee Co. This Lincoln Park shop, which roasts all of its beans on-site, focuses on single-origin coffees. printersrowcoffeeco.com
Red Beard Coffee Traders Named for Steve Sims’ absorbing facial hair, Red Beard roasts in its Bucktown coffee shop. shopthebeard.com
Sparrow Coffee Sparrow coffee can be begin at a cardinal of acclaimed restaurants, including Chicago Cut and Salero. The company, which roasts on West Fulton Street in Chicago, aloof opened its aboriginal bistro in Naperville. sparrowcoffee.com
Sputnik Coffee Co. This Aback of the Yards broiler is focused on befitting its coffee affordably priced. At the shop, you can aces up a cup of coffee for $1. sputnikcoffeecompany.com
Stewarts Coffee Chicago’s oldest coffee broiler has been in business aback 1913. It’s apparently best accepted for affairs its coffee in characteristic metal cans. You can acquirement Stewarts at baddest bounded grocery food and on the company’s website. stewarts.com
Stivers Coffee Greg Stivers has been baking coffee beans aback 1985 in a ability a Chinatown. He roasts for a cardinal of bounded outlets, but you can additionally acquirement some of his own cast on his company’s website. stiverscoffee.biz
Taste of Colombia The Portage Park boutique offers a alternative of single-origin coffees, not all of which are from Colombia. toccoffeeroaster.com
Veteran Roasters Adept Roasters hires abandoned and unemployed veterans to advice them advance abilities in the coffee industry. They assignment out of Passion House’s baking facility. veteranroasters.com
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It may be attic aroma season, but that doesn’t beggarly you accept to absolute yourself to the alienated abatement flavor. As summer gives way to cooling temps, autumn is about fabricated for coffee breaks, moments that accord you a adventitious to assistant a bleared mug of abating joe while the apple starts to apathetic bottomward as we access the aftermost division of the year. Luckily, Chicago has no absence of bounded coffee shops, absolute roasters or comfortable cafes. Whether confined the community, as Kusanya does in Englewood or Aboriginal Sip off Argyle Street, or fueling commuters and students, like Gaslight Coffee Roasters and Plein Air Cafe, a acceptable cup of coffee is never far from reach.
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