Chicago Day 2

Yesterday was amazing.

AJ and I went to the Itelligentsia Roasterie a little outside the city centre around noon and when we got out of the taxi at the given address and were momentarily lost. I’m not sure what I had expected the Roasterie to look like, I hadn’t expected something overly loud but I didn’t anticiapte it being a large red brick building with no identification markings other than a small little sticker above the door and Doug Zell grinning outside. Sadly for you dear folks my priority was not taking photos on the visit but instead listening to wise folks like EJ, Doug and Sarah Kluth took my attention.

After a brief tour of inside the factory which was considerably more charming and interesting than the exterior, we sat down for a flight of the company’s latest filter offerings. Some of the coffees were past their best and then som, like their new batch of Tres Santos from Colombia just sung out.

It was a little nerve racking at first, for both AJ and I, as the people cupping with us moved quickly through the coffees, familiar enough with their palletts to be confident in their descriptors but as we gladly learned, never arrogant. When all the coffees had been slurped and spat, the silence was broken and we began to discuss the flight. Although what I had to offer was perhaps basic, they quickly made me feel my opinion was just as important and valid as theirs.

The cupping room we were in was beautifully kitted out. Two large kettles with independant hobs sat beside a gleaming, recently re-built Probatino, which in turn sat beside a very fancy batch roaster. Something I hadn’t seen before was the little lids they put on the cupping glasses in order to capture some of the dry aromas before the brewing. The rotating cupping table and comfy stools all contributed to the impression that this company appreciates and strongly depend on maintaining quality by constant cupping. In essence, you knew you were not in a room that was only used for ceremonial purposes, but instead a core facility as important as their training lab or even their roasting room.

We then went over to their training room and spent the afternoon fiddling around with a new blend Doug was toying with. The virtues of espresso were in debate for nearly the whole afternoon as I moaned my usual moan about how I rarely enjoy the stuff. It was nice to hear Doug inform me his business partner and Intelligentsia Green Buyer Geoff Watts also doesn’t really favour and fails to understand everyone’s fascination with espresso. Something I really want to do though and hope I can find to do before I leave is put Black Cat and maybe Kid O too through its paces at different doses. Will it only be good if brewed through a triple basket or is that when they feel it sings the most? Will Black Cat work at 7 grams? Should a roaster consider the dose when blending or roasting?

I’m off now to check out Metropolis Roasters with the rest of the gang as well as Doug and Sarah from Intelly.

I will update this post with pics later today.(edit FEW DAYS LATER)

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One thought on “Chicago Day 2

  1. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. First Canada now Chicago, do you ever do any work. And how come its always the places I want to go to 🙂

    Seriously very jealous would love to check out their place, look forward to the photos you lucky man.

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