Home from Chicago

To carry on from the last post, Sarah picked us up at our hotel, (the charming Palmer House Hilton), and we shot up Lake Shore Drive, heading north to Metropolis Coffee Company, winners of Roast Magazine Micro Roaster of the Year.

Now , don’t be angry, but for some reason, once I walked in, I was overcome with a feeling of not wanting to stand out. I didn’t want to be that ‘coffee guy’, desperately trying not to show he’s counting the shots in his head or annoyingly taking photos of the drink once its handed to him, so yes, what I’m leading up to here, is that I took feck all photos of Metropolis, bar these 2, which yes I know, really aren’t great.

I’m truly sorry, but if you must know I had a lovely chat with AJ, Sarah and Doug (who met us there) about the virtues of a strong retail offer in cafes as well as the financial challenges facing any cafe, which I must say was fierce interesting.

Em,..I didn’t really give the place enough consideration which I sort of regret now. I had a decent espresso that was particularly to my taste, flavour wise put tasted like it was pulled well off thei new 3 group Mirage. There was a very strong community vibe despite the large laptop presence. I bought a bag of their Kenya (unfortunately, all the packet said was Kenya), but the polite assistant informed it was the coffee that won them the Roast Magazine awar mentioned previous. I tasted that coffee yesterday with Irish Barista Guild Chairman Deaton Pigot, however to make our rainy Sunday that bit more interesting, we brewed it through a melitta, a french press, an aero press and the brand new eva solo I was very kindly given by Mr.Zell. I’ll write a seperate post about that. Moving on….

We then headed down to the Intelligentsia Broadway store, which on first impressions had a much more bohemian feel than their newest store. It was a lot bigger and for the most part I think they used the space well, putting a large retail counter down the back. I had two very decent espresso’s here which were pulled really very well as I think the pics below, to a certain extent show.

The rest of the day was spent strolling around Chicago and finally bidding sad farewell to AJ and Lyndsey as they flew home to Vancouver.

The next morning, Jen and I taxied out to the Intelligentsia Roasterie again to hang out some more. We started off in the training lab where Doug, Matt Riddle and one of their roasters, Steve, were doing the daily testing of Black Cat. Steve and Matt were both very cool and the slightly tweaked Black Cat they gave me probably stands out as the best shot I had on the visit, if it was still a little too high a dose for my delicate palette.

Jenny then sat down for her first cupping ever. On the table were too different lots of the same Brazil, but with 25 cups of each. EJ Dawson, (who I really should have mentioned earlier, as he really knows an awful lot about roasting and origin, )had Sarah, Jen, Doug and I all go through the coffees looking for any duds or phenolics. I loved that my girlfriend’s first cupping wassn’t in my kitchen , but instead it was in the Intelligentsia Cupping Lab looking for phenolics.

We then headed off for a tea tasting with Doug Palas. I’ve never claimed to know anything about tea and I’m sorry to admit, drink an awful lot of the cheap black stuff likeso many other Irish folk. No excuse I know, but it was very educating to see the differences the teas on the table had, and I was suprised just how interested I was and I’m worried now that I possibly fired too many questions at Doug P.

(I will update this post when I wake up in the morning) its 2.15 am and the thud needs its beauty sleep.)

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