Sunday, March 24, 2013

Great Coffee, Cafe and Ideas in Chicago

Thu., Mar. 21, 2013
Had the opportunity yesterday to be in Chicago and check out a great coffee, a great cafe and a truly great example of community building with a coffee connection.

Great Coffee: during my stop at Metropolis' roastery on Clark St., I was treated to a delicious Bolivia Bo-Linda from the Caranavi region hand-poured by roaster Sean Capistrant. To make it even more enjoyable, owner/founder Tony Dreyfuss discussed the importance of setting a vision for your business. He and accountant John White are big fans of Zingerman's philosophy: Building A Great Business . Also mentioned a TED talk by Simon Sinek, "The Why of Business."

Great Cafe: thanks to an acquaintance I was meeting, I was introduced to a wonderful cafe in the Roscoe Village neighborhood -- Victorys Banner. Sorry to say I did not get the background story on how this place came into existance, but it was wonderful. It's got the classic 'corner cafe' feel, not only because you literally enter from a door on the corner of the building. As soon as you enter, feelings of peace and contentment begin as you see the waitresses swish about in their Indian saris and hear the soft, chanting of Indian music played from a hidden speaker. I was there around 8am so the place was also flooded with morning sunlight, seeming to make the pale blue walls shine. Refills of decaf coffee were great! I enjoyed a ramaquin of fresh fruit and homemade muffin. My friend had a bowl of gourmet oatmeal.

Community Building: My next stop Misericordia was inspiring! This beautiful campus of trim red brick buildings and white fences is home to 600+ residents -- all disabled adults. I was treated to a visit to the room where one of the many workshops is -- the coffee room! Here about 6 or 8 workers were packaging coffee for Crop to Cup.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Decaf Coffee Feature in Barista Magazine

Mar. 17, 2013
Barista Magazine did a great job in the current issue highlighting the sensible part of the industry -- decaf. A whole article by Andrea Piccolo (from Swiss Water Process) on a wide variety of things baristas and roasters need to know. She even stayed relatively neutral to the Swiss Water branding/marketing. Until she was talking about the other processes available -- her description of precision processes like methylene chloride had very little promising to say. This isn't the case, though.