Drove to Chicago a couple weekends ago. Got lost in the confusion of construction detouring.. but made it none-the-less. The trip presented itself by way of business. I went to train some of the lovely folks at Jesus People U.S.A. on how to properly use their newly acquired espresso machine. J.P.U.S.A. is a wild place... full of characters and crazies. JPUSA is a Christian commune that was founded by some Jesus Hippies back in the day. The own two small towers, now commune residences, and the also run numerous businesses and ministries, including three or four homeless shelters. Everyone that lives at JPUSA lives expense free.. but they are expected to put in their work with one of the businesses or ministries to earn their room and board. It's quite a beautiful working... like a ginormous family running their 13 story household.. making sure that all are fed and taken care of.
Anyway... to the topic of the post. I'm taking advantage of the business trip by visiting the Chicago-locally-owned Coffee Studio. The Coffee Studio
serves fresh roasted Intelligentsia coffee... never more than a week old. They serve this coffee in the traditional drip brew method with a very nice looking Fetco brewer. They also serve the Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso using the very beautiful three-group Syneso.
I started my experience with a small mug of Intelli's Finca Matalapa El Salvador. The cup was very pleasing... carrying a caramel sweetness and a wonderful lime citrus acidity with a very clean finish... a more-than-amazing early morning coffee. However, this was not enough. I had to take advantage of the Syneso that I've heard only great things about. I ordered a cappuccino, which the Coffee Studio serves solely in 7 oz. cups with two shots of Black Cat... I was smiling upon hearing the good news. The barista dosed the Black Cat into her portafilter and leveled with some sort of disigner-looking leveling tool. Before fully leveling, the barista did a cross-hatch chopping motion across the top of the portafilter with the tool, then leveled off the rest of the coffee in compass directions. She locked the portafilter into the grouphead and let it flow. Next she poured the organic whole milk into a small pitcher and threw the cool-touch steam wand into the pitcher and began stretching. The sound of her stretching and rolling didn't seem exactly on-point, and I was even more surprised to see that she let the milk settle and then proceeded to pour some of the milk on the bottom of the pitcher into the sink... ah-hah.. a corner cut to make a simple cappuccino. She then freely poured out the milk into the cup with no attempt at art. I was slightly disappointed with the technical skills, but the cappuccino was delicious none-the-less. All together, I thought the shop was very impressively designed and put-together, the barista's were quite friendly, and you can't really go wrong with Intelligentsia coffee.
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