January 23, 2017 Posted by

Compassion through the Cafe: A Conversation with Everybody's Coffee


“We’re very grateful to be in Uptown, to be a part of people’s lives in Chicago and connect in that way.”

Rich Troche, Part-Owner/Director of Operations at Everybody’s Coffee

 Everybody’s Coffee does a lot of things extremely well. This shop serves amazing coffee from all around the nation (you can guess what coffee is being featured this month). The floor plan is open, with enough room to walk around as well as broad tables to spread out, throw the earbuds in, and work. There is plenty of art and people to view. The staff is beyond nice and the atmosphere is warm-hued and pleasant. To unite all of these qualities seamlessly is a challenge on its own. To do it all while maintaining truly focused on what matters can be even more difficult—often enough, there is no further notion of “what matters” beyond getting people in and then rapidly out the door. At Everybody’s Coffee, it all spirals out from the core. A core of community and compassion. From where I’m sitting, that’s what makes Everybody’s Coffee special. This week’s coffee conversation was with Rich Troche, Part-Owner/Director of Operations at Everybody’s Coffee.

Starting off as a seed of an idea in a nearby skate shop/espresso bar, Everybody’s Coffee grew to become a successful offshoot on Wilson Avenue, in the Chicago neighborhood of Uptown.

“We love Uptown. It’s in our branding. We put ‘Uptown, Chicago.’ Not just Chicago. Because it’s kind of gritty, and I think we like that. It played into our name too. We wanted a shop that was a specialty coffee shop but still open to everybody,” says Rich.

Everybody’s Coffee is located just off the Red Line. It is near a hospital, and a stone’s throw from the lake. The neighborhood itself is a microcosm of Chicago. Satisfying the needs of everybody in this context is no small task, yet the ethos of this café effortlessly caters to all because they do it on a human level. While many specialty coffee shops are eager to tell you what “good coffee” is, Everybody’s embraces all styles and all perspectives. From dark roasts to hand brews, this café aims to connect everybody with their ideal coffee.

“We wanted people to have their own journey, and still create a space for some great education for some great understanding of why a fair trade or a direct trade coffee matters--really more connecting to the community about coffee.”

Serving as the crossroads between the general population of coffee lovers and the specialty coffee community is fully embraced by Everybody’s Coffee. Going a step beyond embracing both worlds is being an active participant in each world.

A deep commitment to the Uptown community is central to Everybody’s mission. To give back to this particular community, Everybody’s Coffee has decided to forward the proceeds from all hand brews for the first six months of 2017 to Cornerstone Community Outreach. This center is the second largest shelter in Chicago, serving low-income, homeless and other marginalized populations. It’s a beautiful thing, to connect people seeking specialty coffee (a luxury by anyone’s definition) to a greater cause in forwarding the less-advantaged.

On the other end, Everybody’s Coffee is immersed in the specialty coffee world and is playing host to one of the most cutting edge coffee-tech companies in the world, Slayer. On February 2-3, the Seattle-based company will be at Everybody’s venue space to showcase the latest espresso machine, the Slayer Steam. A barista throwdown featuring this beautiful machine and the latest espresso bar technology comes with a $1,000 first prize, and is completely open to the public. Check out the following link for more info:

There is much to be said about a place like Everybody’s Coffee—too much to possibly fit in this blog space. What can fit is a simple imperative: Go to 935 W. Wilson Avenue. Go to Everybody’s Coffee. Be a part of this community. A good cup of coffee is easy enough to accomplish. But creating a space where everybody is welcomed, where everybody is greeted with warmth, where everybody is encouraged to stick around for a bit, and where everybody is included as a member of a community, is not something that is easy to accomplish. Yet it is simply that way at Everybody’s Coffee.