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Crossing the Damen Divide: Goose Island x Metic Coffee

This Saturday (3.23.19), we’re excited to tap into our latest coffee-beer collaboration: Damen Divide! This Dunkelweizen coffee-beer is especially exciting because it marks our first time teaming up with friends and neighbors, Goose Island, not only to produce a coffee-beer but also to learn from their extensive expertise and resources.

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Our relationship with Goose began mostly across the counter. Located just down Fulton and across the titular Damen Ave, members of Goose’s team frequent our #metricwestfulton cafe; we, their taproom. After some pleasantry and product trading, their team invited us down to kick the tires on something more than just a pint. Paul Cade, one of the brewers who led the project, commented, “the value in collaborating is working and learning from a group of people with a different set of skills.” Paul gets at what attracted us to developing Damen Divide. Having crafted delicious coffee-beers in the past, this was our first time working at this scale and bringing our coffee to a new style they wanted to explore. Dunkelweizens are a less well know wheat beer with rich-coloring, dark malts: a beer that was frankly foreign to most of our team. With Goose's help, we learned from their set of skills what we needed to find the perfect coffee pairing.

[Goose Island's Paul Darnaby Cupping in our Lab]

Due to its darker Vienna or Munich malts, Dunkelweizen profiles traditionally consist of toffee, banana, and clove notes. Our coffee palates immediately drifted to Central America in search of a traditional but nuanced flavor to compliment this style's robust body. After a group cupping, all parties landed on a coffee from one of our relationship producers in Honduras, Denis Enamorado. Working with Denis going on four years, we already knew his 2018 lot was special; it burst with pear, mango, and molasses notes that also just so happened to pack the perfect sweet characteristics we sought for this beer. Rather than competing with the “malt base… and the hint of banana from the yeast,” as Paul put it, Denis provided a soft pop to the Dunkel's depth. From there, the Goose flock took to point but generously kept us involved, even allowing us even to help brew the mash (the base) of Damen Divide and experimenting with different recipes of how exactly to introduce the coffee into the brew.

[Metric's Connor, @kondorfalcon, (me!) Stirring Malt at Goose]

[Metric's Jess, @jess_salgado, Assessing Damen Divide Variations on Goose's Tap Deck]

Now several months later and with a lot of consideration, work, and relationship churned into this beer, we’re ecstatic to share Damen Divide with you. Helping commemorate the launch, we'll have retail bags of a custom Damen Divide blend available as well as the opportunity to add a Hellion cold brew sidecar to your 16oz pour of Damen Divide (while supplies last). And if that's not enough, Goose and ManBQue’s own, Jesse Valenciana will be barbecuing German-style brats with a Honduran twist. So this Saturday at 5 pm, join us at our neighbors to share some good times and flavors!

Subscription Spotlight No. 2: Nelson Chaves

In November, we launched our first subscription spotlight highlighting a pair of experimental lots from our friend, Alma Pineda. Today we’re excited to share the newest entry in our ongoing series of previews for Single Origin and Roaster’s Choice Subscribers, Colombia Nelson Chaves.

(Coffee Producer and fellow Bears fan, Nelson Chaves)

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Nelson Chaves is a producer we’ve developed a rapport with over several years of collaboration. Speaking with our co-owner and green buyer, Xavier described Nelson as a “quiet and humble spirit,” who at least initially was cautious of an anonymous, American roaster (like Xaiver). Now, four years later and with the precedent set, X ruminates about the gained trust and comfort the two shared on his most recent visit to Colombia. “Revisiting Nelson and shaking his hand [most recently], I felt more firmness in his embrace, one that reminds me of any time I circle back with a friend from long ago; a connection I quite cherish with the relationships made across my years of travel.”

(View from Nelson's La Esperanza)

This most recent trip came with more than just mutual “confidence and excitement.” Xavier noted the development of Nelson’s craft since that first, skeptical meeting. “A few minor, but important changes were made since we last saw each other. One of these is a new de-pulper [for processing] which was an investment made in part by Metric and Azahar and the addition of building a parabolic dryer with African-Style raised beds.” These advancements in Nelson’s process bring a whole new nuance to his coffee. This year, his lot of Caturra and Castillo varietals pop mirroring almost Kenya-like juiciness and radiating lush notes of raspberry tea, rosehips, and orange zest.

Beyond amazing coffee, this most recent origin trip also offered an opportunity for us to connect with Bernardo, Nelson’s father. Until this year, “[Bernado] was like the Wizard of Oz- I knew he existed but never saw him or knew anything about him other than this name.” The mythic Bernardo operates a coffee estate, Palo Seco, adjacent to Nelson’s. Like his son, Bernardo produces some fantastic coffees; however, Bernardo’s are often seldom available. Without going too far into spoilers, we’ll simply tease, that while you’re sipping your Nelson Chaves, you should start to get hyped for even more radiant coffees coming soon from these hillsides and their shared, family craft.

(Nelson and Bernardo, son and father)

Today, we’re excited to start sharing Nelson’s newest crop with you! It encompasses so much of what we love about working in coffee. It’s a product of our humans mending relationships with other passionate humans to yield beautiful coffee through an evolving, collaborative process and trust that’s imperative to healthy direct trading. Now, if you’re enticed to grab Nelson Chaves as soon as possible, stop by our #metricwestfulton cafe, where it’s currently featured on drip AND single origin espresso.

Not in the neighborhood? Check out our Single Origin & Roaster’s Choice Subscriptions to see if there’s an option for you! If you’re taking the patient route, expect to see the fruits of Nelson's work available next week!

Connecting Through the Cafe: A Conversation with Cup & Spoon

In a battle between cup and spoon, which one wins?

“The ampersand.”

Rosie Quasarano, Owner of Cup & Spoon

 The power of the ampersand is that it implies a stronger connection than the simple word “and.” The coffee industry can often be seen as an elitist’s field, a world inaccessible or unwelcoming to humble coffee-lovers. But shops like Cup & Spoon work effortlessly to open those doors to every human. It’s an inclusive space—a space that encourages a deeper connection, a closer collaboration. And that’s what makes Cup & Spoon special. When you visit, you feel indescribably closer. The team there is small, and warm, and passionate about what they do.

This week, Metric Coffee had the pleasure of having the folks from Cup & Spoon come by for a cupping and to discuss their café. Cup & Spoon is a cozy, local café going on its third year in Humboldt Park. The space is open, comfortable, and proudly features artwork from local artists. The year is starting off strong with innovation and growth on the horizon all while staying close to the heart of their mission: Coffee. Community. Art.

“In the three years, one thing that has been really cool to see is that our mission statement has been our focus throughout the entire time…we haven’t strayed from that," said Mary Quasarano, Café Manager.

 

The café features a wide yet curated selection of beverages ranging from specialty lattes, to single-origin pour overs. Alicia “Flavor Queen” Bigford is crafting new beverages that will rotate as well. Flavor-bombs like the signature “Flaming January,” is a tonic comprised of turmeric, ginger, honey, mint, lemon, apple cider vinegar, with cayenne sprinkled on top, and a lavender syrup is also in the works. One of the goals of the new year is to create a seasonal menu, swapping out drinks and food items every few months.

 
“This upcoming year is really exciting just to experiment a lot. New drinks, offerings, new guest roasters, but also the relationship with Metric, too. Already, coming here several times for cuppings and education with Ben has been huge. We’re very excited about that. We just feel very welcome here," said Rosie Quasarano, Owner of Cup & Spoon.

 

Upon walking into Cup & Spoon, one thing immediately noticeable is the friendly atmosphere. Apart from offering quality coffee for people on the go, they also aim to foster a deeper interest in coffee.

“If someone doesn’t know what something is, we want them to feel comfortable asking. It’s a nice entry point to getting that knowledge. That’s the community part of the mission. Beyond just the neighborhood community, but the coffee community as well," continued Rosie.


It’s not all that common to find a café that successfully emphasizes human connection through quality coffee and service. We at Metric have been proud to be featured as a guest roaster at Cup & Spoon, and we are now even more excited to be their mainstay roaster, providing a custom house blend. Cup & Spoon is located at 2415 W. North Ave. Whether your working in the neighborhood, or are café-hopping over the weekend, it’s the kind of place you’ll have no problem returning to again & again & again.