Home / News

Blog - News

TNK x Metric Coffee Co: 2019 Reissue

As they have it, Tomorrow Never Knows Fest is a celebration of “rising local indie artists as well as acclaimed national acts, including both musicians and comedians… a city-wide event, uniting six independent venues.” From its 2005 inception onward, TNK has been an annual, persistent celebration in the middle of the most brutal season giving Chicagoans reprieve through music and comedy. This 2019 iteration was no exception. With nearly sixty acts over five days, TNK again had a little something to warm everyone’s heart this January. For us specifically, this year was extra special because 2019 marked our third year pairing with Auditotree to fill their TNK mugs.

TNK focuses on community and independence, making it an exceptional collaboration for Metric. TNK’s Talent Buyer Patrick wrote about these common priorities: “Unlike most cities, the Chicago music scene remains very independent and I think it's extremely important to highlight that.” Not exclusive to Chicago’s music scene, our coffee culture shares this independence-- Metric independently owned since its establishment in 2013-- and throughout our second city’s resilient roots. Look no further than our shared persistence through harsh winters (as I type this it feels -15). Speaking to that persistence, Patrick affirms that the promoters involved with TNK work very hard to bring Chicago a special experience during a typically slow part of the year” because they understand our communal hustle can’t hibernate.

As previously mentioned this is our third year with the privilege of caffeinating TNK fest. I asked Jud, Audiotree’s Director of Business Development and Sponsorship, why Metric?; he kindly responded, “we’re just fans of what Metric does… the Metric family has been really good to us over the past few years...As a company, [Audiotree] wants to align [itself] with cool companies doing great work, and Metric has always been that.” Such generous sentiment made us all the more stoked to re-up our partnership in 2019. We crafted custom pouches of a personalized TNK Blend (notes: milk chocolate, cashew, raisin) for each of the sixty acts.

[Metric's Harris Nash, @harrisnash, w. our TNK Blend]

Also, at the Audiotree owned venues, we were excited to take our partnership further in the form of a cocktail with a kick. “It’s hard to serve coffee at a late night show,” Jud qualified. “We’d met with Jess Salgado [Metric’s Partnerships and Projects Manager] and Mark Mann [Metric’s Director of Operations]...Creating a cool cocktail was a high priority, but we weren’t sure which direction it should go. Thankfully, we have a super-talented cocktail genius by the name of Adam Jevne…He created the idea of doing a White Russian, but infusing Deep Eddy vodka with coffee beans.” Priority achieved (read as, drank).

Such creative projects with an emphasis on cultivating taste and design reinvigorate us over here at Metric. The desire to work with “cool companies” is mutually present and part of why we love this specific relationship with Audiotree’s TNK Fest. Their humans, such as Jud and Patrick, put into action ideas of fierce independence and community. With it a week in the rearview, we’re still excited by 2019’s smash and are already looking forward to what 2020 has in store for all our fellow, resilient Chicago humans and us.

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)

~~~~

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!

A Time for Humans: Metric & Chicago Community Raise over $1,000 for Kaleidoscope 4 Kids

With a lot of us wrapping up holiday travel and time with others, your Metric humans find ourselves reflecting on our recent Holiday Throwdown. On December 18, 2018 at Caffe Streets, as the cafe’s day concluded, we made our way into the shop repurposing it. We hung tinsel streamers. We polka-dotted the lighting fixtures with ornaments. Most importantly we crammed nearly a hundred people into Streets.

Metric and other coffee companies can’t operate without communicating with other humans. Coffee is an inherently social industry, with people at every level of the coffee chain: from producing partners at origin to the humans serving at their given restaurants or cafes. However, the social interactions often stop at coffee talk. Our Holiday Throwdown was an exercise in trying to buck this trend looking passed coffee or business delineations. Rather than seeing brands as restrictions, we looked for the event to pull resources from like-minded sponsors (such as Oatly) to build a gathering centered on the community and the humans at the core of our work.

Our Partnerships and Projects Manager, Jess Salgado, headed the event coordination as she collaborated with other humans on our team and our sponsors. Throughout the event’s development, she continued to reiterate an intention of making the Holiday Throwdown an inclusive celebration focused on “uplifting” and “supportive” themes. As a team, we looked to manifest this direction in a variety of ways. We fashioned our company GoPro to project a the pours so those outside the baristas and judges could see the work. We developed a raffle with prizes outside of having exclusively worth in coffee, such as a First Ascent climbing package, tattoo gift certificate to Time Being. We utilized banners loaned to us from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids’ to help decorate Caffe Streets.

This attention to planning went equal parts into intentional re-commitment of our relationship to, the aforementioned, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids. Having worked previously with Kaleidoscope, their cause of uplifting Chicago youths has lingered with us. (For those unfamiliar, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids provides programming for children to cope with trauma through artistic expression [see the images below]). We invited them to come and be part of the evening as well as the recipients of the evening's proceeds. Their executive director, Kathy Grzelak's presence and opening words were a pertinent extension of the humanistic themes at the heart of the event allowing us to fully actualize the party as a benefit for a beyond worthy cause.

With textual reminiscence aside, it only seems fit to conclude this year and this recap with some humanity. Please enjoy the following images of the humans that made this event so special for us:

~~~~

(Bess, Kathy, [from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids] and friends)

(Banner from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids made by the kids)

(Jonathan Parnell [our Volunteer Event Bartender])

(Katie Thomas & Mickey Kennedy)

(Ivan and Will)

(Harris Nash with Uprise's donated Jesse Neuhaus Bonsai board)

(John Petrenko)

(Paul Octavious, Mike Duesenberg [Holiday Throwdown poster co-designer], Ty Banks [Metric Barista, Educator, Throwdown winner]).

Images courtesy of Matthew Schwerin.

~~~~

Full Sponsor List (in alphabetical order): Able BrewingAsrai GardenCandid WinesFederal MotoFirst Ascent ChicagoHopewellKaleidoscopeLa MarzoccoLonesome RoseMahlkönigOatlyPastoral ArtisanRancilioRhine HallSolemn OathSpirit TeaTrade Coffee CoTomorrow Never Knows FestivalTopo ChicoUprise SkateshopVirtue Cider, & Wayward