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A Full Bouquet: Lonesome Rose Pop-Up

How we partner with others is a common theme at, here, Metric Coffee. As an eclectic group of individuals, you can usually find us discussing our various interests. A through-line, connecting our idiosyncratic tastes, is the humans who unabashedly express themselves through their craft. Collectively we admire the confidence that comes through others’ work, and we work to apply it to our own, whether it be at origin, at HQ, or beyond.

[Image courtesy of @lonesomeroseforeve]

Lonesome Rose (one of the beyond) is a partner of ours we’ve been crushing on for a while now. From confident design to flavor, we're proud to be associated with Lonesome Rose's specific service of "approachability and openness." Since opening last year, we’ve proudly provided LR with their custom “Lover’s Blend,” and now, furthering our rapport and admiration, they’ll be slinging a curated menu of their tacos at our cafe this Saturday (from 8 am to 3 pm).

Along with these delicious tacos, our wild bunch of #metricwestfulton baristas curated three signature-drinks exclusively available for the pop-up! I sat down with Dom (@domrod7) and Ty (@honeyprocessed.destruction), two of the humans who helped craft the drink menu and after sharing some smiles about the excitement for Saturday, they laid out the details. “I was envisioning the perfect fusion of Tex-Mex heat and spices with coffee,” Ty explained: the coffee needed to provide a complimentary backbone to fuse properly. Dom simply recalled an image he had in mind while experimenting: a cowboy out in the plains just stewing and drinking coffee. This imagery and intentionality helped corral delicious ends:

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A Prickly Pear Tonic

A sparkling balance of Proyecto Cabanas espresso, prickly pear concentrate, citric acid, and a little sweetener all for a concoction Ty likened to your morning “juice.”

A Hot Horchata (with an optional shot of Quantum Espresso)

Dom insisted that LR’s signature horchata be featured on the bar, articulating, “chai goes perfect with breakfast and tacos with horchata,” so think of it as your morning, Tex-Mex chai.

A Draft Horchata Aguilar

A delicate but nutty cold-brewed coffee harmonizing with the spice of the horchata over its rice milk’s round sweetness.

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We’re thrilled to be sharing our space with such inspiring humans! “Saturday morning, I want [West Fulton] to feel like it feels at Lonesome Rose on a Saturday night,” Dom eloquently summarized all of our sentiment. Come by #metricwestfulton between 8 am to 3 am for community, creativity, and a carefully-thought menu— just like Lonesome on a Saturday night.

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)

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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!