Los Delirios Labor Diaries

Los Delirios Labor Diaries

Our current Nicaragua Flor Azul lot comes from Milton Canales and the Los Monos section of his family’s Los Delirios farm. It was shade-grown and shade-dried at the family’s new dry mill, and represents the culmination of years of effort and investment to rehabilitate Los…

Our collective blind spot

Our collective blind spot

Intelligentsia’s Chicago Roasting Works is located in a light industry area a few miles west of the Loop, the center of the city’s financial and cultural districts.  Every morning on my way to work, I walk past manufacturing plants, dodging forklifts and rigs making deliveries…

Cafe X: This is not a joke

Cafe X: This is not a joke

Henry Hu is the Founder and CEO of Cafe X, the robotic café that opened to curious customers in San Francisco in January.  It has earned rave reviews from publications in the tech and finance sectors, and raised concern in coffee circles of a future without baristas. Today,…

Extraction Theory, and You!

Extraction Theory, and You!

“Extraction is a measure of the solubles yield. It is also expressed as a percentage, comparing the amount of coffee flavoring material in the beverage to the amount of coffee grounds used to prepare the beverage. Approximately 28% of the organic and inorganic matter matter…

Introducing the Buyer’s Notebook

Introducing the Buyer’s Notebook

Today we introduce a new podcast feature we are calling the Buyer’s Notebook — the stories behind our coffees in the words of the buyers who bought ’em. The first installment is a conversation with our Ethiopia coffee buyer Geoff Watts about Gesha Village, the extraordinary undertaking…

Serendipity and Revival in Ethiopia

Serendipity and Revival in Ethiopia

Years ago I heard someone draw a distinction between luck and serendipity. He said that luck is an accident. Dumb luck. Serendipity, on the other hand, is a particular kind of luck, and there is nothing dumb about it. Serendipity, he suggested, is the luck…

An Unnatural Purchase

An Unnatural Purchase

Nearly seven years ago, in early 2010, my colleague Geoff Watts wrote five lines that threw shade at natural-processed coffees and cast a long shadow over years of debate in specialty coffee over the proper role of naturals. In a blog post titled “The Next…

Conan O’Brien Visits Intelligentsia

Conan O’Brien Visits Intelligentsia

A couple of weeks ago, we got a surprising phone call from The Conan O’Brien Show. Seemingly, there’s a producer on the show named Jordan Schlansky who’s very into coffee, specifically Italian coffee, and not so much into American coffee. Conan took umbrage with this and…

Brewing Iced Tea on a Fetco

Brewing Iced Tea on a Fetco

As Spring attempts to establish a hold – we’re starting to seeing warmer weather in our home city of Chicago. Yes it snowed during the week, and yes you still need to wear a coat outside, but it still got us thinking about summer and…

Brewing Iced Coffee on a Fetco

Brewing Iced Coffee on a Fetco

Last summer we saw countless stories about iced coffee in the press. Most of these focused on the various ways of doing it at home, but regardless, the popularity of this drink is only on the up. We use the cold brewed method in our…

ECW 2014 – Ethiopia

ECW 2014 – Ethiopia

This week, we’re hosting our annual Direct Trade event Extraordinary Coffee Workshop. As many of you know, this is really special for us as it brings together all of our Direct Trade coffee producers to share coffee, ideas and forge friendships. Now in its sixth…

Intelligentsia’s New Cupping Form

Intelligentsia’s New Cupping Form

As many of you know, cupping is a key function of our daily work at Intelligentsia. We use it to decide which coffees to buy, dialing in roasts, quality assurance, blend constitution, and research and development. Until recently, we’ve used a form that was slightly…