Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chicago Coffee Festival 2007

Visited: 25/02/07

Chicago Coffee Fest

Up until the Chicago fest I’ve been drinking shitty starbucks coffee in Indiana. I have tried a lot of coffee at the festival among one of the best Intelligentsia, Metropolis, The Roastery and Zoka coffee.

I would have to say that Roasterie definitely stood out above the rest. They air roast their coffee which is something I’ve never tried before. They had a 3 group mistral. Their espresso was very complex in flavour. Very sweet with distinct chocolate notes, very light in acidity. The finish was very sweet and taste lingered for a long while.

I had some outstanding coffee from Intelligentsia but not from their stall at the festival, but from one of the city stores (Millennium Park). There was not much on the nose, some light chocolate notes, the espresso was a little earthy, I don’t really remember it that well as I had few different coffees before hand, but it certainly made an impression. At Intelligentsia I also tried something I have never tried before. They had this interesting brewing machine (Clover) from what they described the extraction was a cross of vacuum pot and a plunger, they served this unbelievable coffee from Bolivia. It was really mind bowing. The flavours were insane, my first impression was strong sweet lemon tea and then the flavours change into floral, berry like tea and it tastes soooo damn good! I really don’t know how to describe it any better than that it was really really interesting!!! This extraction method is ideal for breaking down fine features in single origin coffees, the machine is sophisticated with accurate brewing temperature controllers.

Metropolis left a nice impression also, I don’t have my tasting notes as I was coffeed out at that stage. They were pulling shots out of FAEMA E61 LEGEND well conditioned machine, spectacular to look at.

I will move on to the coffee machines, there was this Rancilio history museum stand with really old original hand crafter machines, which was amazing. I took lots of pictures so be sure to check them out. I got to play around with new WEGA machines, new POLARIS with a running screen display thingy and also got to see new VELA model. I got told that Andrea from Coffee Works Express has ordered a few, so they should be coming to Australia soon.

In conjunction with the festival there were also 2 competitions running: Millrock Latte Art Comp which Chris Baca from Ritual Coffee (San Francisco) won and the Great Lakes Regional Barista Comp with Matt Riddle won for the 2nd time in a row. I got to hang out with Matt a bit, he really is a top bloke.

My weekend at the coffee festival was unbelievable. It has inspired me to go to Long Beach, California for the SCAA Coffee Meet. I am really looking forward to that. I believe that I will be representing WEGA at their stall as their barista on hand.