Coffee to me has gotten super confusing! Growing up Joe Dimaggio, “the Yankee Clipper” was “Mr. Coffee” and made brewing coffee look easy with the push of a button. You could easily imagine him using it every morning especially when he was married to Marilyn Monroe!
Today coffee runs the gamut from the morning pick me up to that “get through the day beverage” or even an after dinner drink. You can also get coffee ANYWHERE – diners, coffee shops on the corner (SO MANY to even name), donut shops, hamburger joints all seem to have their marketing angle on what’s the best coffee. The coffee snobs will tell you this roaster or that is the best. Some will even say to put butter in coffee!
Coffee has become confusing. I know it’s a dynamic beverage that comes from all over the world. Yet, I have no idea on the nuances of those locations or the different roasts involved!
Calgon take me away with my cup of Mr Coffee!
Amidst all of these thoughts swirling through my head, I reached out to the team at Sparrow Coffee. They seemed like a bit of an urban myth at the time. I’d see tweets or hear whispers but I had no clue where they were. They don’t offer a place for the public to come and drink their coffee. Yet, they wholesale to about 170 local restaurants. Perhaps they could help demystify my coffee conundrum.
Chris Chacko and his team – Jimmy, Kyle and Liz – sat me down for an afternoon with a lot of coffee and answered ALL of my questions! Chris is a restaurant guy who has loved coffee all his life and started his small business not so long ago and has found great success. He cares not only about the product when it comes to him and how he roasts it. He goes to the restaurants he serves and ensures they do the coffee he sells them the justice it deserves. He is on a mission for coffee.
The tasting we went through was life changing. I tasted blueberry, raspberry, crème brulee. The finish was short, long, bitter! We drank coffee black with a spoon then mixed with sugar and then real cream. The coffee transformed with each iteration. I see coffee very differently today.
Yet, the biggest moment of the afternoon came when we stopped taping. He handed me a simple double espresso that made me need to take a moment for myself. Espresso Marbella you are my new best friend. I may become Chris’ worst enemy for sneaking in to get this delicious brew. It is a moment, a flavor, a smell, an elixir I will not soon forget.
Our time on the podcast is raw and uncut. It’s two guys talking coffee and I hope you get to learn as much as I did. I can’t thank Chris and his team enough for taking the time to meet with me. If I ever needed a coffee vendor for my restaurant again, I'd call him and only him!
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter or instagram @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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