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In the history of third-wave coffee in Chicago, Metric Coffee is one of the new kids on the block, relatively speaking.
Metric Coffee was founded in 2012, by former Intelligentsia roaster and Quality Control specialist, Xavier Alexander, and Caffe Streets owner, Darko Arandjelovic. The pair came up with the idea over tacos and beer at Big Star in Wicker Park.
Metric Coffee originally opened in the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), a small business incubator for manufacturing companies, next to a T-shirt screenprinter.
The duo found a 1960s Probat UG15 Antique German roaster - popular for high-end speciality coffee roasting - at a farm yard in Germany. They spent a year customizing and restoring the roaster.
These days, Metric Coffee has moved into their own space in the same neighborhood, and opened an adjoining cafe - the first cafe in the midst of Chicago’s “coffee row.”
Metric offers workshops, roasting tours, and free public cuppings.
To complement the rest of the journey through third-wave coffee in Chicago, we recommend their “Home Brewing 101” workshop, offered every Saturday from 12:30 to 2 PM ($40 / person).
This class gives visitors a better understanding how each element in the brewing process affects the final coffee outcome - water, brew ratio, grind size, time, and temperature. Students also learn the basic differences in common brewing methods.
Participants get to sample a variety of brews during the class to learn to recognize when beans are over- and under-extracted.
Everyone receives an 8 oz. bag of coffee to use at home with their newly-honed barista skills.
The Home Brewing class is limited to 6 people and is known to sell out, so we recommend booking 3-4 weeks in advance!
If you need a place to relax, stop by Caffe Streets at 1750 W Division in Wicker Park for some more Metric Coffee and to check out the space's exciting architecture and art.