In what may be one of the oddest collaborations I’ve seen, Chicago-based indie band Wilco have teamed up with Chicago-based coffee roaster Intelligentsia to offer “A Wilco Selection.” The coffee—which is Intelligentsia’s Organic Ethiopia Sidama renamed—will be sold as part of a Wilco Coffee Lover’s bundle that will include 2lbs of coffee and 2 designer mugs. They will also offer a decaf version of the bundle if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
While I think this is an odd partnership, I’m excited about the exposure it will give Intelligentsia—who roast some of the best coffee you can buy—and their Direct Trade program that pay farmers even more than Fair Trade. You can pre-order now, and the coffee will be roasted and shipped beginning December 6.
Organic Ethiopia Sidama Homecho Waeno
The aromatics of coffee blossom and violet make way for an incredibly graceful and elegant cup. The body has a light and silky quality, like fresh whipped cream, that beautifully compliments the ever-present note of citron, juniper berry and vanilla. As it cools, the cup blossoms into notes of confectioner’s sugar, rosehips, and soft raisin, resonating on a pristine finish with a touch of milk chocolate.
Although this is Fair Trade month, I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate Direct Trade as well. Direct Trade has similar goals as Fair Trade, but with fewer middle men and without the expensive certification. Coffee roasters who employ the Direct Trade model also pay farmers at least 25% more than Fair Trade prices.
This week, Chicago based, Intelligentsia Coffee, launched a new site that features key elements of the Direct Trade buying model they created. The illustration above captures the journey from crop to cup while each stage is highlighted with more information when you visit the site and roll your cursor over the various segments.
Almost all coffee roasters claim that they “work with farmers” but few can back the promise. Intelligentsia travels to our coffee’s source each of the 12 months of the year. We visit farms, roll up our sleeves, and get to it. We take 24-hour redeye flights and 10-hour, high-altitude pick-up rides over serpentine roads. You pick up our coffee and we shake the hand of a farmer in Peru. Or Rwanda. Or Guatemala. And when you see the Intelligentsia Direct Trade logo on our bag, you know how much effort is invested in each bean. -Intelligentsia
On Intelligentsia’s main site you can even click through Geoff Watts passport (co-founder & green coffee buyer) to see all the places he’s visited to ensure the highest quality coffee and build great relationships with the farmers who supply it.
While we’re on the subject of Intelligentsia, a big Congratulations to Michael Phillips, who was crowned the 2010 World Barista Champion last month in London. Phillips lives in Chicago and works at Intelli as the Director of Education, where he oversees the training of all the other fantastic baristas in their ranks.
It’s because of this fine company, the coffee they roast and the baristas who make it, that I love coffee so much. Before I wandered into their Broadway cafe one cold winter day in Chicago, I thought the only good thing about coffee was the caffeine. But the shot pulled for me that afternoon opened my eyes to the amazing world of specialty coffee that I was completely unaware of until then. So thank you, and keep up the fantastic work!
I love Intelligentsia (call me a fanboy), but they really roast and brew damn good coffee. Also, their brand is a designer’s dream. I’ve recently been doing some research in the world of skateboard design, so when I saw this posted by @coffeeactivist, I got really excited. I googled around, but came up with no other information. If anyone knows where this came from and if they are available somewhere, please let me know!