The Metropolis Coffee Company started out with a small cafe near Loyola's campus off Sheridan. It has since grown significantly, to the point where all of the roasting is done in a massive warehouse in Andersonville.
Inside their Andersonville roasting facility, owner Tony Dreyfuss gave ABC7 Chicago's Hungry Hound a rare, behind-the-scenes peek at what they do everyday.
First of all, coffee is a seed, not a bean, and it comes from equatorial countries like Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
"We're usually looking for specific categories, like acidity, body, aroma, aftertaste, general sweetness," Dreyfuss said. "It completely aerates your palate with the coffee. So every part of your palate is completely coated with every part of the coffee."
Dreyfuss looks for different things from different countries: oily, viscous body from Sumatra, or clean, candy-like lemons from Guatemala.
"And for this Virgacheffe, maybe one of the most coveted coffees in the world, I'm looking for just incredible floral aromatics, like marmalade, blood oranges, jasmine-y. Just really delicate," he said.
Once the beans are approved, they'll vacuum up 60 to 70 pounds at a time into the hopper of an enormous roaster, set to 460 degrees. Once they're added, it lowers to about 240. A roaster stands by, constantly checking the coffee for color changes while he listens to hear if they start cracking in the heat.
When he feels they're ready, the beans are dumped onto the cooling rack, and then sent over to packaging where they're bagged and shipped. Dreyfuss is, of course, a purist, but he says his mission is really simple.
"Personally, I don't put cream or sugar in my coffee. But the grand tradition in history of coffee is that people come together over it, and they enjoy the coffee. So whatever brings them to that point is great. But we're hoping to produce coffees that are so sweet and delicious that they don't need as much cream or sugar," he said.
Before you can operate a roaster, you must train for a full year. Metropolis coffee is available at a number of restaurants and cafes around the city, as well as their own cafe in Edgewater.
Metropolis Coffee Company
1039 W. Granville Ave.