- November 2018
- Written by : Doug Zell
It’s that time of year again, time to reflect on what has been and what we wish to be.
Reflecting on what has been, it seems almost unbelievable to me that we could be offering the 23rd edition of our annual Celebration Blend. Since our humble beginnings 23 years ago, we’ve expanded from one coffeebar to a half-dozen in Chicago, and have somehow managed to find other equally exciting places to call home. Today we also have coffeebars in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, and we have created training centers in Atlanta, San Francisco and Austin. In Austin, where we have located our training center above the finest motorcycle customization spot anywhere on earth, we are making preparations to open our newest coffeebar.
In the city of our birth, 23 is not an insignificant number. When we were just getting started at Intelligentsia, the Chicago Bulls was a dynasty in the midst of an extraordinary run of six NBA Championships. Whether you are a sports fan or not, you probably know who Michael Jordan is. You may even know that he wore number 23 as he led the Bulls to the aforementioned championships.. There was something special about the number 23. It was inspired and inspiring. Not only was number 23 arguably the most talented athlete on the court every time he took the floor, but he played both offense and defense, practiced harder than anyone else and outworked his opponents in every way possible. To put it lightly, Michael Jordan was always working on his game, honing it, making it better.
Like Michael, we’ve been working on our game, honing it, making it a little better with each passing year over the past 23 years. Our green coffee buyers, quality control team, roasters and award-winning baristas — all have been working on upping their game and continue to do so. The same goes for our producer partners in more than one dozen coffee-growing countries around the world. Over than 15 years ago, we created Intelligentsia Direct Trade together as a new model centered on quality that drives prosperity for everyone in the chain. I wish to offer all of them endless gratitude for their relentless efforts and for making Intelligentsia better every day. They are the basis of our strength and our longevity.
But so are you, our customers of 23 years, almost a quarter of a century. You have questioned what we are doing, pushed us and been loyal and willing participants in 23 years of evolution and constant reinvention. We cannot possibly thank you enough.
I suggest we all stop for a moment and celebrate our collective contributions to Intelligentsia’s past with the the best of the present, our 23rd edition of our Celebration Blend, which yet again represents the finest of the season. As we take a deep breath and savor a moment of wonder at the good things still standing, let us gather ourselves for the lasting effort ahead to ensure a bright future for everyone.