What are single-origin coffees and why do they matter?
Single-origin coffee is sourced from a specific geographical area, such as a particular farm or small group of neighboring farms. Single-origin coffees are unique because the characteristics of the region, soil, altitude, etc., all influence the flavor of the beans giving each brew a distinctive taste that captures the essence of the farm. When coffee comes from a specific farm, the collaboration between Intelligentsia and the farmer is a much more profound and creates a transparent relationship. We are constantly learning from each other and have the ability to adjust specific areas in the coffee process in a continuous effort to create the perfect cup of coffee. Discover the unique flavors for yourself and check out our variety single-origin coffees from around the world.
What is your direct trade policy?
The Intelligentsia direct trade policy is founded on our belief that the human factor is critical in producing quality coffee, and that the growers who do the best work should get the best price and recognition to build a sustainable business. We partner with coffee farmers who meet our second-to-none quality standards, and who share best practices so we can learn from each other to build great coffee together. Take a look at our Direct Trade policy and learn more about why we are pioneers in the field.
What does ‘in-season’ coffee mean?
Intelligentsia’s offerings rotate with the seasons, so our lineup exhibits freshness and vibrancy that can only be found from freshly picked, expertly grown produce. We place In Season stickers on our coffee bags to let our customers know that the coffee inside is fresh from the current season’s harvest. Discover what’s in season and learn more about our In Season Program.
What does your production schedule look like?
To deliver the finest and freshest coffee, we roast, pack and ship orders on the same day. For orders West of the Rockies, we roast and ship from our Los Angeles Roasting Works. For orders East of the Rockies, we roast and ship from our Chicago Roasting Works. We do not roast during the weekend, so all orders placed after 3pm Thursday through Sunday will be roasted, packed and shipped on the following Monday.
What about your shipping schedule?
We use UPS as our shipping carrier for orders within the U.S. and USPS for international orders. For deliveries from Chicago, take a look at this map to estimate UPS ground shipping delivery times. Please note that UPS does not operate on Saturdays or Sundays, so all times shown represent business days. To expedite delivery, please select Two Day Air or Next Day Air during checkout.
How do I pick which Intelligentsia coffee is right for me?
We’re so glad you asked. Intelligentsia offers coffees that cater to a range of individual taste preferences. Take a look at our Coffee Explorer to learn about our various coffees and discover which coffee blend or single-origin coffee or espresso is right for you.
How do I brew the best cup of Intelligentsia coffee at home?
There are a number of different brewing processes, depending on the type of cup you are creating. Take a look at our various brew guides to help make your everyday cup of coffee extraordinary.
Do you offer any brewing classes or training?
Yes we do! We offer a structured training program through our roasting facilities in Chicago and Los Angeles, and through our training labs in New York and Atlanta. You will learn the same brewing techniques that our baristas practice with the same tools that we use in our stores to maximize your at-home brewing potential. Sign up for a class and learn more about our public training classes.
What equipment do you use?
Proper brewing equipment is one of the most important elements in creating a successful brew. On our continuous quest to create the perfect cup of coffee, we partner with industry leading coffee equipment manufacturers such as La Marzocco, Marco, Fetco, Schaerer, Wilbur Curtis and Mazzer. Learn more about our in store equipment or browse the at home equipment that we recommend.
What is the best way to store Intelligentsia coffee?
Ah, great question. One of the biggest coffee myths is the belief that coffee is best kept fresh in the fridge or freezer. Cold storage of coffee actually robs the natural moisture from the coffee, depriving the roast of its complex flavors. For optimal freshness of your coffee, we suggest storing Intelligentsia coffee at room temperature in an airtight container or in the original Intelligentsia coffee bags, which are designed with one-way degassing valves and zipper seals to lock in freshness.
Does a brew device affect our experience of a coffee?
Yes! There are probably endless ways to brew coffee, and each method will inevitably deliver a slightly different cup profile- either by highlighting or hiding one or more of a coffee’s flavor characteristics over the others. For example, one method might bring out the acidity of a coffee and deliver a clean, light body. Another may accentuate the body and mute the acidity. Knowing a coffee’s flavor nuances is important when deciding how it should be prepared. If it’s a delicate, sweet and sparkling coffee, you want that shine! Try it yourself and brew one coffee on two or three different devices and you can experience this first-hand. Have fun with it!
When and where was coffee first discovered?
Coffee was first discovered in western Ethiopia before 1000 AD. Ethiopians consumed the cherry’s fruit or made tea from the pulp for several hundred years before brewing a beverage from the roasted seeds.
What goes into the perfect grind?
To brew delicious cup of coffee, you need to choose the right grind size, and grind fresh. If you grind too fine, your brew can over extract and taste bitter. However, if you grind too coarse, the coffee won’t extract enough and will taste thin and possibly sour. Experiment with your grinder and chosen brew method to see what you like.
What is the best way to measure dose?
Use a scale to weigh your dose. If you can, use a scale to weigh your water, too. Measure water by weight is more reliable than measuring by volume, as the density of water changes when heated.
Is there a certain kind of water I should use when I make my tea?
Bottled water labeled “drinking water” is ideal for tea. This will have the appropriate concentration of dissolved solids and won’t contain any additives such as chlorine that can affect tea flavor.
Coffee Cherries: The fruit that holds the coffee bean. Unlike grapes, coffee cherries do not ripen at the same time on the same branch. To harvest ripe cherries, coffee harvesters must comb through the trees at least three different times during the harvest season.
Brew Variables: Every brew is affected by multiple variables that will determine how much of which compounds are extracted from the grounds into the final brew. These are, in no particular order: grind particle size turbulence, water temperature, dwell times (the length of time water is contact with coffee), dose (ration of coffee grinds to water), and bloom time. Each variable influences the others, as they all factor into the final brew.
Unsustainable: If the primary producers aren’t mutually profiting enough to keep investing in their farms or if the soils and ecosystems are not being maintained in a healthy way there is no clear future for the farm.
Direct Trade: Roaster and farmer collaborating in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way to create great tasting coffees which are fully traceable, highly differentiated, and definitively sustainable as mentioned by current social, economic, and environmental indicators.
The Gaiwan: The Giawan is a delicate porcelain device used to steep tea. The Giawan is one of the more efficient ways to brew China green, white, China black, and oolong teas and was created roughly 500 years ago in China.
Earl Grey: Although variations of Earl Grey exist, it is typically the combination of black tea and the essential oil of the bergamot fruit, a type of bitter orange from italy. Good quality Earl Grey will be made with bergamot oil while inferior Earl Grey will use inexpensive bergamot flavoring.