Our roving Build-Outs of Summer series continues cannot and will not stop. So far we've featured two brand new and very exciting brand expansions; a proper brew bar and lab set up for the folks at Beansmith Coffee in Omaha, Nebraska, and a big city third location in San Francisco for Coffee Bar. Today we've set our sights on an all-together fresh and very exciting new specialty coffee brand: Blueprint Coffee Roasters, in St. Louis, Missouri.
We first covered the plans for Blueprint (see what we did there?) back in March, calling it a “a roaster / retailer collaboration between Mike Marquard (Half & Half) and a gang of Kaldi’s Coffee longtimers, including roaster Andrew Timko, retail manager Kevin Reddy, and barista Nora Brady.” Blueprint's arrival was first announced by the excellent Riverfront Times, a responsible and exemplary alt-weeky newspaper that covers all things St. Louis. Today we're stoked to follow up on that coverage from March with an inside look at Blueprint's build-out, a guided tour of sorts courtesy of Blueprint's own Mike Marquard (a longtime specialty coffee competitor, trainer, and all around industry good guy).
Without a hint of hyperbole, we think Blueprint – with its dream team staff, years of collective experience, and mission statement dedication to cup quality – is one of the most exciting specialty coffee openings anywhere in the world in 2013. Here's an inside look.
The following interview is as told to Sprudge by Mike Marquard of Blueprint Coffee Roasters.
Can you tell us a bit about your new space?
Our first home for Blueprint Coffee is located on the Historic Delmar Loop. It got its name because the St. Louis trolley used to loop around at this point of Delmar Blvd. and head back toward downtown St. Louis. Now, this is a happening 8-block span of college hangouts, happening bars, and bodacious bike shops. We've all worked in or near this neighborhood before, and we love the customer base. Our coffeebar and roaster is in a mixed-development 100-year-old building. The interior was gutted after the last tenant left and we started with a white box. We'll utilize front and rear (to parking) entrances to capture a good blend of car and pedestrian traffic. On the interior, we're using a boatload of Illinois barnwood to cover the walls, some nice wormwood and pine for some of our tables and fixtures, as well as some random elements like teal computer tiles for tabletops.
What's your approach to serving coffee?
Our approach to serving coffee is to be “Good from the start.” We'll only feature 4 coffees at a time. All will be single origin (one of which will be decaffeinated). Each day we'll offer two on our brew bar and one as espresso. We'll also feature one brewed coffee on the brew bar from a guest roaster. We aim to execute each coffee excellently and not get too tied up in picking different brew methods for different coffees. We want to keep it consistent so our staff can stay focused on the customer and nailing every brew. We often talk about how we want every coffee to be our favorite….that there really isn't any reason why we should have to have a coffee in our lineup that is just “solid.” There's too many awesome coffees available these days.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Our 23-kilo Gothot roaster is a stunner. Andrew [Timko, coffee buyer and roaster at Blueprint] named it “Nelson.” It's 30's-40's vintage and was restored by Roasters Exchange. It really steals the show from every other element in the cafe. On the espresso bar, we have a 2 group Nuova Simonelli T3 and Mahlkoenig K30 Twin. Both are complete monsters when it comes to efficiency and stability. On the brew bar, we'll be using Hario v60's and a Fetco TOD water tower to get our filtered-brew on. We have future intentions to incorporate Modbar or a La Marzocco Strada EP into our brew bar lineup to feature some alternative espresso offerings (think extraction profile, not necessarily coffee selection).
What's your hopeful target opening month? And what's the address?
We'll open at the end of July or in August. You know….construction happens. Blueprint is happening at 6225 Delmar Blvd. in The Loop! (Saint Louis, MO 63130)