You are beautiful. This message, a campaign of sorts from Chicago artist Matthew Hoffman, is front and center at the new Bow Truss Coffee Roasters cafe, slated to open in a few short weeks in the Pilsen neighborhood. We think Bow Truss’ new space is beautiful, too.
Bow Truss will celebrate its two-year anniversary at the new space (their third!) on August 1st, and we spoke to Director of Barista Education Greg Loring-Albright between moving boxes and putting up party decorations.
As told to Sprudge by Greg Loring-Albright.
Can you tell us about the new space?
It’s so cozy–huge, glass front window, stamped tin ceiling, and a nice storefront feel. It really fits in the neighborhood. We’ve brought our coin-op multicade game table, which features arcade classics like Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man, down from the Lakeview store, and we’ve built a retail coffee shelf out of a chopped-up canoe, as we’ve done in our other stores. The space is long and thin, so we put in bar seating along the wall, and just a few tables.
Pilsen is relatively new territory for Chicago’s specialty roasters. There are some veteran neighborhood shops that feature local roasters in their lineups (props, Nitecap & Jumping Bean!) but we are excited to bring a Bow Truss shop into a neighborhood where no other Chicago roasting company has invested itself in that way.
What will the coffee setup be like?
We’ve got our standard setup of Fetco drip coffee, manual brewing via Chemex and Hario V60, and espresso via Rancilio XCelsius, ground on a Mahlkönig K-30 Vario for our signature espresso blend and a K-30 Twin for single origin and decaf espressos. The staff at each location has a lot of say over which coffees get brewed on which method, so expect a regular rotation of coffees around all the devices.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’ll be rolling out two awesome new coffees right before opening. The first, a Costa Rica honey process, is a relationship coffee, facilitated by Green Coffee Vault, a small, Costa-Rica-focused importer whose founder is friends with our master roaster. The Monge Quirós family, who grew this coffee, prepared a special honey process lot just for Bow Truss, and it turned out awesome! The second coffee is Bow Truss’s first-ever Kenya, imported by Bodhi Leaf. We’ll be featuring these coffees at all of our stores, but it’s great to have such exciting additions to our lineup right as we open the new store. Additionally, we are hoping to phase in manual brewing via Kalita Wave. Look for it behind the bar at the Pilsen store first!
What’s your hopeful target opening month?
We will be celebrating the company’s two year anniversary (a little late) on Friday August 1 at this store. Assuming all goes well, we’ll open in the first half of August! Our party will feature a bunch of beer and a variety of seasonal pies from our friend and collaborator Stephanie Lock of Rustic Tart.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We’ll be using the walls as a rotating art gallery–Pilsen is renowned for its art scene (we’re three blocks from the National Museum of Mexican Art) so we expect a lot of local talent. We’re opening with art from Gabriel Garcia.
More permanently, the space will feature a piece by Matthew Hoffman, perhaps most well known for his You Are Beautiful stickers. This text-based piece sits on a large wooden panel with the menu, and it’s a continuation of the “You Are Beautiful” project.
Our speaker system is a custom piece by Floyd Davis of Artpentry, who works right in the neighborhood–the speaker systems at all of our stores are Floyd’s work, and each one is unique. This one is a bank of reddish-brown suitcases with speakers inside, hanging from the ceiling. We swap coffee for vinyl with the folks at Reckless Records, just up the block from our Lakeview store, so expect to hear some of the records from that collection in rotation down here.