Breaking via Ian Froeb for the Riverfront Times in St. Louis, there's a new specialty coffee roaster coming to the Delmar Loop: Blueprint Coffee, a roaster / retailer collaboration between Mike Marquard (Half & Half, pictured above winning the 2012 South Central Brewers Cup.) and a gang of Kaldi's Coffee longtimers, including roaster Andrew Timko, retail manager Kevin Reddy, and barista Nora Brady.
Riverfront Times has more:
Blueprint Coffee is planning to open at 6225 Delmar Boulevard, along the same block of the Delmar Loop where two other restaurants have already opened this year.
Marquard will oversee the wholesale operation. (“We'll start the wholesale slowly,” he adds. “Do it right.”) Timko will act as the green-coffee buyer and roaster. He will use a Gothot roaster, a cult German machine perhaps best known as the roaster of choice for Chicago's acclaimed Intelligentsia Coffee.
Marquard says construction on the space will begin next, with an eye toward a summer opening. Fans of Marquard's work at Half & Half need not worry. He says that owner Mike Randolph has been supportive of his plans and that he will continue on as coffee director “as long as they'll let me.”
The Delmar Loop is something of a centrally planned retail playground in University City, an adjacent suburb to St. Louis that helps form the wider metro area. This is a high profile location, as Delmar Loop's snazzy website makes clear, offering “six blocks of exhilarating retail, restaurants, live music, café culture, and even a Walk-Of-Fame.” This is an ambitious site and highly visible site in which to roast and retail specialty coffee. And speaking of ambitious, a reasonable guess might wager that Blueprint will be one to watch come next year's barista competition cycle: Mike Marquard and Nora Brady both have extensive competition experience, including two national finals appearances for Mr. Marquard and repeat 2012 and 2103 South Central finals appearances for Ms. Brady.
Read the whole feature here via Riverfront Times, and add this to the ongoing list of reasons why St. Louis is a super interesting coffee city to watch right now.