In a whirlwind of last-second communication and next-day flights, was able to make the late-edition guest list for La Marzocco’s “Under Manual Pressure” Strada EP event in Chicago. A Great Lakes country cousin to the recent EP events in Atlanta, DC and New York, last Friday’s Strada soiree saw more than 30 people gathered inside Counter Culture Coffee’s stunning brand new ground-floor space in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood, just off the Pink Line “L” stop at Ashland. Clean, sleek, spacious and modern, CCC Chicago is nothing short of a 2.0 in the growth of their training center aesthetic, an interior design wonder utterly at home amongst the architectural marvels of Chicago itself.

EP whiz kid Scott Guglielmino’s opening speech at this event was his briefest yet, leading directly into a hands-on demo session on the EP, followed up by a more in-depth presentation on the machine’s design and capabilities. Shots of Apollo 6.0 were featured, a new blend composed of 80% Ethiopian Adado and 20% Honduras Esther Chavez set for public release sometime in the next week. Several members of the CCC crew from Durham were on hand for the event, as well as curious coffee devotees from as far away as Madison, WI.

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You’ll be hearing more about the Strada EP in an upcoming Big Feature, but can we gush about that space a little more? Huge floor-to-ceiling square windows looking out onto an urban backstreet, custom poured floors, long counters for cupping and training, an Uber Boiler, plenty of toys and gear, and now a Strada EP living permanently in the space. Even better, there’s back office spaces, a separate gear fix room, full shower, and even a chill zone, complete with a comfy daybed, twinkling Christmas lights and Fela Kuti on vinyl.

Perhaps coolest of all, CCC Chicago also has a working worm garden, home to thousands of wriggly disgusting little buddies living happily on organic waste and helping to producing nutrient-rich compost of their own, which CCC donates back to local farms. You can read all about the gross vermiculture wormaculture here!

The night ended with cascara beer from Strange Pelican, a solid microbrewery located just down the block from C4. Make friends with CCC Chicago on Facebook, go check out the newest permanent home to a Strada EP, and say what’s up to the worms. Expect more coverage from our whirlwind 26 hour trip to Chicago in the coming days.


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