Longtime Seattle roasting and retail company Caffè Umbria has opened a new roastery, training lab and café in Chicago.
On W. Armitage Ave. between Western and California in Logan Square, the facility will serve as the Umbria production headquarters for wholesale clients from Chicagoland to the East Coast. The roastery, which occupies a little less than a quarter of the 9,000-square-foot space, includes a bright red, 30-kilo STA Impianti roaster from Italy.
Since its founding by partners Emanuele Bizzarri, Pasquale Madeddu and Jesse Sweeney, Umbria has grown to include three Seattle cafés, plus two more in Portland, Oregon. In 2015, the company opened its first café in Chicago in River North. The company’s wholesale client list in the Chicago area includes hotels such as the Viceroy and the Four Seasons, as well as eateries such as Coco Pazzo, Caffè Baci, Caffè RoM, Piccolo Sogno, and Letizia’s Natural Bakery, among others.
“With several new wholesale partners in the Chicago area, we saw a need for a new state of the art training lab, roastery and second, larger café,” Bizzarri, a third-generation coffee roaster, said in an announcement of the Logan Square opening. “We craft excellent coffee, but for us, providing an authentic experience and consistently superior service is equally important.”
The facility itself is an early 1900s warehouse that used to house streetcars and has now been transformed with help from local firm Studio Modernista. To reach the 2,000-square-foot café, patrons pass through a converted shipping container to a marble bar where a La Marzocco Strada EE 3‐group machine accommodates espresso orders. The bar also offers a Modbar setup, batch brews, nitro cold brew on tap, fresh pastries and bags of freshly roasted coffee, while offering views throughout the roastery and training/education lab areas.
The drinks menu includes traditional Italian and Italian-American espresso offerings, including some more creative specialties such as a Caffé Marocchino (espresso, Italian chocolate sauce, steamed milk, cocoa powder), Espresso Shakerato (espresso shaken over ice, served neat in a sugar rimmed martini glass), Bicerin (double espresso, Italian chocolate sauce made from pure Pernigotti Cocoa, and cinnamon, topped with fresh cream) and a seasonal Cioccolata Calda (known as the “Italian hot chocolate” featuring fine Italian Pernigotti Cocoa blended with milk and sugar).
Caffe Umbria’s Chicago roastery and bar is now open at 2545 W. Armitage Ave.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome. See the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.