A pair of Ohioan transplants has given the Printer’s Row neighborhood of Chicago its very own namesake roastery.
Production now on the company’s own three-pound-capacity Phoenix ORO roaster purchased from Buckeye Coffee taking up about a quarter of the intimate 740-square-foot cafe — which is actually in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, not the small section of the downtown Loop that once was home to the city’s printing and publishing industries.
Co-owners Nicole and Nick Novotny, formerly a pharmacist and a designer, respectively, opened the doors to Printer’s Row Coffee Co. late last year after roughly two years of roasting on a machine shared with another Chicago company and selling beans online.
Nicole Novotny told Daily Coffee News that among the “chic minimalist aesthetic” of the shop, her favorite element is the rail seating around the roaster. Said Novotny, “We love that people can see the roasting process and ask questions.”
For the all-single-origin selections offered by PRCC, that roasting process is geared towards carefully revealing the most origin-specific flavor notes inherent to any given bean, all of which are sourced presently through Walker Coffee Trading, with hopes for farmer-direct sourcing in the future.
“Many people are surprised to see a green coffee bean, and have no idea what goes into their coffee cup,” Nick Novotny said. “By teaching people that process, people will only further appreciate the craft.”
Nick added that the small capacity of the Phoenix machine is advantageous for both continually dialing into a coffee’s nuance and complexity batch after batch, while also ensuring perpetual freshness.
“We shoot for our coffees to be brewed in a three-to-10-day range post roast,” he said of the coffee’s final stage, at which beans are broken by Mazzer Jolly and Super Jolly for extractions on a three-group Rancilio Classe 7 espresso machine, or by Baratza grinders for Hario V60 pourovers.
As this is the young coffee company’s first retail shop, the intent for the year ahead is to take time settling in and streamlining procedures before considering any additional cafes while making a more concerted push into roasting for the wholesale market.
Printers Row Coffee Co. is now open at 2482 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago.