Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago

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This past weekend was the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago. I went to see Metropolis Coffee Company’s space and get a glimpse into one of the best roasters in Chicago.

Also, is it cheating for a travel blogger to blog about things in his hometown? I think it is. There’s so much more to Chicago than the Sears Tower (never Willis) and Da Bears, and I want to do my part to show people unique things to do and see in the city.

So here we go: Sweet Home, Chicago.

Open House Chicago

Every year, the Chicago Architecture Foundation hosts Open House Chicago. This year, 200 buildings, both iconic and lesser known buildings, participated. For free, visitors could see the inside of The Federal Reserve, The Chicago Board of Trade, the Carbide and Carbon Building and more. There were so many things that Sarah and I wanted to see, but sadly we didn’t have enough time. For example, this year featured a tour of the CTA Command Center in the West Loop. I wanted to go see the control hub for all trains and buses that ferry 1.6 million people around every day, but the RVSP-list was full.

With a bevy of places to choose from (and only part of an afternoon free) we headed off to our first stop: Metropolis Coffee Company in Avondale.

Metropolis Coffee Company

Metropolis Coffee Company sign

It had been raining heavily all morning, and the radar on my phone showed no signs that it would be letting up. I took the picture above from inside the car; the small sign was the only marker we saw to give us the hint that Metropolis Coffee Company was nearby.

Entering the front door brought us into the office space. It was nothing special, particularly for someone who sits in an office eerily similar to this one all day, but the artwork on the walls was unique.

Metropolis Coffee Company poster

Down a long corridor was a door, behind it the warehouse.

The Warehouse

Warehouse at Metropolis Coffee Company

Metropolis Coffee Company isn’t very big. At least this warehouse wasn’t, though they do have two locations and apparently export coffee across the United States, Quebec, and South Korea. On one end of the warehouse was a bunch of storage. The other end was where the magic happened, where dried coffee beans became the giver of life for millions of office drones and blue-collar workers alike.

Warehouse Floor at Metropolis Coffee Company

There were only a few roasting machines. I’ve never been to another coffee roaster, so I don’t know if these are small or average size.

Coffee Roasting Machine at Metropolis Coffee Company

Coffee Roasting Machine at Metropolis Coffee Company

Sitting in plastic bins next to us were the stars of this whole show: the uncooked beans themselves. I kept making the joke to Sarah that if I were filming, I’d be “rolling that beautiful bean footage”. I watched a lot of TV as a kid.

Unroasted Coffee Beans at Metropolis Coffee Company

After roasting, they get bagged in these:

Coffee Bags at Metropolis Coffee Company

Stacked like so:

Bags of Coffee at Metropolis Coffee Company

(Child for scale)

Kid and Bags of Coffee at Metropolis Coffee Company

And that’s it. They’re ready to go. To be honest, there wasn’t much to this stop as it’s a pretty straightforward and small-scale operation. In this picture, you can basically see the whole warehouse:

Warehouse at Metropolis Coffee Company

There just wasn’t much to see. So we left and made our way to our next stop: the Buddhist Temple of Chicago.

Also, the playoffs are going on, so go Cubs.

Cubs bag

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