Manual x Gaslight
As we enter week two of the Manual Coffeemaker Kickstarter, I wanted to highlight one of my partners: Gaslight Coffee Roasters in Chicago.
Gaslight represents a new guard of coffee shops that treats coffee like a serious culinary art: much more like how a great restaurant sources and prepares quality ingredients, and much less like a passionless commodity that's cheaply and quickly slapped into a cup.
Like many of these new "serious" coffee shops, Gaslight offers multiple varietals of single-origin coffee every day. Their espresso drinks are prepared on a classic non-automated La Marzocco machine, and drip coffee is offered by-the-cup. There is real food coming out of a mini kitchen, and the baristas have a passion for what they're making—and are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who asks.
But what I also love about Gaslight is that they pay attention to both the craft of coffee as well as the aesthetics. As you enter their understated corner storefront, the first thing you notice is the attention to detail in the striking interior. The meticulously selected furniture—from the picnic table to the theatre seats to the bar stools—give a wide array of seating choices. The aged patina of the zinc counters, the collections of vintage objects, the baroque wallpaper, and the stylized taxidermy all come together to make a statement beyond the average cafe without being overwhelming. Gaslight has a distinct aesthetic that comes from owner Tristan Coulter, who sourced and designed all of the interior details from the vintage camp gear to the enameled steel cups to the reclaimed wood floors he laid himself.
But the piece of decor that connects back to craft are the burlap sacks of coffee piled up in the back of the room. These aren't just for the aesthetic: the rear of the cafe houses a small-batch machine that roasts all of the coffee they serve and the bags are always rotating with the latest deliveries. Some cafes hide their roasters, disconnecting their customers from the production process. Other cafes place their roasters in their main space, where the sound can be disruptive to conversation. Gaslight took an interesting third approach: they closed their roasting room off from the cafe, but expose the process through a storefront window, which gives sidewalk passerbys a unique perspective, and fills the intersection with the telltale smell of roasting coffee. Gaslight shares the roaster with another top coffee shop in town, so the storefront is bustling with activity every day, exposing the behind-the-scenes activity to the locals.
Logan Square is an amazing neighborhood that has amassed a collection of my favorite restaurants, bars, and cafes—all of which seem to match their amazing food offerings with notable design. Gaslight is one of my favorite coffee shops in all of Chicago because they understand that delivering a quality product and an aesthetic point-of-view should come hand in hand. I couldn't be more thrilled to have them as a partner for the launch of Manual Coffeemaker—a product that strives to deliver on the same ideals of craft and experience.
In my next update I'll share a behind-the-scenes look at the coffee roasting process at Gaslight, and talk a bit about how coffee goes from a fruit grown across the world to the glorious black liquid in your mug.
Stay tuned, and thanks for your support!