news and events
new gaslightwich January 03 2013, 0 Comments
Brie, arugula, pear, horseradish mayo on fresh baguette. Served with house-pickled veggies.
Made to order, served here or to go. $6
END OF THE WORLD CLEARANCE SALE. December 18 2012, 0 Comments
Graze Magazine Holiday Bizzare December 03 2012, 0 Comments
Graze Magazine, a "food-oriented lit mag dedicated to the food on your mind and the thoughts on your plate" is having their holiday event on December 15th at our shop! These guys are new, and super friendly. Should be a great night replete with holiday food horor stories. We're proving coffee service and some yummy cheese and meat treats by our friends at Marion Street Cheese Market and Smoking Goose. Paper Moon Pastry is bringing by some goodies, too! Oh, best part - it's free!
You bring the booze, we'll bring the eggnog.
House of Cards July 14 2012, 5 Comments
100 years later, we are almost there. Each day, Gaslight is beginning to look and feel more and more like the cafe we dreamt of. Through this process, the lines between motivated and overly ambitious have been crossed, blurred, and then erased. The terms "labor of love" and "labor of hate" have become one and the same. We set out to build a cafe. We ended up creating a place in which we feel embedded in every nail, tile, brick, and surface. Now, that we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we're able to look back at the entire process and begin to understand how the hell we did this. I speak for Tristan and myself in saying, Gaslight has been built out of idealistic expectations and stubbornness, but with the understanding that every mistake paves the way for a new and better idea.
This is our sappy, sentimental post. Opening Gaslight has been the best experience of our lives. We have never struggled more for something. We've gone through the shit, and I cannot imagine a better partner to have at my side. Our roles are defined, our plans are becoming a reality, and we cannot wait to share it with all of you.
No progress pictures for now, we want it to be surprise. Updates on our offerings, foods, staff, soft/grand opening dates will be coming very soon.
Thanks to our readers, friends, and colleagues. We love all y'all.
The One About The Shared Roastery June 22 2012, 1 Comment
When this whole thing started, nearly a year ago, Tristan and I wanted to open a cafe and roastery in Logan Square. We had discussed looking for a space between 500-900 square feet, and purchasing a small 3-7 kilo roaster with the intention of roasting only for ourselves. Our plan was really simple, basically a glorified lemonade stand.
At the same time, our dear friend, (and the owner of Wormhole Coffee and Fritz Pastry), Travis was starting to look into the possibility of roasting coffee to supply his businesses. Wormhole had become a coffee purist's destination in Chicago, and it was becoming obvious that the next step was for them to begin producing roasted coffee.
A handful of drinks later, we hatched a plan, several plans actually, but the last one was good. We would lease and build out a larger space with Travis's help, Wormhole and Fritz would have full access to the roastery, and we would combine brain trusts of both companies to create a Voltron-esque roastery. The ability to combine these companies makes us all stronger, so why the hell not?
The long and short is simple, Gaslight Coffee Roasters roasts Gaslight coffee for Gaslight Coffee and maybe a few other folks. Halfwit Coffee roasts Halfwit coffee for Wormhole and Fritz. Both actions take place in the same room, by the same roaster, who essentially has two separate jobs that both happen in the same place. Easy enough to understand.
The Meat Wagon June 22 2012, 0 Comments
We meant to post this sooner, but we were way messed up on paint fumes. We also offer this advice to anyone that might ever want to paint a coffee roaster, hire someone else to do it. It seems easy, but it just isn't.
Death Wishes June 04 2012, 1 Comment
Ok, we've been meaning to post these for some time. Here's a few "close-calls" we had during our demo.
On a sentimental note- our demolition was easily some of the best days ever. Gutting our space was terribly hard work, but also therapeutic as all hell. On a morbid note, we really wish we had more videos of Tristan's head getting split open, me barely out-running a ceiling collapse or stepping on like 100 nails, and Brian falling off of a ladder with the grace of an Olympic diver. Here's what we did manage to catch on tape-
Dedicated to [the hopefully long life of] Brian O'Quinn, the deadliest dude EVER.
We've been Sprudged. June 04 2012, 0 Comments
Sprudge.com has featured us in their Build Outs Of Summer thingy. If you've never looked at Sprudge and you like inner-industry coffee drama, (and/or making fun of it), do yourself a favor and click the red letters.
If you follow our blog, than most of the photos they published will be old news to you. So, even though Tristan is going to kill me for this, here's a couple new top-secret photos of the progress.
Yep, that's a golden goose. And yep, that's an empty bottle of Vodka on the counter.
Thanks for everything blog readers! We can't wait to serve you guys some coffee.
Help get us neighbors! April 28 2012, 0 Comments
Wood n' Brjicks April 13 2012, 3 Comments
Black sludge, fiberglass filled air, and lots of blood. All for a F'n latte. The last 3 weeks have gone by almost too quickly. We've managed to transform a powder blue insurance office into something that is beginning to look not like a powder blue insurance office...
Untitled March 21 2012, 4 Comments
lots of vodka, a giant mess, a great time, and a pretty bad head injury... That sums up today pretty well I think!
exciting news coming soon! March 15 2012, 2 Comments
So, with our last days at Metropolis Coffee being a couple of weeks ago, and us being endlessly delayed by the city of Chicago and the permitting process (surprise surprise, right?) Zak and I both got guest barista gigs at shops here in the Chicago area to further hone our skills and to make some much needed extra money.
I'm working most every morning at CityGrounds coffee bar in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park (507 W Dickens). It's a great cafe and one of the top shops in the city (at least before I started working here...hopefully I'm not lowering the bar too much!). Their marquee roaster is Metropolis Coffee and also features offerings from Passionhouse, Barisimo, and other great roasters. The best part is that they've let me install our La Marzocco Strada (normally they're rockin' a Mirage Duette) so that we could get familiar with it and see how it performs in an actual retail environment.
Anyway, if you're in Chicago please stop by CityGrounds to get a shot off of Gaslight's Strada and say "hello!".
And the good news - it looks like we get to finally start the build out in a couple of weeks! As you can see, we got a little impatient, though. You wouldn't believe how therapeutic it is to rip out a wall...
Campfire Design January 17 2012, 2 Comments
To build a Flamethrower:
3 cedar planks.
10 copies of USA Today.
1 roll bailing wire.
1 NASCAR lighter. (only NASCAR lighters work, others are total pansies.)
1 father looking on disapprovingly
1 death wish.
Needless to say, we're using some pretty interesting/ancient wood finishing techniques.
Roaster are friggin heavy. January 17 2012, 0 Comments
Our Diedrich IR12 is home. I wish I had photos of us getting this thing into the space. Tristan and I probably weigh in around 300lbs combined, so technically, moving a 1000lbs roaster makes us f**king amazing.
There's still a lot of cosmetic work to be done. We're planning to murder her out, with the exception of the cooling bin and hopper. Then we'll probably have a Kitt voice box installed to insure complete safety. "The agitator is engaged, Michael." Take that.
See you soon,
Hotboyz Coffee Millionaires
Untitled November 18 2011, 1 Comment
ps, we've got an rss button now, if you'd like to follow the blog that way.
it's starting to come together November 11 2011, 0 Comments
Today we met with our architect, our designers*, and our general contractor/wordworking genius today. They each pulled through with some brilliant ideas, solved most of the problems we had, and just generally made us more excited/optimistic about this project. It's starting to feel real, and I think the final outcome is starting to materialize in our brains a bit better. We've got an awesome space, but it's been really difficult to visualize how everything is going to fit in it - it's really large (almost 2000sq ft) but shaped like a lopsided triangle, so figuring out how to utilize the space to the fullest has been a challenge - but our team made it happen. This place is going to be so rad.
We love you guys. For keeps.
*designers (Peter & Charlotte Smith) just so happen to own one of my favorite stores, Tack & Jibe in Leland, MI, and are still working on their arch/design website.
The Strada MP October 14 2011, 1 Comment
We've only had a few days experience with our new espresso machine, but I feel confident in saying that the Strada is a lovely can of worms. One I'm happy to open, and at the same am terrified of. Pressure profiling, or as we call it, "the dark arts", is something that has largely interested and intimated me. Each day behind the bar, we strive to remove any unnecessary variables from our working environment. So to open the door for endless variables and possible inconstancies, just seemed "wrong". We shouldn't have been surprised then that, like all things that seem "wrong", pressure profile is awesome and highly addictive.
We were fortunate enough to be able to hook up the Strada along with our Robur on Monday at the Metropolis lab. Our first shot, Metropolis's El Salvador La Fany, ran a bit slow and the first attempt at controlling the paddle was not unlike driving a Mack truck-white knuckles, sweaty palms, and a little bit of pee in your pants. A grind adjustment or two later, we were pulling good volume and time with a fairly moderate extraction rate.
Then it was nerd time... We pulled a few shots, dissected the phases, and took note. The La Fany had impressively buoyant body and really intense acidity. At a standard triple basket extraction, (21g, 200.5F, 23 sec, 1.5oz), with no pre or post infusion, the acidity was overly sharp and heavy, the finish a bit astringent, and overall, the coffee lacked clarity. The body was, in my opinion, perfect. However, I tend towards a syrupy mouthfeel, so to be less subjective, the body was almost obnoxiously thick. The dissection showed that the first phase had body like an anvil, but nice soft sweetness. The second phase was like sucking on a lemon with a sore throat. Easy enough fix, we dropped the dose a couple grams and introduced a 3 second pre-infusion at 3bars with a ramp up to 9 thinking this would surely take a few pounds off the body and probably dull the acidity a bit. Nope. The body thinned for sure, but the acidity was still a nightmare. Time to evoke evil. We kept our pre-infusion time, added a ramp down to 6bars at 17 seconds, and a slow kill at 22 seconds. The result was liquid "doing it". The body was still there and the acidity had rounded out to the point of being more like a mandarine orange, as opposed to the unripe lemon it was, thus allowing the sweetness to come through with great clarity. The cup was sweet, clean, and complex, all with a small adjustment of the paddle. Ef-ing scary. We dissected the new parameter and found that the first phase did, indeed, have a more palatable body. It had also lost a bit of sweetness, but.. eh. The second phase, now experiencing a pressure drop, was a different beast entirely. Not much lost in body, but the sharpness was 97% gone. The third phase was also cleaner, almost unidentifiable.
Suddenly, it all made perfect sense, painfully obvious even. The days of simple dose/grind adjustments, temp surfing, and basket swapping in order to achieve a desired flavor profile are officially becoming archaic. Being able to pinpoint specific moments of the extraction where you'd like to change the rate is an amazing feature. I felt like a 80 year old, sending my first email, like I'm living in the future. Though some of my previous thought on pressure profiling remained. In the wrong hands, it could be a dangerous tool. Though once you've played around with it, the effect that pressure has on extraction is simple to grasp. If you've ever turned the stereo up during your favorite part of a song, you pretty much get it already.
Materials Unlimited October 04 2011, 7 Comments
While Charlotte and Peter finish up our architectural plans, we've been going over our options for build out materials. Here's a few things we've been milling around, let us know what you think.
GaslightMobiles aka getouttamydreamsandintomytruckormoped October 04 2011, 0 Comments
Untitled September 28 2011, 0 Comments
With Gaslight, we're attempting to create a community space, not just through local artists' work on the wall, or live music nights, but by creating a place one can lean against the bar, talk to your barista, talk to a stranger next to you. That's not to say it won't also be a place suitable for cozying up to a table for a few hours and working, but fostering real interaction with strangers, and the space, is deeply important to me. Not dissimilar to the bars tucked deep into residential neighborhoods that Chicago is famous for - the places that you've never heard of until a friend takes you, you fall in love, and are there once a week.
I'd like for our "internet presence" to reflect that. When we get a new coffee in, I'd love it for that information to travel through word of mouth, not the myriad internet outlets. I've been going back and forth a lot lately about the necessity of maintaining an internet presence and I'm wondering if it's possible for a new business to eschew twitter, tumblr, facebook, google+, whateverelsethereis in favor of just having a good ol' fashioned blog but mainly encouraging word of mouth, face to face information sharing . The internet, and it's content, while so permanent just feels really temporary to me. While I can remember virtually every conversation I had yesterday, I can't remember anything I did online.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters - Chicago, Illinois September 13 2011, 9 Comments
I hope that you will follow our progress at our brand-spankin' new blog located here at http://gaslightcoffeeroasters.wordpress.com/. We'll post pictures of our progress, and we hope to thoroughly document the trials and tribulations of opening a cafe. Encouraging words are, well, encouraged.
tristan + zak