Counter Culture Opens in Chi-Town

Counter Culture Coffee just opened a new regional training center in Chicago! This is pretty awesome. As anyone seasoned in the coffee industry knows, there’s a ton of growth in the Great Lakes region of the United States, and the addition of CCC just makes the opportunity for further development more of a reality.

Counter Culture's Brian Ludviksen was instrumental in getting the Chicago Training Center up and running. And from the looks of this photo, he's happy with the results!

I had some interesting conversations with Peter G when I was in El Salvador with him recently. Peter has been with CCC forever, and now splits his time with the SCAA as he is this year’s President of the Board. Peter told me a lot about the thinking behind Counter Culture’s regional training centers—the company now has training centers in Asheville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Durham, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. And now Chicago. Peter told me that some of the sessions are open to the public, and also to people who use different coffees in their cafes. They’re just places to learn about coffee, and to inspire discovery.

“Our regional training centers are three-dimensional spaces dedicated to cutting-edge coffee education and community engagement,” says Counter Culture’s website info on the training centers. “Each training center serves not only as a regional focal point for professional coffee education and industry innovation, but also as a hub of taste exploration and cultural exchange. Furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by our world-class coffee educators, our training centers make up a closely connected network of classrooms for our Counter Intelligence coffee education curriculum, which consists of a variety of focused labs, classes, and seminars. Our training centers also provide the perfect environments for our ongoing series of public Friday Coffee Cuppings and community events.”

This photo was taken during an open session that CCC offered at the Chicago Training Center just after opening. Lots of hands on playing with coffee and equipment going on.

Located at 177 North Ada, Unit 106, in the West Loop neighborhood, the Chicago Training Center will serve as a regional focal point for Counter Culture’s coffee education curriculum, wholesale customer support, and hands-on training for coffee and food professionals as well as home coffee enthusiasts.

Every Friday, the training center is open to the public at 10 a.m. for a weekly coffee cupping, an expert-led taste and quality evaluation akin to a wine tasting.  In addition, Counter Culture will host a weekly open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in May (except for May 14).

Lots of info on Counter Culture's latest offerings is available at the training center.

This is especially cool: On Thursday, May 5, the Chicago training center will host 2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies for a Lever Espresso Machine Workshop co-sponsored by Italian espresso machine maker Nuova Simonelli.

2009 WBC Champ Gwilym, with the lever.

In August, the training center will host a Counter Intelligence Professional Series, Counter Culture’s 2-day advanced, full-immersion coffee education experience.

“We’re tremendously excited about the opening of our Chicago training center.  This will be our seventh and most ambitious training center, and it promises to be a great venue for Chicago coffee lovers to experience Counter Culture,” said company President and co-founder Brett Smith. “Chicago is also, of course, one of the world’s greatest, most diverse cities, and we couldn’t be more excited about becoming a part of its exuberant, evolving culinary community.”

 

Counter Culture’s education and training program – called Counter Intelligence – includes a variety of labs, classes, seminars, and community events led by the organization’s team of experienced coffee experts.  Native Chicagoan Rich Futrell spearheads Counter Culture’s presence in Chicago, and he’s already been leading weekly coffee cuppings at the independent Lincoln Park shop Dark Cloud.  Rich can be reached at rfutrell@counterculturecoffee.com and 919-264-1872 for appointments, sales inquiries, and more information about Counter Culture Coffee.

Counter Intelligence courses include Beginning Espresso, Intermediate Espresso, Coffee Extraction, Comparative Cupping, Cupping Leadership, Milk Chemistry, Origin, History & Trade, a Barista Competitor Workshop, and a Nicaragua-based Origin Field Lab.  In addition, Counter Intelligence students may pursue Coffee Steward and Barista certifications by completing respective curricula and hands-on skill examinations.

“We hope that our training center will not only become a valuable coffee education resource for Chicago’s food and beverage professionals, but also an accessible resource for the entire Chicago community,” said Peter Giuliano, Counter Culture’s director of coffee and co-owner.

Hats off to you, Counter Culture! Congratulations on your latest endeavor to bring educational forums to more and more coffee professionals in the United States!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.