Introducing TED Roaster : Intelligentsia
As part of the build-up to TED, we’ve asked that each of the participating roasters write a brief introduction for one of the others. This would typically be a tough exercise, but the mutual admiration shared by these companies is really amazing.
By James Hoffmann, Square Mile Coffee, London, UK
Intelligentsia Coffee, founded in Chicago in 1995, is a coffee company that is extremely difficult to write about without overusing terms like innovative, pioneering and inspirational. Intelligentsia has a global reputation. No matter which aspect of the coffee industry in which you work, they are doing something to make you pay attention.
Their approach to sourcing green coffee remains a model to which many of us aspire. They work closely with producers to form partnerships in a way that prioritizes both excellence in the cup as well as paying premiums that can make coffee growing a sustainable and a viable business. The buyers at Intelligentsia are always travelling, both to maintain relationships as well as form new ones. Their Extraordinary Coffee Workshops, held annually, are a unique event - bringing together producers from around the world to discuss what they do and to share ideas and information.
Intelligentsia now has roasteries in both Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as three coffee bars in each city. With these bars they have shown a desire and ability to push forward both the industry’s and the customer’s expectations of a cup of coffee. While each of the locations are quite different, they all show the possibilities for great success when you combine knowledge, great customer service and skilled, passionate baristas.
Above all else, Intelligentsia is a coffee roasting company - and an incredibly good one at that. From the day I first encountered them to today and beyond, I’m always excited and interested to taste a coffee they’ve roasted.