Your Guide to S.A.C.R.E.D. Agave Tastings

 

S.A.C.R.E.D. is a Chicago-based nonprofit that uses traditional and artisanal agave spirits to improve quality of life in rural Mexico. You may remember them from past collaborations/coffee projects like this:

 or agave distillations like this:

They use revenue generated from tastings and events to build libraries and greenhouses and to maintain water preservation systems in the same communities where agave spirits are fermented and distilled. In order to continue this growth and revitalization, they need your help. The best part? All you have to do is grab a drink and join a tasting! Here's the upcoming event schedule:

 

Sunday, Apr 22
3 - 7pm
Dove's Luncheonette
1545 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago IL 60622
Celebrate Earth Day!
Replant agave!
Your donation of at least $25 gets you one of three special flights, and 100% of that will be used to purchase agave plants from the middle school in Zaachila and gift them to maestros mezcalero in Oaxaca.

Monday, Apr 23
4 - 5:30pm
Garfield Park Con.
300 N Central Park
Chicago IL 60624

Chicago's only blooming agave!
Celebrate Agave Week with a talk about Chicago's only blooming agave, by Mezcal Lalocura maestro Eduardo Angeles! A tasting follows the talk. Free to industry folks.

Wednesday, May 2
6:30 - 8pm
Screaming Tuna
106 W Seeboth St
Milwaukee WI 53204

Milwaukee Sushi & Agave Dinner
A special dinner pairing five rare agave expressions with the award-winning sushi of Screaming Tuna. All profits will be donated to libraries and greenhouses in Mexico. A donation of $45 gets you a seat at the table.

Thursday, June 28
Time to come
Journeyman Distillery
109 Generations Dr.
Three Oaks MI 49128

 Journeyman Journeys to Mexico

We took the team from Journeyman down to Oaxaca for a week of visiting maestros — taste what they came back with and enjoy dishes Chef Luke imagined on the trip!Email us to be alerted when tickets are available.

Can't make any of those? Check out these opportunities!
Chicago's own Agave Triangle
Ongoing, self-guided tour in Logan Square
Estereo
Masa Azul

Quiote
Mi Tocaya
The best way to learn more about agave spirits in Chicago! Donate $25 to replanting agave, bring that receipt to the four participating Logan Square bars, and get sample tastes and agave knowledge on a 1.2-mile walk!
April 17, 2018 by Jake Kryshak

Trouble Managing Your Subscription?

Our subscription service requires an extra login to access your account. We apologize for the additional login but it's all done for your safety. Here are step-by-step instructions but feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.
April 12, 2018 by Jake Kryshak

Pumpkin Spice 5k

The Pumpkin Spice 5K Run/Walk takes place during the most beautiful time of year in Chicago and along its spectacular lakefront.  Join us for a scenic, family-friendly 5K Run or Walk through the historic lakefront area of Chicago’s Jackson Park.

RACE BENEFICIARY

Whitney Young High School is Chicago’s first public magnet school bringing together students from across Chicago. Whitney Young provides an academically rigorous education, consistently ranked among the best public high schools in the state and the top 50 in the nation. It was recently named the most diverse school in the nation. Each year 2,200 students walk the halls, study in classrooms, labs and libraries, and participate in over 100 clubs, 52 athletic sports teams and fine and performing arts. For the 5th year in a row, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) names it “The School of Champions”. Help support the academic, athletic and artistic excellence and be a part of the Pumpkin Spice 5k.

 

October 04, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Dark Matter Day Discussion Series at Star Lounge Coffee Bar

On October 31, 2017, the world will celebrate the historic hunt for the unseen—something that scientists refer to as dark matter. Global, regional, and local events are being planned on and around that date by institutions and individuals looking to engage the public in discussions about what we already know about dark matter and the many present as well as planned experiments seeking to solve its mysteries.
There’s more to the universe than meets the eye - but how do you find something that you can’t see? Join scientists from Argonne, Fermilab, and UChicago in their quest to understand the composition of the universe, including mysterious dark matter. For three weeks, Star Lounge Coffee Bar will host these discussions and exploration into dark matter and all it's untapped secrets. These events will lead to the universal celebration of Dark Matter Day, on Saturday, October 31st! 
Dark Matter Day
October 04, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Shawnimal's Hug Lyf & Other Helping Hands

Every Saturday morning, you can count on Shawnimals being at Star Lounge, hanging out and chatting it up with his fellow friends and neighbors. So we are stoked that a piece, or pieces, of Shawnimals will be around 7 days a week, as he is the featured guest artist for his favorite watering hole. His work is WELL KNOWN throughout the world through his Ninjatown video game, plush toys, and also as a featured artist in March 2016's Ninja Blend. Check out all of his rad things, read epic stories of good versus evil, and download his Ninjatown game at Ninjatown.com and Shawnimals.com. The kick off party will be Friday, October 6th, complete with coffee, music, beer and snacks! 

 

A universal notation that can be applied anywhere.  

October 01, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Throwback blends!

Greetings everyone, happy 10 year Dark Matter anniversary! Each one of these bends were constructed before we had a roasting facility, and Star Lounge was our only brick and mortar. These blends definitely have a nostalgic flavor to them, giving an interesting look into how and what we used to roast and represent ourselves. These are limited to so make sure to try them before they're gone! 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Love Supreme (Throwback Blend)- 15#
Uganda
Malabar
Guru Java- 10#
Ethiopia Hambela 
Sumatra Ketiara
Funk 50- 10#
Brazil Natural 
Uganda
Flying J's Mocha Java- 10#
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Ethiopia Hambela
Sumatra Ketiara
Ganesha (Espresso)- 40#
Malabar
Sumatra Ketiara
Ethiopia Hambela
July 11, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Dark Matter Coffee's 10th Anniversary Party!

It's been ten fun years since Dark Matter Coffee humbly began in the confines of Star Lounge Coffee Bar. We are honored to be a part of this great city and want to throw the best damn party to celebrate!
This isn't just any party though, no, this is THE party of the summer, full of beer, food and tons of music! And to make it even better, it's a benefit for Hope For The Day!! That's right, instead of spending money on tickets, food and beverages, you can put that towards a charitable contribution for Hope For The Day.
Dark Matter Coffee is making sure that the beer, food and music are TOP NOTCH! We asked friends from all around the world to help use celebrate and raise money at the same time. So mark your calendars and we will see you Saturday, July 8th!
 
Music
Wild Jesus
Cameron Hodges Press Pot Recordings, Twinpeaks DJs)
Chuck Wren (Jump Up Records)
Ben Ezra
Big Gidz
Slow Planes
Vapor Eyes
Malci
Hüng
Sherpa
Tijuana Hercules
Ben Fasman
Powermad
 
Food
FFF
Essentia Water
Funkenhausen
Half Acre
Haywood Tavern
Noosa Yogurt
Roots Pizza
Ruth & Phils
Sauce & Bread
Estrella Negra
 
Beer
FFF
18th Street
Anchor
Archie's Tavern
Band of Bohemia
Central State
Cigar City
Dark Horse
DC Brau
Devils Trumpet
Forbidden Root
Goose Island
Half Acre Beer
Haymarket
Hoof Arted
JK's Ciders
Local Option
Marz
Mikkeller
Modern Times
Off Color
Old Irving
Perennial
Rockwell
Pipeworks
Revolution
Ska Brewing
Stillwater
The Bruery
Scratch
Virtue Cider
June 21, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Beer & Coffee Lovers Can Finally Have It All!

DMC are crazy beer geeks just like you. From our collaborations, to our packaging, etc, it's a fact that we love beer. Now we have taken things a step further and incorporated different fermentation using ingredients that make beer possible. These experimental processes are new to both the DMC inventory and the coffee community as a whole. Our goal is using a culinary approach to coffee, combined with knowledge, and fun, we learned from our many beer collaborations over the years. Now combining all that together, we are ready to introduce a new series of coffees that will satisfy even the biggest beer geek/coffee fanatic out there. 

These releases will be a combination of single origin and blends, using hopped or yeast fermented coffee. (Just like the beer making process) The first two in the series, Citra hops and Saison yeast, were also released last year, with great success. This year's harvest is no different, yielding yet another round of delicious coffees. 


Future releases will involve the following yeast or hops. 
Crystal Hop Fermented Catuai
Beer Blend (Combining one yeast and one hop fermented coffee.)
Bohemian Weiss Yeast fermented Catuai
Hallertau Blanc Hop Fermented Catuai

Saison Fermented Catuai

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast primarily needed to produce beer, wine and bread. Because of the abilities of this microbe, Saccharomyces has become one of the most studied and cultivated organisms in the world.

Yeast, a type of fungi, is a single cell organism needed for coffee to be processed. To be clear, coffee fermentation doesn't need Saccharomyces, as there is a whole universe of other yeasts out there for fermentation. Fermentation tanks usually consist of a soup of microbes that also feed on coffee sugars and are almost always open air, and made of cement. Beer, wine and bread need the byproducts of yeast for them to be successful and gain complexity and flavor, while coffee does not. At the very least, coffee needs microbes to break down the sugary gelatinous layer of pectin surrounding a coffee bean to be dried properly. We've purposefully inoculated coffee fermentation tanks with Saccharomyces so we can layer the esters and acids it produces into the coffee.

When propagated, yeast will live the most amazingly simple life on the planet - it eats, it mates and sleeps in abundance, and if it's happy, that's all these critters will do their entire life. All yeast strains have slightly different preferences to be happy but overall they need:
-Sugar
-water with regulated temperature and pH
-oxygen
We've had great results from Saison yeast in the past. It's sturdy and not particularly fussy over its environment or *food*. Characteristics like this are ideal for us, due to the unruly and unpredictable nature of open-air fermentation tanks. Saison yeast produces esters and phenols that give saison beer their signature flavors - think bubblegum, banana or clove. As the coffee sits, it can absorb these flavors and take on a unique set of characteristics.

Once the saison yeast is active, we add it to the fermentation tank with freshly pulped coffee. This process fundamentally alters the ecosystem of the tank. The combined characteristics will stay present through the rest of processing, roasting and finally brewing.

Citra Hopped Catuai
We have played with hopping coffees using two processes. Currently, we send out iced coffee brewed with Citra hops, but this process is not related to this whole bean coffee. 

In this process we added dry hops to freshly pulped coffee in a fermentation tank at the farm. Hops flowers have resin glands that produce bittering compounds that inhibit microbial production. The dissolved hops make a "marinade" for the coffee to ferment. Similarly to the saison yeast, the roasted coffee has a subtle layer of hop character, which should add juicy fruity qualities to the bean.

June 11, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Anthrax's Charlie Benante & DMC Join Forces!

ANTHRAX'S CHARLIE BENANTE JOINS FORCES WITH
DARK MATTER COFFEE CO. TO ENHANCE AND RELAUNCH HIS
"BENANTE'S BLEND" COFFEE LINE
LOS ANGELES, CA - (Wednesday, June 7, 2017) -- Anyone who knows Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante knows his deep and passionate love for the taste of coffee.  So much so that two years ago, he launched his own line, "Benante's Blend."  Today, having forged a collaboration with Chicago's Dark Matter Coffee Co., "Benante's Blend" has undergone enhancements that include higher quality choice of coffee beans, a change in the way the beans are roasted that give the coffee a larger and more flavorful taste, and other tweaks, Benante and Dark Matter are proud to announce the relaunch of "Benante's Blend."
Charlie Benante
Photo credit: Francis Ruiz
The coffee will still be available in two varieties, the "Be All End All" blend which is a dark roast with a real kick, and the "Forever Metal" blend, a milder coffee.  And, despite the upgrades, Benante is keeping the price the same.
"I'd been hearing about Dark Matter for awhile," said Benante.  "They're based in Chicago where I live, so I tried some of their coffee and thought it was great.  We hooked up, I went down to their headquarters and spent a day there just talking coffee, doing some tasting and I have to say, I felt like I was part of this coffee family.  Everyone there really enjoys the art of coffee, as do I, so this was something I was really interested in being a part of.  We worked together to come up with what I feel is a perfect cup of coffee, and I'm happy to say that my Benante's Blend is under the umbrella of the Dark Matter coffee family."
Benante spent a good deal of time over the last ten months in Dark Matter's "cupping lab," tasting a variety of coffees, different blends, flavors and roasts. This process allowed Charlie to peer behind the curtain, learning why the Central American coffees sourced by Dark Matter are among the best in the world.  After numerous blind tastings, Charlie zeroed in on what would make his perfect cup of coffee. 
 
"One of the most exciting things about working with Dark Matter," Benante added, "is that they're not just going to put out my two Benante's Blend coffee line; we're already talking about our next project, another coffee idea that will blow people away, and we're all really excited about that."
June 07, 2017 by Kyle Hodges

Dark Lord Day 2017 Merchandise

A quick update regarding the Dark Lord Day 2017 Merchandise. 

As of Monday, May 22, 2017 at 9:30 am CST, both of the Blood Lord mug and Snifters are SOLD OUT! 

The remaining bags of Blood Lord coffee will be available at our stores and online while supplies last. Please with sugar on top, don't call and ask for any bags to be held, as these are on a first come, first serve basis. 

For those of you who ordered items, the following information will be useful should you have any further questions. 

1. Orders will be processed as they were received. 

2. We will begin processing orders immediately. You will receive a second email once the items have shipped. Please be respectful of this and avoid calling to check on updates. We are working as fast as possible to process orders and your patience is appreciated. 

3. Problems with your order? We have a form just for that! It can be found HERE  Once you have filled that form out, we will contact you as soon as humanly possible. Again, your patience will go a long way with making things go smoothly and will be appreciated so much from the hard working DMC staff! 

4. We will have a small reserve of both snifters & mugs in case of breakage during shipping. These will be released at a later date in our stores ONLY. Again, this is a very, very small reserve and will be on a first come, first serve basis, with no reservations taken. 

5. Cleaning your snifters or mug: we recommend hand washing these items. The mug is also microwave safe. 

May 22, 2017 by Kyle Hodges