We are proud to announce our newest music collaboration with the dynamic duo Klevah and TRUTH a.k.a. Mother Nature! Their newest mixtape SZNZ off of Closed Sessions is a fifteen track instant CLASSIC featuring production work from the unstoppable Boathouse and guest verses served up from the likes of Brittney Carter, Valee, and Sir Michael Rocks. Honestly? We've had the thing on repeat since it dropped. We're not the only ones either, they've been reeling in acclaim from the likes of Complex and Pigeons and Planes. Overall SZNZ is brimming with bombastic, no bullshit attitude, meaning that we HAD to step in and provide a companion coffee to match! The can features album artwork and, in a first for us, a QR code that takes you straight to the mixtape so you have no fucking excuse to not check out the vibes. We also had the pleasure of hosting an interview in our Maggot Brain studio between Mother Nature, Boathouse, and Closed Sessions label co-founder Alexander Fruchter, followed by an in-studio performance of a few tracks off the album. You can watch that below.
This isn't our first time working with Closed Sessions or Boathouse, either. In 2019 we teamed up to put out a crazy double 7" celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a coffee and can to match. We've also hosted multiple members of the Closed Sessions crew during our annual Anniversary party and can tell you with certainty, they all rule.
About the Coffee
Inside the can, the coffee is a Sampacho from El Salvador that underwent an experimental fermentation process called Carbonic Maceration. Sampacho as a cultivar is a short and sturdy plant, about half the height of other varietals. It's perfect for the mountains of El Salvador where high winds can whip through farms and cause damage to taller coffee trees.
Once the cherries were picked at the peak of ripeness by the Cafe Tuxpal team, they were collected in an airtight container and flushed with carbon dioxide to force out any oxygen. This allows for extended contact between the seeds and the mucilage without outside exposure to air or foreign yeasts. After the coffee has time to chill in these containers, they're processed as a Natural coffee by placing the cherries directly onto raised drying beds and continuing fermentation. We ended up with a bright and acid driven profile, with notes of blueberry, grape, and dark chocolate showing themselves on the cupping table. You can grab the cans here.
If there's been one plant that's served as inspiration for DMC over the year, besides coffee of course, it's gotta be the Devil's Lettuce. You know: kush, cheeba, herb, gas. Whatever you wanna call it, it's been one of our muses since the get-go. With that in mind, Devil's Lettuce is one of our annual blends and offering to the gods of ganja, always accompanied by the artwork of DMC mainstay Jason Brammer and, often times, a mixtape to put you in the right headspace. We're going through designs past and the adjunct tunes to puff puff pass on the cheer during the kindest month of the year. But first, we sat down with Jason to discuss music, art, inspirations and more:
The mixtape for this release was smoked and curated by the Impala Sound Champions. This DJ duo can do no wrong in our eyes and this mix is blessed by Jah as the perfect companion to our coffee.
Devil's Lettuce 2015 mixtape once again features our green pals Impala Sound Champions blasting out the reggae love! Twist one up, hit play and pass it around friends!
Helping us smoke the peace pipe are our partners-in-crime, Impala Sound Champions, bringing a super heady ganga mix for everyone's dome!
Push Beats, the premiere beat makers & DJ collective from Chicago provide the mixtape for Devil's Lettuce 2017. Chalked full of token beats to make sure your head is securely unfastened for the musical ride. Released in a limited edition cassette tape via Press Pot Recordings
We did it again! Another year another SuperCollider series of highly curated - or should we say curated highly? - bands from the talented Dark Matter Coffee extended family. Catch up on all five nights with the music from the live stream below.
About the Artist
Hasani Cannon was inspired to pursue his dream of being an artist while participating as a middle school student in YEMBA’s Mentoring Empowerment Program. He was encouraged by Edward Redd, YEMBA founder, who served as a role model and provided Hasani with a drawing pad and colored pencils. Now an art major at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Hasani plans to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts.
Hasani created the original artwork for bags of coffee produced by Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago in an effort to give back to other youth, just like Mr. Redd did for him. Your purchase of special edition Dark Matter Coffee bags will support YEMBA’s efforts to nurture young people and strengthen communities.
YEMBA Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating our youth mentally, physically and spiritually with a life-long learning and service experience through group mentorship that will equip them with knowledge and tools for leadership development and success in life.
By purchasing this coffee, you are making a direct impact on the life of an at-risk youth in our community by allowing us to continue to enrich their lives through our mentoring initiatives.
Dark Matter Coffee, a Chicago coffee importer and roaster, is offering authentic chocolate made from Mexican cocoa beans at their Pilsen chocolate factory called Sleep Walk Chocolateria.
Fabian Alvarado, education and training guru for Dark Matter Coffee, said they work with cocoa bean distributors from Mexico.
"For us, it's about inclusivity and making sure we're bringing a product that is not just native to Mexico but to all of Latin America," he said.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria opened its doors in November. They offer traditional coffee drinks as well as their popular Mexican drinking chocolate. So far, the chocolateria has more than five different kinds of chocolate bars.
Alvarado said there are no additives in their products, just sugar and cocoa paste. All their chocolates are made in-house.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria also collaborates with local businesses. They've teamed up with local panaderias to sell their sweets, as well as local artists that have designed their chocolate bar wrapping.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria
1844 South Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
San Jeronimo Miramar in Guatemala is an extended home and family for DMC. On Monday, March 9th the Atitlan Volcano, on which this farm is situated, is undergoing a major forest fire.
San Jeronimo Miramar is dedicated to natural preservation and protected major portions of their land by allowing the flora and fauna to flourish without cultivating the land. The highest point of their farm is an untouched jungle and is currently being decimated - this area and other reserves around the Volcano of other Farms is one of the last places you can observe the Quetzal and Horned Guan. Forecasting the fire's path, we are all extremely concerned the fire will continue to travel down the mountain and destroy significant parts of their farm.
More than 300 people in the local community work on this land - and many more farms and communities will be affected as well.
We are asking for emergency relief for all the people of San Jeronimo Miramar and everyone helping. All we can do at this moment is act quickly to save as much of the farm and its surrounding wildlife as possible.
It has been estimated that $50,000 is needed to acquire resources and set up the logistics to halt the progress of this fire. So far we have teamed up with Amigos del Lago Atitlan, Los Tarrales Reserve, Fina Santo Tomas Perdido and San Jeronimo Miramar to raise $30,000. We humbly request you to please donate what you can to this cause to impact an unfolding emergency situation.
All funds will be give to *Asociacion de Reservas Naturales Privadas* to combat the fire. The GoFundMe can be found here.
Rippling through consciousness and only just perceivable in the fringes of the mind's eye lies a haunting mirage. Drifting through this waking dream while time ebbs and flows around you, your synapses plead for clarification, desperately trying to make sense of the oppressive kaleidoscopic miasma before you. And then: Clarity. It's the Eldritch horror of 6:30 A.M. Lucky for you the shamans at our cafes are well equipped with unfiltered, powerful psychedelegance to banish the void and pull you out of its clutches. Whether it's black cat bone hoodoo, fusions of old world with the new age, or just plain old mysticism, today we shine a light on our locations that perfectly channel the rock n roll spirit that their names inspire.
The location for which the word Psychedelegance was forged, Meddle is bathed in purple neon and silver-green wallpaper, surrounding the senses to separate entirely from the chaos and bustle of downtown Chicago, a suspension in time and space. Just like the wall crumbling away to a coffee jungle, Meddle breaks through convention to reveal a deeper experience.
Electric Mud crackles with energy and prismatic light leaving hazy tracers as far as the eye can see. Inside, infamous polka dot patterns, sites like the Maxwell Street Open Air Market, and the history of Chicago blues permeate through ones consciousness. These ripples from Blues' origins in the Mississippi Delta still hold the spirituality and mysticism of hoodoo, black cat bones, gris-gris, and mojo hands.
Going through the doors of Caravanserai is like stepping through a temporal rift to an outdoor Acayucan market. The floors turn to cobblestone and the walls give way to an infinite horizon. Quetzals flutter around the archways, a hidden menagerie in the bathrooms, and vibrant plants are scattered throughout. Caravanserai is also our first partnership with La Rifa Chocolateria out of Mexico City.
Sleep Walk is a Ritchie Valens' mestizo lowrider dream swirling with the people and culture of a pre-colonial Mexico. The smell of warm cocoa fills the building and wraps your senses in a dream-like sense of calm. A complete separation from the physical self and into a land where it's always sunset and Billy Stewart croons into your ear.
Taking its namesake from a negative yelp review might seem like an inauspicious start for a blend, however Intellectual Curiosity has gone way beyond a tongue-in-cheek reference and has been DMC's February blend for as long as we can remember. Always featuring a blend of African and American sourced coffees, the bag shares a message of hope and understanding in an ever increasingly connected world.
In addition to the righteous vibes proved by the artists (the legendary Slang and future legends Anthony Lewellen and KaylaMay to name just a few), we've also put out a healthy amount of mixtapes to coincide with the release. Since life always needs a little bit more music, we dug these babies out of the archives to warm your ears.
2014 - Twinpeaks DJ's
The righteous DJ duo, Twinpeaks, were funky enough to compile an all Indiana based compilation for your listening pleasure. Avid vinyl connoisseurs, the identical twin DJs self-imposed rules for the mixtape: only vinyl and only Indiana based artists or labels. This interesting approach allows for a refined trip down Indiana Avenue, an often overlooked music treasure chest, birthing numerous legendary jazz and soul artists. A proper mixtape for the intellectuals and casual fans alike.
2015 - DJ Rasul
The debut cassette release on our record label Press Pot Recordings, we teamed up with Chicago's own SHOWYOUSUCK to release their AWESOME TAPE! And let us tell you, it is just that, AWESOME! Featuring guest appearances from Indianapolis' Oreo Jones and a remix by The Hood Internet. This was also an unofficial debut of the SHOWYOUSUCK and Hood Internet supergroup Air Credits, who would headline our block party later on that year in July.
2018 - ETC Records Electronic Buffet Vol 1
In 2018 DMC & Etc Records paired up to bring Electronic Buffet Vol 1 into the mix. Featuring an outstanding array of producers that are the tastemakers of Chicago's indie beat makers. ETC Records is a community oriented, forward thinking, progressive label; homegrown within Chicago and we were and are still humbled to be able to release this compilation in collaboration with the label and its talented roster.
We're doin' it in 3-D today baby! Yeah we're playing the name game here at the Mothership connection and cluing you in to the cats making the cuts that mesmerize, energize, and hypnotize us into our daily do. We're channeling our best George Clinton for the occasion, so throw on your diaper and hop on in!
If your brain is permanently set on funkin you're in good company! While over half of our cafes draw their inspiration from a certain Detroit psychedelic tour-de-funk, our original location Star Lounge serves as the genesis and big bang of our Dark Matter universe (Kevin Faige, get at us!). While Star Lounge inherited its name from the previous business in that space, it served as a platform to premier our now-classic iced coffee Chocolate City (which has earned it's own palace on Grand Avenue) and the first Star Child, The Mothership. To this day, Star Lounge continues to stand as an institution of community, creativity, and positivity - just like the crew of whom we draw our inspiration.
Pulling triple duty serving as Dark Matter's intergalactic headquarters, roastery AND central office, the Mothership is the home base and vehicle through which we deliver our particular brand of freshly roasted funk to the masses. Here our all-stars roast and bag coffee in the back while we operate a small but always growing to-go service for the public out the front. The Mothership beams good vibes and coffee to every corner of the world so come check it out and melt your brain over it's signature drink, the boozy-sweet Black Magic.
Our third location opened in Lakeview in the spring of 2014 and mirrors the psychedelic soulful DMC energy through the incredible artwork of Jason Brammer. The mural spans across the entire length of the cafe, endearingly called "Devil in the Chocolate City". It depicts a sunken, waterlogged world's fair dripping with eyeballs, tentacles, oil spills, and other steampunk machinery. In short? He tore the roof off the sucker. Adorning the opposite wall is an original copy Parliament Osmium record autographed by Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips. While he has nothing to do with the album, it was the only record we had on hand when we met him, so what would you do?
Chocolate City Coffee Palace and Bodega
Bright lights and flashy coffee cold specials serve as the backdrop to this neighborhood watering hole. An essential feature in any city community, bodegas serve as spaces where people can gather to share their own stories and legends. Bathed in classy neon-drenched funk and carrying all the essentials, Chocolate City Coffee Palace is no different. Located in West Town's Grand Ave corridor, the coffee has been flowing in the Bodega since 2019