The Beginning of DMC's Barrel Aging Program

The Beginning of DMC's Barrel Aging Program

A little throwback to the first article featuring our barrel aging program. While we never claimed to invent the process, we have definitely perfected the art of barrel aging coffee. This is only possible because of the support that all of you have provided us over the past three years. Without it, we wouldn't be able to push forward, exploring and creating exciting coffees. THANK YOU!! 

Tasting Table 

DRINKS Booze Brews Dark Matter's new barrel-aged coffee

BY HEATHER SPERLING 8/19/13

"This isn't innovative," insists Jesse Diaz, as he stands amidst coffee-filled bourbon barrels at Dark Matter Coffee's Ukrainian Village headquarters. "This is Old World." In an age when booze barrels are regularly repurposed to age vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, cocktails and tea, Diaz claims that the inspiration for his newest line of coffee isn't trend. It's the Dutch East India Company's historic, 17th-century method of shipping green (unroasted) coffee: in barrels, often those previously used for pickles or salt. Dark Matter's current batch of green beans is spending a week in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. Once roasted and brewed, the time in oak manifests as mellowed acidity, heightened vanilla and caramel notes, and a burst of grape soda on the nose. The coffee is sold by the bag ($25 for 12 oz.) or brewed and bottled ($9 for 250 ml). Served over ice, the bourbon scent is especially apparent. The flavor of the bottle we brought home--from natural-processed Mexican beans, dried with the coffee cherry intact--was pure vanilla, caramel and banana, but the nose was all whiskey. More barrels are on the way: absinthe barrels from Letherbee (to be filled with Ethiopian beans), whiskey barrels from Koval, and a bourbon barrel that recently held Virtue cider. Now this is a morning cocktail we can get behind.

Maplewoodstock 2016, Our 9th ANNIVERSARY PARTY!!

Maplewoodstock 2016, Our 9th ANNIVERSARY PARTY!!

Maplewoodstock 2016

Come one, COME ALL to the 9th Anniversary party for Dark Matter Coffee!!

Maplewoodstock 2016 will happen on Saturday, July 9th from 12:00 - 8:00pm on Maplewood Street (between Iowa & Chicago Ave) 

We gathered a bunch of our music, beer and food friends to once again throw the best block party in Chicago, with ALL proceeds going to Hope For The Day!!! You read correctly, the food, music and beer are on DMC so that everyone's hard earned dollars can help make an impact through HFTD's amazing programs.

If you are unfamiliar with HFTD, they are a Chicago based non-profit that brings awareness to mental health and suicide prevention, both invaluable services that are greatly needed throughout the world. They provide resources, activities and help bring about legislative changes to not only people with mental illnesses but their friends and family who support them. DMC are proud partners with Hope For The Day and hope that you too will come and support their efforts. 

Speaking of party, have you looked at what is about to take place?? The music line-up, FOOD and THE DAMN BEER LIST?? It's all top notch and ready for you to come get down!! Now, there will be some rules put in place to make sure everyone is safe.

HOUSE RULES  

1.  If you plan to drink, you MUST HAVE A CURRENT ID stating that you are indeed 21+. No ID, no beer, NO EXCEPTIONS! 

2. This is a family friendly event, we encourage everyone to attend. There's even ice cream for the kids, thanks to Ruth & Phil's ice cream. (For BIG kids too!) 

3. Please bring extra water as the day will be hot. There will be some delicious water available, courtesy of our friends at Essentia Water but hey, more water won't hurt anyone! (Plus there are like plenty of places to deposit all that extra water, if you know what we mean ;) 

4. Food - We will have a large amount of FREE food from friends like Lockdown, Roots Pizza, Sauce & Bread Kitchen and Uncle Dougies. This food will be given out throughout the event, so please make sure to eat and also share with your fellow party people. 

5. No outside booze please! There will be plenty of beer for everyone so please, save the flasks and rare bombers of beer for after 8:00pm when our party ends. 

6. Finally, this is a block party celebrating our neighborhood. Which means the neighbors will be home. Don't worry, they are cool as sh*t and love having everyone over. That being said, please respect their space and stay within the parameters of the party. Only go in their lawn, patio, etc if you are invited. 

 

Breweries

Band of Bohemia

Central State Brewing

Dark Horse Brewing

Devil's Trumpet

Forbidden Root Fine Botanic Beers

Goose Island

Half Acre Beer

Local Option Brier

Marz Brewing

Mikkeller 

Off Color Brewing

Penrose Brewing 

Perennial Artisan Ales 

Pipeworks Brewing 

Revolution Brewing   

Rockwell Brewing

Scratch Brewing

Virtue Cider

3 Floyd's 

18th Street Brewery

Music 

Yakuza - HOOD INTERNET + SHOWYOUSUCK 

The Right Now - Black Bear Combo 

Wild Jesus & The Devil's Lettuce

J.A. Grimms & Blackknight - Ben Ezra

Buckingham Palace SVU - Malci & The Lobster Bisque  

DJ's

Tim Zawada (Star Creature Universal Vibes) - Chuck Wren (Jump Up Records)

Sonorama DJs (Sonorama Records) Twinpeaks DJs (Press Pot Recordings)

NOT Beer

Essentia Water 

KIND 

Lockdown

Roots Handmade Pizza

Phil & Ruth's Gourmet Ice Cream

Sauce & Bread Kitchen

Uncle Dougie's

June 24, 2016 — Kyle Hodges
Coffee Processing And What It Means

Coffee Processing And What It Means

There are many avenues and ways to explore what goes into making a great cup of Dark Matter Coffee. With this post, we will help to explain all of those important parts by first starting with sourcing the coffee from the farm and how processing affects how coffee tastes. 

To begin, we  will look at the anatomy of a coffee cherry, then move to explain different ways coffee is processed. 

The Guts of a Coffee Cherry

 

 

Structure of coffee berry and beans: 1: outer skin/pulp 2:Mucilage/pectin layer 3: parchment 4: silver skin/chaff 5: bean/center cut

  1. Outer Skin / Pulp: The outer skin/pulp are covered by a skin, very similar to that of a cherry. This skin is usually removed from the fruit after the fruit is harvested. The exception is Natural Processed coffees, which leave the outer skin on during fermentation. The flesh, called cascara, is often recycled into compost at farms but has recently been used in making a drink that resembles a tea. 
  2. Mucilage: After the skin comes the mucilage. This layer surrounds the coffee seeds with a sticky, sugary substance and gives the Honey process its name. 
  3. Parchment: This is a cellulose layer that protects the coffee bean and resembles parchment paper when dried. 
  4. Silver skin / Chaff: The final layer covering the seed is called silver skin due to it's silver-like sheen. During the roasting process this skin drys and falls off becoming chaff. Chaff is normally discarded waste but can be used in gardening and sometimes can be found in bags of coffee if it doesn't separate from the bean during the roasting process.  
  5. Center Cut / Coffee Bean: The bean, THE GOOD STUFF, is what we are all searching for. Two seeds are found inside each coffee cherry, (Peaberries being an anomaly, with only one seed/bean inside. We will discuss this in a later post.) This is what we roast to DMC standards for the perfect coffee experience!

Main Processing Methods Used In Coffee

There are three main processing categories used in processing coffee. The difference between the three methods can be defined by the amount of layers of the layers listed above before being dried.

      1. Natural or Dried in the Fruit Process – All the layers remain intact. This is the oldest and most direct way to process coffee. Careful attention must be paid to how the coffee is being dried to prevent any moldy or weird flavors don't get into the beans during the process. Coffees that use this method generally have a brighter, more fruit forward flavor profile. 

      2. Honey Process – The skin and pulp layers are removed while keeping a portion of the mucilage layer. Remember, this sugary layer is what defines the Honey process. These coffees have significantly less acidity than Washed or Natural coffees due to the short amount of time it takes for the mucilage to dry, resulting in less fermentation. The length of drying time and exposure to the sunlight will determine what type of Honey process it is called. Yellow, Red, or Black are descriptions used to help describe the length of time and amount of light exposure that each coffee receives during the drying process. 

      3. Yellow Honey  Also known as semi-washed, this coffee is rinsed with minimal water to wash off excess mucilage. Later, it is exposed to direct sunlight to dry quickly and control fermentation, this style of processing is the least fermented of the "honey" processes and is effective for boosting body and sweetness in a cup.          Yellow Honey Process  (This is a machine washer for coffee turned up to its most powerful setting. It is used for the "yellow honey" or semi-washed process. Though Federico Pacas says, this style would be more like "white honey" when used to this extreme. The cherries are moved up while the mucilage is dripping down to leave just a touch of that magical Miel on, before the dry fermentation and then off the drying beds)          
                                       
      4. Red Honey This process does not necessitate water and instead is dry-pulped and exposed to direct sunlight up to a period of two to three weeks. Slightly more acidity is present in the cup but also maintains a great deal of sweetness.   
                                       
      5. Black Honey The most labor-intensive of the honey processed coffees due to the longest drying times and intentionally sheltered from the light to allow yeast and bacteria to thrive and produce higher amounts of acidity. Some of its characteristics in the cup can be similiar to that of a natural due to the extended fermentation process. 


        (Aaron Campos, Dir of Coffee for DMC, and Federico Pacas look over black honey processed bourbon cultivars from Finca San Jose in El Salvador!)

      6. Washed Process –This process is also called wet processed because the skin, pulp and mucilage are all removed using water and fermentation. In this method, a machine called a depulper removes the skin of the coffee cherry. Fermentation tanks are the next destination, with the coffee remaining in the water until the mucilage is broken down and the beans are no longer sticky. If the green coffee is left in the water too long, over-fermentation can happen, with the results being a sour tasting coffee. The washing process is a neutral expression of fermentation as it only yields characteristics natural to the cultivar - bacteria and yeast do not produce esters or acids to alter flavors in the cup.  

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2016 — Kyle Hodges
Do Rite + Dark Matter Coffee = Vanilla Suburbs

Do Rite + Dark Matter Coffee = Vanilla Suburbs

Press Release from Do-Rite Donuts for the new DMC collaboration.

You could say simpatico. You could say synchronicity. You could also say Vulcan mind meld. This is how we feel about our partners at Dark Matter Coffee. Why do we love our friends at Dark Matter Coffee? They are innovative and ethical, interesting and tenacious, artistic and inspired. Their community stretches from the streets of Chicago to the coffee farms of El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. The
result of their efforts resides in every cup of coffee we serve at Do-Rite.



Our newest collaboration donut is the Vanilla Suburb. Inspired by George Clinton and the Parliament Funk lyrics, this embodies the complexity of the Dark Matter philosophy. It’s a raised donut with not one, but two fillings. The first is a Chocolate City coffee infused cream, the second is a chocolate ganache with a hint of cayenne. Finally, it’s dipped in a real vanilla bean glaze and finished with some
chocolate latte art (as coached by Dark Matter’s Jesse Diaz). These wonderful things will be at both Do-Rite shops and all 3 Dark Matter locations for the next 3 weeks. And we are pretty comfortable suggesting some coffee to go with that.


National Thermos Day: Announcing the Thermos Heritage Blend

National Thermos Day: Announcing the Thermos Heritage Blend

 

High-quality ingredients. Innovative technology. Best-in-class products. Passion for coffee. It’s all there. 

With 120 years of combined expertise, the partnership between Dark Matter Coffee™ and Genuine Thermos® Brand means you get the best, freshest brew - delivered to you piping hot.

The Thermos Heritage Blend is a limited-edition custom roast that is made with high-quality, ethically sourced and expertly roasted beans. The intensely bold, dark roast is balanced with slightly sweet notes of darkened caramel, cocoa nibs and dark chocolate. 

This one-of-a-kind coffee will be available to Dark Matter Coffee and Thermos brand fans through online sweepstakes in 2016, starting with the Overnight Coffee Challenge launching on May 19. Simply put, we’re so confident in Genuine Thermos Brand’s vacuum insulation technology that we will ship piping hot coffee overnight to people’s doorsteps across the country. When it arrives the following morning, it will still be hot and ready to enjoy.

Follow Thermos on Facebook for updates and enter here for a chance to participate in the Overnight Coffee Challenge.

Happy National Thermos Brand Day from everyone at Dark Matter Coffee and Genuine Thermos Brand!

May 19, 2016 — Jake Kryshak
Press Pot Recordings Presents Brain Tentacles

Press Pot Recordings Presents Brain Tentacles

Brain Tentacles is the first coffee & music release from the DMC record label, Press Pot Recordings. This Chicago-centric label was created as an avenue to collaborate with some of Chicago's finest musicians, artists, record labels and others working hard in the music field. This celebration of Chicago's rich music history will also benefit Experimental Sound Studios, a valued asset in the music community and a trusted partner. 

Brain Tentacles is the name of both the coffee and one of the featured bands, a super group of sorts, consisting of drummer Dave Witte (Municipal WasteDiscordance Axis, etc.), saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Corrections HouseYakuza, etc.) and bassist Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul). This metal-meets-jazz group's grinds & grooves are infectious concoctions of brilliance. Sonic-ally balancing out the other side of the record is Wild Jesus & The Devil's Lettuce Party Band, a name that is familiar with DMC fans, as it consists of multiple DMC family members. Their latest release fits perfectly in your record bin with King Crimson, Mr. Bungle and 13th Floor Elevators. Recorded at Piehold Studios, down the street from The Mothership, on both analog instruments and tape that adds a warmth and depth listeners will appreciate. 

Both coffees are available individually or as a Press Pot Combo for a reduced price. The vinyl will be given out at the release party on April 20th at Sportsman's, with additional copies for sale from the band's sites, Wild Jesus & Brain Tentacles . DMC retail locations will also sell the Press Pot Combo w/a record while supplies last. 

Coffee #1  
Country: El Salvador 
Farm: Vista Hermosa 
Cultivar: Pacas Joven 
Process: Honey 

Coffee 2
Country: Guatemala 
Farm: San Jeronimo Miramar 
Cultivar: Catuai
Process: Bourbon barrel aged 

Notes: Hazelnut, Plum, Madagascar Vanilla 
Net Wt: 12 oz
New Store Hours!

New Store Hours!

NEW HOURS
To celebrate our recent increase in Daylight, we're taking a big leap into the future (don't be scared!) and extending our weekend hours at all locations. Our neighbors have been waking up earlier and so we're following suit and getting at those worms. Additionally, The Mothership is getting all growzed up and extending their weekend shifts to the full day, staying open til 6:00 pm. (Yes, that means Saturday & Sunday get three more hours of coffee fun!) 
Beginning the weekend of April 3-4, our new store hours are as follows: 
  • Star Lounge: 
    • Mon-Fri: 6am-9pm 
    • Sat-Sun: 6am-8pm
  • Osmium: 
    • Every day: 6am-9pm 
  • The Mothership: 
    • Every day: 6am-6pm 
March 20, 2016 — Kyle Hodges
Blood Fight!!

Blood Fight!!

Calling Street Fighters out there, DMC will be fueling the fighters as they go toe-to-toe on Saturday, April 9th at Ignite Gaming Lounge. We are putting some skin into this tournament, with DMC's own Rick "White Lightening" Joyce, the meanest son-of-a-bitch to ever grip a gaming controller. If you think you handle this bizness, then sign up for the tournament, featuring some cool prizes from DMC and Steel Series

 

March 18, 2016 — Kyle Hodges
Finca San Jeronimo Miramar

Finca San Jeronimo Miramar

A large group of employees recently went to visit our farming partners in Guatemala at Finca San Jeronimo Miramar. The group consisted of baristas, managers, office and roasters, all enjoying the chance to see how the coffee is actually made. For several, this was their first experience on a coffee farm, while others, it was a chance to reconnect with the beautiful land and generous people! 

Enjoy some of the pictures that help explain some of the different areas of the farm and how they are involved in creating all of the delicious coffee exclusively for DMC. 

Finca San Jeronimo Miramar Nursery
1.) Hybrid Nursery - an area near the main house on the farm. This nursery helps bring the new plants up to standard so they can be planted later into the fields. 
 
Bourbon Faro
An heirloom bourbon from Finca El Faro
Grafted coffee seedling
2.) Grafting - This technique is used to create new hybrids of plants, helping the farm to avoid disease and create new cultivars of coffee. This one has a robusta (used for rootstock) on the right & a soldier Catuai on the left. The end result is a tree resistant to rust & bearing tastier fruit.
Copper tips

3.) Copper tips - The end result of the grafts. Copper tips denote the rust resistant trees like robusta, typica, liberica...

Cola de Goya
4.) Cola de Goya - These red, palm like trees are grown to become Amarkers for lots of different cultivars & to allocate space throughout the fields.
 

 

5.) Volcanic Fields - A field of mature trees higher up the side of the Atitlan Volcano.

Lake Atitlan
6.) Lake Attitlan Sunrise - The lake is drawn through the base of the volcano, purifying the water even further and utilized in most facets necessary on the farm.
Tony & Sunflower
7.) Sunflower & Tony - the AGM & GM of The Mothership at origin, in the volcanic fields.
 

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2016 — Kyle Hodges
Pie, Pie My Darling!

Pie, Pie My Darling!

Pi Day with Pie Pie My Darling!

Monday, March 14th is Pi day and we want to give those scientific taste buds what they desire, PIE! But not just any pie will do, these are hand crafted toothsome creations that will satisfy all cravings. Pie Pie My Darling, will offer five different vegan pies: Raspberry Danish, Strawberry Poptart, PB&J, Mocha Meringue & Cookies & Cream.
Each pie can be pre-ordered for pick up at Star Lounge between 11am-6pm. Warning, these pies WILL SELL OUT that day, so we recommend pre-ordering your favorite one!

Pre-order deadline is Thursday, March 10th email: heather@piepiemydarling.com

Pie, Pie, My Darling will be selling mini-versions of Mocha Meringue and Cookies & Cream, with Star Lounge selling slices of the Raspberry Danish, Strawberry Poptart and PB&J during the day. (While supplies last)

Pi Day at Star Lounge Coffee Bar
Monday, March 14th
11:00am - 6:00pm

Slices $5 avialable at Star Lounge on 3.14
RASPBERRY DANISH
STRAWBERRY POPTART
PB&J
 
Pre-orders 6" or 10" pies for pick-up at the event
6" Mini - $12
10" Whole $30
*A limited number of 6" pies will be available for purchase at Star Lounge on the day of the event.
RASPBERRY DANISH
STRAWBERRY POPTART
PB&J
MOCHA MERINGUE
COOKIES & CREAM



*These are vegan pies, using the highest quality ingredients, however are not gluten free. Any other specific questions, please direct to Heather (heather@piepiemydarling.com) Thanks!

For a daily dose of inspiration, check Pie Pie My Darling's Instagram 

Raspberry Danish

Raspberry Danish

 

Strawberry Poptart

Strawberry Poptart

 

PB&J 

PB&J

 

Mocha Meringue 

Mocha Meringue

 

Cookies & Cream 

Cookies & Cream

 

 

March 04, 2016 — Kyle Hodges