Dark Matter Coffee Fernet

Fernet, a blend of booze and botanicals, is the liquid equivalent of a sucker punch; a hit of bitter you don't see coming until your mouth is puckering and you're cursing the bartender who slid the glass across the rail. But once the sting goes away, you start to taste what's under the bitter: layers of black licorice, tobacco and saffron, with a hint of sweet before a menthol finish. And you realize: This stuff is good.

Upgrade that to great with the launch of Fernet-Dogma, a Midwestern twist on the traditionally Italian spirit. Bartenders Alex Renshaw, Clint Rogers and Brian Sturgulewski of The Dogma Group, the team behind the bar menus at spots like Presidio, Bordel and The Dawson, partnered with CH Distillery to create their own version, now on sale by the bottle ($38) and pour ($9) at CH (564 W. Randolph St., 312-707-8780).

"Most fernets on the market are similar, so we thought it would be cool to start with some of the traditional elements — lemon peel, chamomile, eucalyptus, saffron — but go a little different," Renshaw says. Inspired by the Italian custom of pairing fernet with espresso, "we ended up with a coffee fernet, using Dark Matter coffee and botanicals from Rare Tea Cellar in Ravenswood. It's all local."

To help the coffee flavor pop, they rested the spirit in Four Roses bourbon barrels for a month before bottling.

"Dark Matter works really well because their coffee has this chocolatey quality, which is a nice back note to that initial bitterness of the fernet," Sturgulewski says. "The master distiller at CH worked really hard on it to make sure it was balanced; that you don't taste it and say, 'Wow, this is incredibly bitter!' and there's nothing else going on. It's complex."

Drink Fernet-Dogma straight, or add it to cocktails; Bordel (1721 W. Division St., 773-227-8600) has a drink on the menu using pisco, coconut liqueur, lime juice and "a little bit of the fernet," Renshaw says.

"It's seductive," Sturgulewski adds.

*This article originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, July 20, 2015 written by Marissa Conrad


Twitter @marissa_conrad

July 22, 2015 — Accounting DMC

Dark Matter Coffee Hangs With Its Favorite Lollapalooza Artists

Lollapalooza asked our Minister of Propaganda, Kyle Hodges, what bands he would want to hangout with and where he would take them. 



In partnership with our friends at Do312, we’ve asked several of Chicago’s tastemaker-types to put their own unique spin on the typical city guide. Leading up to this year’s fest, we’ll be showcasing different lists of local spots – tailored to this year’s Lolla lineup. We’ve already caught up with Eric Strom of GlitterGuts and Dom Brown from Porn and Chicken, now we check in with Kyle Hodges from Dark Matter Coffee.


Beachwood Inn is a small bar with no bullshit. You get a beer, a shot and chill out. This is the kind of dive bar that is inviting without being just a complete dump. Like your dad’s old basement bar, you feel at home.


Stacked with some of the most sought after instruments and gear in the country, this is a mecca for any musician. Chances are that some of these bands will be playing instruments from CME, as they are supplier of those hard-to-find items on technical riders.


Home to Chicago’s best coffee and the perfect stop to get the rust off from the night before. We would hit their HQ, The Mothership, for some secret blends, or a personal cupping session.


The history of this place speaks volumes of how and why Chicago is important to the world of music. The building serves double duty, as the home of both Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation and Chess Records, the label that helped put Chicago Blues, R&B and Soul on the map.


Everyone needs a break from touring, who doesn’t like nature and the beauty that it beholds? With both indoor and outdoor flower gardens and a lake, it’s easy to push aside any stress. If we are lucky there will be someone throwing a BBQ or picnic that we can hijack.

A recovering record store owner/employee, this Indianapolis native has called Chicago home for the last several years. Now the Minister of Propaganda at Dark Matter Coffee, Kyle Hodges oversees the curation of DMC’s music & art collaborations, partnerships and brand development. When not gorging himself on coffee & donuts, you can find him digging at record stores for a first pressing, still sealed copy of INXS ‘Kick LP’.

Maplewood Stock 2015 - Dark Matter Coffee 7th Anniversary Celebration

 Anniversary Party!

We wanted to extend another heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who came to celebrate our 7th anniversary last weekend. Through the generous support from the breweries, food vendors and everyone in attendance, we were able to raise $6600 for Hope For The Day!! What a wonderful way to extend much needed support and love, so thank you again!

A special thanks to Collin Diederich for the video recap below!


Beer Companies 
18th Street Brewing 
3 Floyd's Brewing
5 Rabbit Brewing  

Against The Grain
Anchor Brewing 
Arcade Brewing
Atlas Brewing  
Band of Bohemia 
Brickstone Brewing 
Brooklyn Brewery
Central State Brewing 
Dark Horse Horse
Devil's Trumpet 
Dogfish Head  
Forbidden Root Brewing Co
Goose Island Brewing Co
Half Acre Beer Co
Haymarket Brewing 
Lagunitas Brewing Co
Local Option Bier
Marz Community Brewing 
Metropolitan Brewing 
Middle Brow 
Off Color 
Pipeworks Brewing
Revolution Brewing  
Torn Label 

Spirits & Support 
Archie's Iowa Tavern 
Audiophile Ink
Death's Door Spirits
Nevada: Tabb's Food & Liquor 
Puerto Rico Food & Liquor 


Kind Bar
Roots Pizza 
Sauce & Bread 

Whole Foods 



Alma Negra 
Ben Ezra

Black Bear Combo 
Buckingham Palace SVU
Stv Slv 
Twinpeaks DJs 
Wild Jesus 

Audio Sound: Big Audio

Brown Acid Espresso Blend (Limited Blend July 2015)

"To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?" Woodstock 1969 

When the famous words were echoed from the microphone to the crowd at Woodstock, the legend of Brown Acid was born. While the folklore of this drug and many others during this time of enchantment, it was hard to pin-down if the acid was actually good or bad. According to one very experienced attendee, the acid was so pure, people mistakenly took more than one hit. A fair number of these people where novices, inadvertently labeling their experience as a "bad trip", instead of just a very intense one. The resemblance between Brown Acid then and our version now shares a similar characteristic when it comes to purity.  

Released once, four years ago, Brown Acid is our answer to the common approach to third wave espresso: bright, clean and vibrant, blending similar cultivars, from the same country, but three different farms.

These three farms share similar care in farming and a beautiful mill where they process and dry. The largest factor in their differences are their degrees of fermentation: washed, semi washed and natural. Each coffee was strategically placed in this blend to bring out the best in each bean. 

We begin with sparkling washed beans from Santa Elena, an established farm in El Salvador, which commonly places in the Cup of Excellence, among other awards. With its particular style of processing, the semi washed bourbon from Las Nubes, contributes body and sweetness. Santa Josefita, on the conservative side of dry-processing, is a natural processed that brings juicy fruit and acidity to the blend. 

Country: El Salvador
Farm: Santa Elena
Cultivar: Mixed (Bourbon, Catuai, Pacamara)
Process: Washed (Low Fermentation)
Country: El Salvador
Farm: Las Nubes
Cultivar: Bourbon
Process: Semi Washed (Moderate Fermentation)
Country: El Salvador
Farm: Santa Josefita
Cultivar: Bourbon
Process: Natural
Notes: Pear, Green Apple, Lime
Net Wt. 12oz

Pick-up orders can be grabbed at the location/times below. 
The Mothership
738 N Western Ave  
Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm

For Brown Acid, we tapped the Chicago record label Trouble In Mind, purveyors of psychedelic pop and garage rock. Run by a husband & wife duo, Bil & Lisa Roe, two industry veterans who's releases have brought US, Australian and European bands to the music scene.(Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone lists Ultimate Painting's "Woken By Noises" is one of his favorite's of 2015) Having great success with new releases, the label has also recently began reissuing classic albums. The most current, Del Shannon, was a labor of love for the label and proves that Bill & Lisa will be around for a long time!

We will be releasing two different mixes for this collaboration, a cassette version and a CD version. The cassette will be a shorter mix, highlighting the labels releases - the CD will feature a longer, psychedelic path of music, featuring some from the same artists. Both mixes are also available via our Mixcloud for streaming. 
July 13, 2015 — Jesse Diaz

Soul Summit (Limited Blend)

Soul Summit 


Chicago has a long and storied history with Soul music - it's part of what makes this city's heart beat. Soulis also the communicational connection that helps everyday people with whatever ails them.  

With the reemergence of Soul music increasingly gaining more awareness within popular music, there are those individuals who dedicate their music journey to dusting off old records, highlighting current bands and blending them all together to create something exciting and fresh. Soul Summit are one such group that host a monthly Soul dance party at the acclaimed Double Door in Chicago. Each month Dave Mata, Duke Grip & Sloppy White bring in a who's who of DJs, bands and music producers to their party, making it one helluva night to get all hot & sweaty on the dance floor. 

Being big fans of both the music and the event, DMC & Soul Summit teamed up to bring the Soul Summit blend and mixtape CDs. This blend is no jive friends, just straight to the point with it's black gold brew - using two of our washed coffees from El Salvador, El Condor and San Eduardo. El Condor is a tasty, straight-forward coffee, while the Eduardo washed has classic Salvadoran flavors. Notes of melon, cocoa and lemon make this a dance floor filler that will put the soul back in your day with every sip. 

There are 3 mix cds, one from each Soul Summit resident: Dave Mata, Duke Grip & Sloppy White, that will be given out for FREE, while supplies last, with each bag purchased. We will also be giving out a batch of these heaters at Soul Summit on Saturday, June 21st at the Double Door. Along with the three resident DJs, Soul Suffers, from Russia, will be the featured band  and admission is also FREE !! What could be better than sweatin' to some classic Soul music on a Saturday night? 

To grab a bag of this classic brew just click here. To hear a mini mix of all three mixtapes combined, hop on over to our mixcloud

Open Windows (Limited Blend)

Open Windows 

Last year this time was devastating to our community. Coffee lost a friend. Chicago lost a brother. The insight and innovation that Jim Karr taught us still holds strong today and his friendship, compassion and presence are missed. To commemorate Jim's life and his inspiration to all of us, we are releasing a coffee with our brethren in his honor. Open Windows is a collaboration between DMC, Metropolis Coffee & Quasar Coffee. Special thanks for the brilliant bag and text, written below, from Timothy Breen.  

"Jim Karr had a desire to engage with people. He set out manifesting this action through boundless friendships and through tireless work in the coffee community. He made no designation between the two. In creating Steam Volt there were regular discussions about the responsibility of business, and how great collaborative efforts must be driven by the hard-fought personal convictions. After all of the noise settles down the good ideas come in through the open windows. Jim was that open window for a lot of us, a sounding board and encouraging voice amidst a complicated work/life scenario. His memory will always be a guiding force. Seems appropriate then, with this bag of coffee in his honor, to let some light in and see what can be seen."  
From Metropolis:
Country: Colombia
Coop: Grupo Asociativo Cafe Andino Especial
Region: Huila 
Cultivar: Caturra
Process: Washed (low fermentation)
From Dark Matter:
Country: El Salvador
Farm: Vista Hermosa
Region: Santa Ana
Cultivar: Pacas "Joven"
Process: Pulped Natural (moderate fermentation)
Notes: Brown Sugar, Toffee, Baked Goods 
The music mixtape was constructed by Konstantine Jace and features a rare collection of old Blues, Jazz and Pop Standards, all from 78 rpm shellac records. A fitting soundtrack for Jim's superb taste. Listen

Judas Priest - British Steel

To celebrate the 35th Anniversary of British Steel, Dark Matter Coffee and Judas Priest present the ultimate hesher coffee. On April 14th, the actual day of the original release, the coffee and cassette combo was unleashed via the DMC website and our three Chicago retail locations. Each bag of British Steel coffee will come with a old school cassingle, featuring "Grinder" and "Snakebite". (While supplies last.)