At the end of Vincent Minelli’s classic musical Meet Me in St. Louis, the Smith family looks out over the 1904 World’s Fair and remarks “To think it’s in our hometown.” Today, St. Louis baristas can observe the local coffee scene and come to the same conclusion. Momentum is as strong as the the mighty Mississippi river and one of the companies at the heart of this caffeinated renaissance is Blueprint Coffee.
Pop into Blueprint from bustling Delmar Blvd. and you’ll find a coffee bar with an obvious intentionality, a harmonious balance of form and function. Perhaps this comes from the collective experience of the six coffee industry veterans who founded Blueprint in 2013. One only needs to find the trophy collection stashed just above the retail shelf to see their pedigree. But Blueprint is the opposite of a barista-oriented shop. From start to finish, the design is centered around the customer experience. Drinks are brought to your table. Dishes are bussed for you. Mobile POS systems means you can order from anywhere. Although this level of service is standard fair in Europe, in America it’s above and beyond. We’ve long felt that American specialty coffee needs to raise the hospitality bar, and Blueprint is paving the way.
The menu at Blueprint is smartly organized into two columns, one for the single origin espresso and one for the house blend, Penrose. I elected to order the sidecar- a single shot 5 oz. cappuccino with the other shot on the side- with Penrose espresso. Although I managed to spill my cap, I found the milk was perfectly textured. A properly made cappuccino is a rare commodity these days, but Blueprint is serving the real deal.
Next I ordered a pour-over of the Ethiopia Chiri per the recommendation of the barista. Actually all of the filter coffee at Blueprint is brewed to order on Hario V60s. It’s a labor intensive decision that many cafés are moving away from, but the speed and precision that Blueprint brewed my coffee with on a busy Sunday morning proves that manual brew methods still have a place in high volumes coffee shops.
Thanks to new washing stations and foreign investment, coffees from Western Ethiopia are improving dramatically and Blueprint’s Chiri showed the remarkable potential of the region. This cup featured many of the characteristics I love from Ethiopian coffee, including deep fruit notes and floral aromatics, but balanced by a rich sweetness and a surprisingly full body. As a Yirgacheffe fanatic, I was surprised to find I enjoyed this coffee more than most of the Yirgacheffes I’ve had this year.
Whether it’s cutting edge design, the elevated service, or the exceptional coffee, Blueprint is one of the most exciting coffee companies not just in the region, but in the country. We would rank this shop as a destination café worth planning a trip to St. Louis for.