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….
By Eli Keel
Blueprint is a young company that’s already making a name for themselves, in part by their willingness to show up in strange places and offer people a chance to taste their wares.
Blueprint makes a point of getting out on the road once every couple of months; “It’s fun to get out and meet people and get direct feedback,” said Brian Levine. Levine is one of the six co-owners of Blueprint. Along with Mike Marquard and Kevin Reddy, a full half of Blueprint’s partners were in attendance.
Blueprint likes to keep their line small and diverse. At the cupping they showcased all five of their roasts.
All their coffee’s are single origins; two from Columbia, one each from Ecuador, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a decaf from Guatemala.
Co-owner Mike Marquard said a few words before the cupping began, asking if we had any newbies in our midst, and then declared that the noobs were now officially “coffee nerds.”
While no poll was taken, many of the tasters (including myself) gravitated towards the Columbian coffee. “El Derrumbo” had a strong bright taste that managed to avoid an outright acidty.
The attendees showcased a broad swathe of Louisville coffee culture, including (unofficial) representatives from Argo Sons, Quills, Heine Brothers, and of course the hosts from McQuixote. This may speak to an emerging Louisville coffee culture that can focus on beans and love of the craft just as much as market share.
While Blueprint has no current plans to infiltrate the Louisville market, partner Brian Levine has family here, so they will hopefully bring their excellent coffee back for another tasting next time they are out and about the mid-south.
As the craft coffee industry has grown, cafe business models have gone high volume in heavily trafficked areas. Although we’re excited to see specialty coffee get larger and larger shares of venture capital, our favorite shops remain the ones that are a step ahead of the urban planners and real estate developers. These cafes pick a location not on retail potential but on community and character. It’s hard to find a better example than Sump Coffee in Saint Louis’s South City. …
Meet Me in St. Louis
St. Louis is the gateway to the West, home to the second most successful baseball team in history, and has produced such cultural luminaries as T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, and …