intelly: more than you wanted to know

May 31, 2006 – 10:12 pm


signs your coffee joint is comfortably profitable: orange-paneled la marzoccos and flat-screen order displays looming overhead — even though the order taker is about as far away as a technical judge at a barista competition.

somewhere after the clover-brewed yirgacheffe, before the capp-to-go and in between the macchiato and random black cat shottage the following questions posited themselves to this blog: has ever a trendy urban cafe taken so much space for a revolving door? who picked this music? will people assume i’m a nutcase blogger if i gargle this shot and snap a photo down my gorge? and where does hoffmann get his ideas?

but this was no doubt the synthesis of aneurysm-causing amounts of the brew. by which you could correctly deduce that this blog had a goodly time of it in chicago, where the money-sucking millenium park now features a giant reflective bean — ethiopian by the looks of it — that might as well say, out loud, to the milling thousands, that “they could really use a lemon-note, clover-produced yirg right about now.” this blog considered whipping out its razor-honed pallo tool and scratching, “intelly this way ——->” in the side, but, well …. that would have been too obvious.

clearly, we could ramble on about the chocolate, caramel and dried fruit notes in the infamous black cat, but then that’s what, like, everybody says. it definitely included notes of chocolate and caramel, though. also: dried fruit. ’twas a new location, this outpost, and the zesty citrus interior colors nicely set the mood for a lemon-drubbing at the hands of said yirg. others in our pack had the kenya, or the panama — all on the strength of this blog’s vehement clover salesmanship, of course. all horizons, it is safe to say, were widened.

to the untrained palate, however, the clover is more of a gradually realized phenomenon. for most, the first sip often disappointed. the second piqued. the third opened new flavor experiences, and so on. i got the distinct impression that the intelly baristi were a bit pleased to find a small gaggle of folks clamoring for the new device and chattering animatedly about the experience. still, even this blog’s friends openly mocked when it urged them to “let it idle on the back of the tongue.” such is the leper-like status of gospel-mongers.

the shots, they were smooth, if a bit hot-tasting. the clover beverages were all they are supposed to be — dramatically transparent canvases on which utter nincompoops (not you, nate. or you, robyn. or trinity. or …) can revel in the sundry characters these coffees bring to the table. the macc was supremely full-bodied and underscored the cat’s fruit. even the chicken panini impressed.

experiential summary the first: this blog severely regretted that it could not frequent all three locations. as it turns out, the throngs of pedestrians in town for the holiday weekend seem to have bizarrely coincided with the closure of the jackson node. experiential summary the second: the far-flung eyeballs that somehow force themselves into reading this blog is truly amazing. there is nothing more humbling — or hopelessly telling of our cheap-date internet times — than chatting with practised chicago baristi and discovering that they read this tripe flung together by a home junkie buried far south of the mason-dixon. this blog thanks you.

experiential summary the third: is it just this blog, or are there not-so-subtle coffee-bean thematics all over the danged place?


coming tomorrow: this blog’s one quibble with the mecca of the midwest!