Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

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Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1995
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Key people
Doug Zell and Emily Mange
Products Coffee, Tea

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea is a coffee roasting company and retailer with its headquarters at 1850 W. Fulton Street in Chicago, Illinois. Intelligentsia has several cafe retail locations throughout the Chicago area. The company was founded in 1995 by Doug Zell and Emily Mange. They supply coffee to various Chicago-area cafes and restaurants, as well as other locations in the US and Canada.[1][2][3] They generally buy their beans directly from growers in Central America, South America, East Africa, and Ethiopia.[4] They currently operate four gas-powered Ideal Rapid Gothot Roasters at the Chicago Roasting Works. Two 90-kilo roasters and a 23-kilo reside in Chicago and a 40 kilo in Los Angeles. The machines date from the 1950s and were handcrafted from cast-iron and steel in Stuttgart, Germany.[4]

On August 17, 2007, Intelligentsia opened its first store outside of Chicago at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake, a district east of Hollywood in Los Angeles, California.[5] Intelligentsia has opened two additional stores in the Los Angeles area, in Venice and Pasadena.[6] In 2013, Intelligentsia opened its first store in New York City inside the High Line Hotel [7] The second New York City location opened in June 2014, inside the Urban Outfitters in Herald Square. This is the first location to offer a full food menu.[8] A 2008 decision to stop serving 20-ounce coffee and espresso beverages in stores was met with controversy. Zell stated that the proportions are altered at such large quantities and certain drinks become watered-down, arguing that 20-ounce drinks end up "masking and adulterating the pure, intense flavors we work hard to source, roast and produce. We don't want this to just be a caffeine delivery device." [9]

In 2009 they acquired Ecco Caffè of Santa Rosa, California, and have retained the brand.[10]


The sidewalk cafe outside the coffee shop.

In 2006, Intelligentsia was included on several local[11][12][13] and national[14][15][16] best-of lists. One of their baristas also won national and international honors.[17][18]

It has been winning local best of list recognition since 2000.[19][20][21][22] In 2005, the local[23][24][25][26] recognition extended to national[27] recognition. In 2006, Intelligentsia has been included on several local[28] and national[29][30][31] "best" lists.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hot" Chicago Restaurants get custom blends from Intelligentsia.
  2. ^ Intelligentsia in LA
  3. ^ Wicked Cafe in Vancouver, Canada serves Intelligentsia
  4. ^ a b Shernoff, Leon, "Intelligentsia, more Cedars, Come to Co-op", ever Green, March 2007, Vol. 60, #3.
  5. ^ Scattergood, Amy, "A Lucky Break For Drip Coffee", LA Times, March 14, 2007
  6. ^
  7. ^ Hancock, Alexander (2013-05-08). "Intelligentsia's Very First NYC Outpost Is So Open". NY Eater. 
  8. ^ Morabito, Greg (2014-06-09). "Intelligenstia Opens in Herald Square Urban Outfitters". NY Eater. 
  9. ^ Eng, Monica (2008-07-09). "Small. Medium. Gone.". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  10. ^ Dicum, Gregory (April 8, 2010). "Small Bay Area Coffee Roasters Spread Out". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ #2 in Chicago Citysearch Best Coffee category 2006
  12. ^ AOL Cityguide - Best of Chicago 2006
  13. ^ Chicago Magazine Best Coffee November 2006
  14. ^ 10 great places to get jazzed about great java, USA Today, March 3, 2006.
  15. ^ Best boutique roasters 2006
  16. ^ Best Expresso Blend December 18, 2006
  17. ^ ABC U.S. Barista Championship story May 10, 2006
  18. ^ U.S. and World Barista Championship results.
  19. ^ Best Coffee Bar - Citysearch 2000
  20. ^ Best cup of coffee - Citysearch 2001
  21. ^ Best coffee - Citysearch 2002
  22. ^ Best coffee - Citysearch 2004
  23. ^ AOL Cityguide Winner, Best Coffeehouse 2005
  24. ^ Best coffee - Citysearch 2005
  25. ^ Chicago Magazine - Best Beans 2005
  26. ^ Newcity Magazine Best place to buy beans and Best place to buy tea leaves
  27. ^ Best coffeehouse - Playboy April 2005
  28. ^ "Best Coffeehouse" by New City Chicago for 2006
  29. ^ Zagats 2006 America's Best Beverage Bets (Best Cup of Regular Coffee, Best Espresso, Best Seasonal Coffee or Tea Beverage)
  30. ^ Fastcompany.c0m - 12 Best Coffees
  31. ^ Roast Magazine - Roaster of the Year for 2007

External links[edit]