I will be taking a trip to Chicago July 15-18th and would love to be able to stop in and see some operations in the Chicago area. When I look on the web, mostly I see Charbucks stores. Any suggestions?
Intelligentsia Coffee is a "must see" for you - they have a few cafe's and a roastery. Intelly's "Black Cat" espresso is very popular. Perhaps more interesting are some of their special purchase coffees such as Cup of Excellence auction lots.
Metropolis is a great independent roaster. Their "Redline Espresso" is well-balanced and makes a nice beverage component.
When you are travelling, you might try the cafe locator that I use. It won't highlight roasting facilities (unless they operate cafe's), but it lists *$ and independent cafe's. Some of the cafe's are dull, but some are interesting...and you strike me as someone who can learn from other's mistakes as well as their successes. I found Coffee Hound in Bloomington Il. and Alterra in Wisc. by the delocator and they were both quality purveyors of fresh coffee.
Someone did put me in touch with Tony @ Met. So, I'm excited to see them. I have to see about Intelligentsial though. I was hoping to get in n a tour to see their roasting, but I don't know if it will happen. I can always just stop in for a cap, though.
When I visit a town, I like to drink my way through it (coffee-wise!). I just realized how that read. LOL
Had an awesome trip! Visited Metropolis (I am not worthy!) and Intelligentsia. I also stopped at another little indy place in Boystown that was pretty neat. Visited a Carabou, which was awful. We don't have nay near us, so it was a novel thing. Loved the decor, but not the espresso. My time there was a little limited but I did have a great experience.