Logan Square has an array of coffee shops and roasters, each with a character and culture of their own. But on Jan. 30, a new coffee roaster arrived, merging the traditions of Italy with a contemporary feel that really compliments the neighborhood.
If you’re traveling east on Armitage Avenue towards Milwaukee Avenue and you see a giant ruby-red building with a cool logo of a griffin emblazoned on it, you’ve arrived at Caffé Umbria.
Caffé Umbria (2545 W. Armitage Avenue) is a the second location for the Seattle-based brand, having opened a coffee and espresso bar in the John R. Thompson Building in River North.
The Armitage location is a more ambitious and decidedly more impressive definition of a European cafe experience, featuring a roastery, coffee training lab and cafe. It is a 9,000 square foot building formerly known as the Armitage Avenue Car Barn, a warehouse for railroad cars from the early 20th century.
The 2,500 square foot roastery area contains a massive, 30-kilogram Italian-made STA Impianti roaster, meticulously helmed by Master Roaster Emanuele Bizzarri. Annamaria Gatlin, marketing director for Caffé Umbria, told me of Emanuele’s illustrious background in the art of roasting.
“Emanuele is a third-generation Master Roaster, going back to his grandfather Ornello to his father Umberto, who brought their style of roasting coffee beans from Italy after World War Two. From Italy to Seattle to Chicago, there’s a great deal of history involved,” Gatlin said.
And like an underlying flavor of a great cup of coffee, the Italian mambo ensemble La Tosca played Italian songs for the guests, even covering the theme from “The Godfather” that made me feel like I was in Sicily, drinking espresso in an olive grove.