The Imperfect Digest

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Maker Spotlight: Sputnik Coffee Company

Maker Spotlight: Sputnik Coffee Company

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Today, we’re spotlighting our friends at Sputnik Coffee Company, which was born from the notion that coffee can and should be delicious and affordable. Unsatisfied with the lackluster brews in their office coffee pots, the Sputnik founders began to roast coffee in the comfort of their homes but soon discovered that replacing bland blends inside and outside the workplace proved to be cumbersome and expensive. What first began as a modest quest for quality coffee would take off to become one of Chicago’s notable roasters.

Today, they operate out of Chicago’s historic Back of the Yards neighborhood and we’re excited to announce that all of our customers in the Midwest can now add Sputnik coffee to their Imperfect boxes! We’re helping them move some coffee that had a minor printing error on the packaging. Since the barcodes won’t scan, they can’t be sold in stores. We jumped at the chance to work with one of our favorite coffee roasters and give you an especially good deal on their coffee. Be sure to keep an eye for it when you customize your next box. Read on to learn more about their mission, their favorite coffee pairings, and more.

Imperfect Produce: Tell us about Sputnik!

Sputnik Coffee Company: Sputnik Coffee Company is an employee-owned and operated coffee roastery and café from Chicago’s Southside. Sputnik was born from the radical notion that coffee could and should not only be affordable and accessible but also, most importantly, delicious. 

IP: What is the mission and vision?

SCC: At Sputnik, we make it our daily mission to provide a dependable, approachable, delicious cup of coffee. Whether you visit our roastery in the city or are enjoying a cup in the comfort of your kitchen, we want to make our coffee readily available to anyone. Whether you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur or more of a simple cup of joe, there’s room for you.

IP: How does Sputnik promote ingenuity and inclusive dialogue about the coffee industry?

SCC: We realize that craft coffee culture can be intimidating and not always approachable, but we want to change that. You don’t have to be part of the VIP club to enjoy great coffee. In order to set ourselves apart and be more accessible, we knew we needed to get creative. From our simple brown kraft bags that feature eight languages (English, Spanish, Russian, French, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic) to our down-to-earth price point, we not only apply this philosophy when we make our medium roast but also carry it across to our customer’s café experience. Come to our shop, watch us roast, ask us questions, and bask in the aroma of deliciously different coffee. 

IP: Tell us about your sourcing.

SCC: Sputnik sources directly from Royal Coffee, a family-owned and operated importer of specialty green coffees. They work directly with coops in Brazil and Colombia and ensure that our coffee is being responsibly sourced and that farmers are paid and treated fairly.

IP: What are some of your favorite things to pair coffee with?

SCC: Personally, we favor the pairing of coffee and chocolate. Coffee typically enhances the depth and darkness of chocolate and we can't think of anything better than combining those two with some fresh Imperfect chiles for a decadent mole, which is a traditional Mexican sauce that typically combines chocolate, coffee, pumpkin seeds, and roasted chiles like poblanos, anchos, or chipotles. Even easier, achieve those bold flavors with a Mexican hot chocolate/mocha. Add some cinnamon and cayenne pepper into mix and voila!

IP: How do you fight food waste in your kitchen? 

SCC: As an operating coffeehouse, that means that we brew A LOT of coffee and that means we produce a lot of coffee grounds. All those coffee grounds are donated to local gardens around the city or utilized in our composts back home. 

IP: Favorite piece of produce?

SCC: Sweet potatoes, hands down! So versatile, colorful, and beautiful!

For more, follow along with them on Instagram and be sure to try out their coffee in your next Imperfect box!

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