Intelligentsia coffee is a Chicago-based chain of artisanal coffee shops.
As of 2008, it has 3 branches in Chicago, and 1 branch in Los Angeles, and its beans are served extensively in coffee shops in Chicago and elsewhere.
Geoff Watts is the green coffee buyer and roastmaster.
Ethics: Direct Trade
It does not participate in Fair Trade; instead, a number of its beans are sourced via its own Direct Trade program. Intelligentsia is not opposed to Fair Trade, but believes the Fair Trade model is not well-suited to boutique coffee, and that its own program serves its needs better.
Currently not all of its beans are Direct Trade, but this is planned.
- To Burundi and Beyond for Coffee’s Holy Grail by Peter Meehan (September 12, 2007)
- New York Times article on roasters, with an emphasis on the Direct Trade program.