Created from the vision of Mike Salvatore and his wife Melissa, Heritage Bicycles is somewhat the new kid on the block in Lincoln Park having been around since 2011. It is youthful with an old sold that makes it seem like they have graced Chicago with the finest coffee for several decades. Upon first glance you would think that Heritage Bicycles is the stereotypical warm and friendly coffee shop. It features cozy window seating, vintage decor, fresh pastries and an incredibly accommodating staff. This is by no means your average coffee shop as they are serving more than just coffee; they are also creating custom premium bikes for Chicagoans welded by hand in shop. This eco-friendly environment is a haven for both bike and coffee lovers. After hearing all the praise about Heritage’s coffee, I decided to take the plunge and have Heritage make my first cup of coffee.
Since I am a newbie in the world of coffee, I was quite overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. I decided to step outside my comfort zone, and stray away from a cappuccino and order a pour-over. I selected the Ethiopian Kurimi pour-over because of the promise of balanced flavors of honeysuckle and apricot. I wanted something smooth and sweet, so I was particularly drawn to the fruit filled elements of this beverage.
I realized that I was about to have the real deal in the world of coffee when they used the pour-over method. The pour over method originates in Japan and requires a lot of specifics when it comes to preparing your coffee. This isn’t something where you can just boil the water and let the coffee brew. Instead this method requires a specific kettle, high quality beans and an ounce of patience. Through this method you are delivering a measured amount of water in a duration of several minutes. While this can take a little bit more time and effort, there is going to be a difference between pour-over coffee versus other methods. For one, through the filtering process the flavors through the beans are brought out to their maximum intensity. With my Ethiopian Kurimi, this allowed the sweetness of the honey suckled and apricots to come out through the bean.
Several minutes had passed and my coffee had been fully brewed ready to be served. My server suggested that I taste the coffee without any additions so I can then decide what needs to be added. After my first sip, I soon realized, that it’s going to take more than one cup for me to find that perfect cup of coffee. To take away some of the initial bitterness, I added a few packets of sugar as well as some half and half. I’m not sure if this was the appropriate mixture, but these additions made my cup of coffee much more tolerable. I just added whatever I could get my hands on. I later learned that you don’t really add half and half to dark coffee; so I’m still a work in progress.
I’m pretty sure I destroyed what was already a great cup of coffee, but remember I’m a tea lover so coffee will take some getting used to. As I neared the bottom of my cup I developed more of an appreciation for the cup of coffee that sat before me. This artisanal blended cup featured care and detail that I’m not sure I would be able to find anywhere else. With the products being locally roasted, it’s rewarding to say that your cup of coffee is unique to Heritage Bicycles as well as Chicago. I especially admire their willingness to test out innovative techniques ensuring customers that they are getting the best and freshest product. That attention to detail and desire to evolve, is not present in all coffee shops but you will definitely be able to find it at Heritage.
Whether you want to relax, catch up with friends, make new friends, or study; I’m positive that anyone could find some solace in making a trip to the warm and inviting Heritage Bicycles. Just make sure you stop by early because I was doing some serious stalking just to ensure that I got a window seat for my shoot. It was difficult to find seating at first but mid afternoon the space began to calm. Everyone loves to be at Heritage, and once you make your visit you’ll soon understand why.
Go out and enjoy a nice cup of joe and please give me any tips you may have so that I know how to make my next cup of coffee correctly.
Special thanks to Jennifer of Jennifer Claire Photography for the beautiful images throughout this shoot.