Passion Project & Big Shoulders Coffee Works | Chicago

Two exciting newcomers on the local coffee scene

Chicago is a veritable coffee boomtown, with more than a dozen local roasters. These two newcomers are worth sipping and watching.

One to drink: Part roasting works and part community project, Passion House Coffee Roasters shares a Kinzie Corridor warehouse space with artist collective The Infusion Project. Using a refurbished antique Probat Roaster, owner Joshua Millman produces seasonal, light-roasted single-origin beans, available for sale online and brewed at Alliance Bakery, City Grounds, Sacco Bruno and Sweetcakes. While Passion House doesn't have a retail storefront, Millman regularly opens the warehouse for weekly cuppings and a monthly live art show to benefit local community projects.

One to watch: After years of making small-batch roasts for friends and family, farmer-turned-chef-turned-coffee roaster Tim Coonan is turning his hobby into a full-time position with Big Shoulders Coffee Works. Its 1,000-square-foot production facility has a straightforward focus on lighter-roasted micro-lots from around the world. Wholesale production rolls out at the end of March, with the first bags of El Salvador hitting the shelves at Farmers Pride Market and Amish Healthy Foods in Chicago, and Vinic Wine Company in Evanston. Commuters can grab a cup on the go at Big Shoulders' storefront, now open at 1105 W. Chicago Avenue.