Chris Chacko & The Craft

We at Sparrow Coffee believe roasting coffee is above all else a craft, honed and perfected over decades of pursuing perfection. Sparrow is not about volume roasting. Sparrow began as a means to showcase the artistry of one person, Chris Chacko, and his relentless pursuit of following a passion to handcraft exceptionally sourced coffees unlike any other.

One visit to our beautiful West Loop roastery in Chicago and it is easy to see how obsessive we are about everything we do, from our sourcing, to the way we cup and by doing right at our unwavering commitment to the environment. With a lifetime achievement approaching 100,000 roasts, which only a handful of individuals have achieved the world over, Chris remains true to the belief that every roast is his artistic interpretation of a coffee canvas using air, temperature and time to whet flavors hidden by Nature’s bounty.

Organic & Sustainably Sourced

Pushing the envelope in coffee roasting is at the heart of what we do; however, we do it while being responsible to the environment and the world around us. By sourcing sustainable, certified organic and “organic by default” coffees, we make a commitment to the betterment of all of us. Moving towards greener roasting methods means giving up nostalgic ideals of roasting coffee on ever polluting old rehabbed coffee roasters for a greater good. Coffee roasting should be a responsible endeavor, not one that generates large quantities of smoke with the need for afterburners that burn 5X the natural gas -- while emitting 5X the green house gases -- to burn off the smoke. An analogy would be using six gallons of gasoline to drive your car for one gallon’s worth of miles.

Our hybrid green coffee roaster generates no smoke giving our roast master the ability to create extraordinary creations cleanly without pollution without using an afterburner. We didn’t stop there. Roasting great coffee means not ignoring two decades of learning the craft. So we took it upon ourselves to modify our equipment so we can roast in ways never dreamed off. Depending on the origin, varietal and altitude grown, each coffee is “sous-vide” roasted (in the absence of oxygen) at critical points and traditionally fire-roasted at other increments during the roast to dramatically influence its acidity, sweetness, flavor, mouth feel and aromatics. This technique gives our coffee a new dimension never before possible and a way to offer very dark roasts without the burned, carbon elements and to develop light roasts with fruity overtones without aggressive acidity. Coffee takes on the character of fine wines, accentuating its uniqueness and its ability to pair not just with dessert but with any course.

The Roastery, Staying Green

Sparrow Coffee Roastery was established on Valentine’s Day, 2012 in the West Loop of Chicago by veteran coffee roaster Chris Chacko and seasoned coffee professionals. No working coffee roastery is closer to downtown and is situated nestled between restaurant rows of Randolph Street and Fulton Avenue within walking distance of Aviary, Blackbird, City Winery, Grace, Girl and the Goat, Moto and Next. The selection of our location is no accident. It is our intent to be in the company of exceptional chef-driven establishments showcasing our cutting-edge roasting techniques.

The founding principle of our roastery is “elevate the craft and do no harm.” In this spirit our coffee roasting equipment emits no smoke utilizing the latest advancements in hybrid-green technology with a hand-built American made coffee roaster that is as much a work of art as it is a technological marvel. We use 1/5 of the natural gas of a typical coffee roaster of equal size. We recycle and are working towards carbon neutrality. Even our name is conceptualized as symbolism for co-existing symbiotically with nature.