A barista brews specialty coffee at Blueprint Coffee in St. Louis.

See What’s Brewing at Blueprint Coffee in St. Louis

Wednesday November 22, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

Some days, there’s nothing better than your first sip of coffee, so it’s essential to find a coffee roaster that serves fresh, high-quality beans with your favorite flavor profile.

Blueprint Coffee, a specialty roaster in St. Louis, offers everything from sweet Guatemalan coffee with notes of chocolate stout and molasses cookies to earthy Ethiopian instant coffee with hints of blueberry jam and chocolate ganache to malty Colombian decaf coffee with touches of graham cracker, apple and brown sugar. During the holidays, the panettone-inspired blend – which is reminiscent of pastry crust, dried fruit, caramel, citrus peel and vanilla – also entices.

“The country of origin affects the flavor profile,” Cher Denny, green buyer at Blueprint Coffee, explains, “as does the way that the beans are processed. On one side of the spectrum, you’ll find bright, juicy, floral coffees – a washed Ethiopian coffee is a good example. On the other side, you’ll find robust, chocolaty, nutty coffees such as a natural Brazilian coffee.

“The natural process is more traditional,” she continues, “and today, it’s considered more sustainable. The washed process uses a lot of water, but it gives coffee a clean mouthfeel, which many people prefer.”

Whether you like washed or natural, single-origin or blends, fruity or chocolaty, Blueprint Coffee can oblige.

Want coffee delivered to your doorstep? Sign up for the pay-as-you-go specialty coffee subscription. If you gravitate toward coffees from Africa or you want to try bolder flavors or you can’t drink coffee without milk, no worries – Blueprint Coffee can customize every shipment to your preference.

A customer enjoys a specialty coffee outside of Blueprint Coffee in the Delmar Loop.
Photo courtesy of Blueprint Coffee

If you don’t want to make your own cup of Joe, head to one of Blueprint Coffee’s three coffee bars in the St. Louis area. At each, the team focuses on quality, execution and customer service – and they serve coffee in glass beakers, Breaking Bad style.

“We let customers choose their own adventure,” Mike Marquard, founding member and director of the roastery at Blueprint Coffee, says. “If they don’t know what they want, though, they can enlist our baristas as their guides.”

Insider tip: Culture vultures will love the Blueprint Coffee location at High Low in the Grand Center Arts District, where they can enjoy a steaming brew from the Gamatui Community in Uganda – plus, a pastry! – while perusing the latest exhibition in the art gallery at the back.

Afterwards, walk through The Walls Off Washington, an outdoor art initiative by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, which features 20 vibrant murals created by local, national and international artists. Covering the side of High Low, Kenny Scharf’s Kranzbergville includes four “buildings.” Painted yellow, emerald, purple and tangerine, respectively, each building resembles an animated face with windows for eyes, spray-painted noses and doors for mouths.

The coffee bar inside High Low bustles.
Photo courtesy of Blueprint Coffee

Blueprint Coffee fosters relationships with coffee producers and sources green coffee, or unroasted coffee beans, from around the world, playing a key role in the mutually beneficial loop of producers, vendors, wholesale partners and customers that the company seeks.

“Good coffee must be good from the start,” Marquard emphasizes. “We’re dedicated to a more transparent way of serving coffee.”

Sourcing green coffee from eight to 10 countries a year, Blueprint Coffee creates partnerships that give farmers more stability. “When we commit to purchasing coffee from particular farmers harvest over harvest, they know when they’re going to get paid, which allows them to invest in their farms,” Denny says. “They also know that they’re going to get paid more than market price, which allows them to improve their quality of life.”

Due to seasonality, Blueprint Coffee only carries individual coffees for three to four months a year. That said, if you fall in love with a coffee – say, the beans from Gallito de las Rocas in Peru that produce a bright, medium-bodied coffee with notes of stone fruit, orange blossom water and candied apple – it will come back next year thanks to the company’s enduring partnerships.

“We want to give people access to specialty coffee, so they can better understand it and its impact on communities in the countries of origin,” Denny says. “At Blueprint Coffee, we’re striving for sustainability and success across the coffee industry.”

The Lindenwood Park location of Blueprint Coffee is in a former service station.
Photo courtesy of Blueprint Coffee

After 10 years in business, Blueprint Coffee continues to find new ways to grow, innovate and connect with coffee lovers. When you’re in St. Louis, consider taking a class such as Intro to Espresso or Origin Deep Dive.

 “Our classes offer an hour to two of informed coffee content,” Marquard says. “All of them include tastings, and some of them have hands-on activities like steaming milk.”

Soon, customers will also reap the benefits of Blueprint Coffee’s new 11,000-square-foot facility. Expected to open in the Tiffany neighborhood in spring 2024, the facility will house the company headquarters, training center, quality lab and a bigger, better roastery.

“Consolidating the entire business into one facility opens up endless possibilities,” Marquard says. “We encourage you to stop by one of our coffee bars to see what’s brewing.”