Barista's Choice

By D.J. Costantino | Clay Williams

By

D.J. Costantino
Clay Williams
Espresso Sour: La Palma y El Tucan natural Gesha, Lemon, Egg White, Simple Syrup, and Strawberry Essence
Espresso Sour: La Palma y El Tucan natural Gesha, Lemon, Egg White, Simple Syrup, and Strawberry Essence

With three Elixr cafe and beans on the shelves of Philly’s most loved eateries, Evan Inatome is bringing nuanced cups of speciality coffee to greater Philadelphia. He’s made a national name for Elixr in roasting competitions and as an investor in barista talent. T. Ben Fischer was runner-up at the 2018 Barista Championship, and Elixr hosted the inaugural Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp, a program that coaches baristas from communities who may otherwise have less access to training.

Inatome also gives his barista team the opportunity to design singular coffee experiences for this coffee-obsessed city. On Saturday mornings at Elixr’s flagship cafe and roastery on 12th Street, a barista guides guests through a “coffee omakase.” For just $20, customers drink five small-lot coffees—natural, washed, single varietal, espresso, and sometimes competition-grade—black or in signature drinks. The “omakase” format is part simulation of barista competitions like the World Barista Championship and part nod to Inatome’s Japanese heritage.

When you sit behind the Elixr counter, you might drink a washed coffee from La Palma y El Tucan in Colombia or an espresso sour where dry ice is used to envelop a mug with strawberry aroma. On another day, baristas may take Girl Scout Cookies and turn them into a latte with housemade caramel, chocolate, and a crushed cookie garnish. “It’s an exercise in making sick drinks,” says Inatome. “You don’t get good at it unless you practice.”

Elixr baristas are encouraged to practice on the top-of-the line, competition-sponsored equipment and develop their own tasting menus. As a bonus, they take home the profits from seatings that they sell.

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