Black-owned, woman-owned coffee company opens pop-up
BY TIA CAROL JONES
Chicago French Press began as an online coffee destination, offering an assortment of organic, freshly roasted coffee. On Saturday, Sept. 5, it became an in-store coffee experience with a pop-up, located in the Roosevelt Collection, 150 W. Roosevelt Road.
Chicago French Press was started by Howard University grad Kris D. Christian. Christian started her company to provide a sweeter, silkier tasting option for coffee drinkers.
“I was in the office coffee room and I was tasting really bitter, stale coffee and I was like ‘ding, ding, ding, there should be an alternative coffee option out there where it’s already sweet and you don’t have to add loads of sugars and creamers into your coffee just to make it taste good.’ I was also tired of the standard flavors that you typically hear, your hazelnuts or your vanillas,” she said.
Christian wanted to introduce different flavors like coconut cream and chocolate blueberries, very unique pairings that she would enjoy. So, she started the journey to teach herself about coffee, to become a coffee enthusiast, connoisseur and advocate.
When Christian started her business, Fame Enterprises, she learned about e-commerce and marketing. In 2017, she used what she learned to create Chicago French Press as the online coffee destination where people can purchase coffee in single bags or as a subscription service.
Coffee lovers can choose from different grinds, brewing methods, as well as flavor profiles. Flavors include peach nectar, caramel apple, snickerdoodle, orange crème, lemon brulee and pina colada.
“From the very beginning, we focused on brewing your own coffee at home,” she said. “It was through COVID —because more consumers were starting to brew their coffee at home—[that] they were able to try Chicago French Press for the first time.”
Christian said the pop-up will allow people to taste the coffee so they can take it and brew it at home. She said she wants to bridge that gap so people feel they can enjoy coffee, without needing an espresso machine or feeling like they have to be a Barista.
At the pop-up, there will be signature sips, with specialty beverages, highlighting Chicago French Press’ maple pecan, chocolate blueberry, coconut crème and the Black Tuxe Ethiopian coffees. She said her favorite at the moment is the coconut lavender latte, made with the coconut crème coffee, homemade lavender syrup and topped with toasted coconut flakes. There will also be a blueberry mocha and a maple pecan macchiato.
Christian acknowledges that the Black Lives Matter movement and people being intentional about supporting Black-owned businesses also had something to do with people purchasing from Chicago French Press. For that, she is grateful, but she hopes people continue to support her business and the pop-up.
Christian said she hopes it is a purpose-driven space, where she can host events. She said she is looking forward to having the opportunity to connect with the community, re-energize people and make an impact with the sale of the coffee.
Chicago French Press also donates 5 percent of the sales to underserved communities and the company works with non-profit organizations in the city to support their programs.
“We are black-owned, we are women-owned [and] women-powered. We are local and community-oriented,” she said. “I hope they’re filled with energy, not just with the caffeine and the caffeine with the coffee, but just the positive energy we can bring with community.”