BUCKTOWN — Popular neighborhood coffee shop Ipsento is looking to expand its wholesale operation.
"The Milwaukee and Western intersection hadn't seen much attention other than Belly Shack [at 1912 N. Western]. Beyond just coffee for me, it's part of creating something more craft-oriented and vibrant on that corner," said Tim Taylor, 33, owner of Ipsento Coffee.
Ipsento Coffee announced the news of its expansion in a Facebook post on Thursday, which said the storefront at 1955 N. Western Ave. will be ready in six weeks.
In its first five years, Ipsento Coffee at 2035 N. Western Ave. has grown from three employees to 12 under the direction of Taylor, who took over the coffee shop in April 2009 after it was donated to him by members of a local church.
Taylor described the new 300-square foot space as a roasting facility, quality-control lab and training room that will contain two large roasters, an espresso machine and high counters for "cupping, slurping and tasting."
Taylor said there will be "a bunch of geeky coffee lab equipment" in the room and "a nice big glass window, so people can walk by and see tastings and training."
Ipsento supplies coffee to Lovely Bakery, which operates three locations; Overflow Coffee Bar in the South Loop and Fab Cakes, among others.
The roasting room, which won't be open to the public, is located next to the drive-thru of a neighboring McDonald's, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Taylor.
"The dream is to bring craft back and get people thinking," Taylor said.
In addition to the expansion, Ipsento Coffee's original location — rated among America's best independent coffee shops — will undergo a remodeling that will create more space for its customers.
Taylor plans to build "a standing spot for sipping and going" at its original location, as well as rearrange the seating in the cafe to create more space for people walking in and out.
If all goes as planned, Taylor said the roasting room will open on the coffee shop's fifth anniversary on April 1.