NORTH CENTER — Do coffee lovers drink cold brew in the winter?
"I'm banking on it but you know, I really don't know yet," said David Finseth, 24, co-owner of Tall Tale Coffee.
He's about to find out.
Finseth and his partners in caffeine — Amir Badri, 22; Logan Conner, 33; and Clifton Frei, 34 — have opened a semi-permanent pop-up "taproom" inside ServYoSelf frozen yogurt, 2024 W. Montrose Ave.
Tall Tale's specialty is cold brew, which the foursome started selling at markets and via subscription over the summer.
"A lot of people who don't like coffee, they only like cold brew," Finseth said, but conceded, "it can be polarizing."
Finseth said he tried more than 100 combinations of beans — sourced from Chicago Coffee Roastery — before hitting on Tall Tale's winning blend.
"A lot of beans are good hot, but not good cold," he said.
To start, Tall Tale will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Its signature menu item is the shakerato, an Italian drink that some have likened to the "holy grail of coffee." Tall Tale swaps out the shakerato's typical espresso for its cold brew, but maintains the tradition of shaking up the mixture of coffee, cream and simple syrup like a cocktail.
Tall Tale is hedging its cold brew bet by also serving lattes, hot chocolate, pour-over and a selection of doughnuts from Glazed and Infused.
"Really I just want to make coffee for everyone," Finseth said.
He and Conner, who are neighbors in an Albany Park three-flat, originally started brewing beer before switching to coffee, which requires less space and investment, Conner said.
A brick-and-mortar outlet wasn't necessarily part of Tall Tale's business plan, but Finseth said he's happy to have a home.
"This was a surprise to get retail," Finseth said. "We're super boot-strapped and very lean."
All four of the business partners have other jobs — Finseth and Badri design video games; Conner and Frei are members of the artists' collective ShowParty!, among other gigs.
"I make games and coffee, that's all I do," Badri said. "One fuels the other."
When it comes to Tall Tale, each of the guys is a jack of all trades, from brewing to sales to carpentry.
Said Frei, "We have silly hearts and busy minds."
David Fenseth preps a shakerato. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
Amir Badri handle pour-over duties.
Tall Tale offers a selection of Glazed and Infused doughnuts.
Tall Tale is hedging its cold brew bet with hot drinks on the menu too.
Tall Tale is the newest addition to Chicago's coffee scene.
Look for Tall Tale inside ServYoSelf frozen yogurt shop.
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