Alchemy coffee in Wilmette is in a strange location for a coffee shop.  Its in a standalone little shack in an area which does not attract a lot of foot traffic and is not along many natural commuting routes.  Its the kind of place you would drive by and never know there’s a coffee shop there except that you never even drive by there.

The place is owned and run by exactly one guy and he sells exactly two things, the main thing being coffee.  His tiny shop has only one table and a small bar.  There isnt much room for any more than that because most of the space is taken up by this gleaming machine which sits right in the middle of the shop.


Its a coffee roaster.  All of his coffee is roasted right there in that machine and you can usually buy coffee that has been roasted less than 24 hours ago.  If you love coffee, you know that coffee loses aroma and flavor very quickly after roasting and so this kind of freshness is a big deal.    He puts a few pounds in bags on the counter but if you tell him what you want it for (espresso, drip coffee, french press) and a little about your tastes, he will disappear behind the machine for moment and come back with a blend put together on the spot.

Business is not brisk.  I’ve been in there about three times and I have seen him sell a few lattes, but not much more than that.  But each time I have gone there for beans I told him in abstract terms what I wanted and he came pretty close to assembling the perfect blend.  The other thing he sells:  scones.  And he is about as obsessed with his scones as he is with his coffee.

The guy is old school: cash only and here’s the sound system.


Keepin it reel in Wilmette.

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