ST. LOUIS — Master brewer Kevin Reddy delivers 12 ounces of coffee to a table inside Blueprint Coffee. It arrives in a glass chemistry beaker with measurements down the side and a black rubber stopper.
Before a cappuccino is made, award-winning barista Nora Brady automatically weighs the empty metal filter, adds grounds, weighs the two together and, if necessary, swipes excess off the top, then weighs one more time. All of this is done in seconds, before she tamps down the grounds and attaches the filter to the espresso machine.
Chemistry plus precision equal beauty. It's the Blueprint Coffee formula. The exacting manner in which the staff roasts, brews and serves coffee leads to the best version of a particular bean, sometimes with a swirl of milk added in.
"Everything is brewed to order -- we're very intentional with each coffee," said Andrew Timko, who like Kevin and Nora, are owners of this specialty coffee roasting business and cafe on Delmar Boulevard in The Loop. "It's a combination of the artistic with the scientific."
Andrew, 38, was bBorn and raised in the metro-east. He is a 1994 Belleville East grad, and attended Belleville Area College. Andrew and his wife, Alicia, now live in St. Louis with their two sons, ages 4 and 2.
He went into business with five coffee experts who have all worked in the industry in the St. Louis area. Andrew worked in a coffee shop while attending Iowa State University. After graduation, he came back to the area and learned under Barry Barrett, owner of Riley's Coffee in Illinois and Missouri. Then he went to work for Kaldi's for eight years.
"My ultimate goal was to become a roaster," he said. He got his wish, as well as being the green coffee buyer for Blueprint.
It was 9 a.m. Wednesday and he would begin roasting around 10 and finish in about an hour.
"I'll do one (roast) from Berundi, an organic decaf, then six or seven others for wholesale," he said. The business sells to a handful of specialty coffee shops, such as Comet Coffee up the street and The London Tea Room. Business is growing.
"We'll be moving into Whole Foods soon," he said of selling their packaged coffee there.
Andrew, Nora and Kevin, as well as Mike Marquard, Brian Levine and Mazi Razani take coffee seriously, but that doesn't mean they aren't enjoying what they do.
"We opened Labor Day (2013) and we did the build-out ourselves," Andrew said of the building renovations. "That's why the delay! We learned we're not the most skilled at that kind of work."
The six knew that they wanted to be coffee educators. Having a retail operation out front, where people could sit and sip, was as essential as installing the roaster in the back.
Customers can sit at tabletops made of recycled computer squares, stand with elbows on a big slab of reclaimed wood (with room for bikes underneath) or park themselves along a counter with plug-ins for laptops. Wifi is free. Subway tile and old barn wood cover the walls.
The brew bar is a long wide counter where barista or brewer and customer can converse. Any of the staff can tell you about the notes of honey and velvety body in the Angelino Abad No. 1 from Ecuador or the tart lime brightness in the Karimikui from Kenya.
The current menu -- it changes every three months -- also includes Narino Select from Colombia and a decaf Cenfrocafe out of Peru. A 12-ounce serving ranges from $3.20 to $4.40. Espresso, cappuccino, latte and cortado (an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk) are $2.60 to $4.85.
Add a housemade syrup, mocha or vanilla bean, for $1.
Eight loose-leaf teas also are offered, from Silver Needles ($4) to a Dark Pearl Ollong ($3).
And what would a hot beverage be without a thick slice of bread spread with butter and jam? Coming right up -- and made in-house: Strawberry-lemonade Marmalade, Apple-Berry Thyme Jam, Tomato Jam (each $1.50) and Blueberry, Honey-Herb and Salted butter (25 to 50 cents).
Bread choices include French Peasant, English muffin and 6-Grain, $1.50/$1.75 a slice, all from Breadsmith in St. Louis. Croissants ($3), sour cream muffins and cream scones (each $2.50) are from Comet Coffee & Microbakery. Plus, there are cookies and hot cocoa.
Pick from four kinds of cheese ($3.50/2 ounces) from Marcoot Creamery in Jerseyville. And make your Light Breakfast Combo for $4.50 (scone, preserves and fruit butter) or Light Lunch Combo (bread, cheese and jam) for $6.50.
Coffee is also sold there and online at blueprintcoffee.com by the 12-ounce bag for $15 to $25, depending other beans.
While the food menu may expand modestly, "the trick is to keep it manageable," said Andrew. "And not take away from the coffee."
6225 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis
Specialty coffee roaster and cafe
Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays; to 2 p.m. Mondays. Closed Sundays.
Information: 314-266-6808 or blueprintcoffee.com and on Facebook and Twitter.