Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670) has been one of the most celebrated coffee shops in St. Louis ever since it opened in late 2011, and two years later, owner Scott Carey isn't done pushing the envelope with his artisanal beans. Sump is usually closed on Mondays, but for six weeks beginning February 21, it'll be open for experimental brews only.
"Just like any growing company, you can have the day to day, but you also think about the tomorrow. No one wants to always do the same thing," Carey tells Gut Check. "We talk about how we can change things and hopefully make them better."
Carey says the idea came from all of the award-winning brewing methods showcased at brewing and barista competitions. Unfortunately, they often don't see the light of day beyond competition because they're either too time-consuming and complicated or are done outside of the United States.
The first brewing method will be the Carmichael: it's part cupping plus dripping through metal and paper filters. It was introduced by Todd Carmichael, the Food Channel celebrity behind La Colombe and Dangerous Grounds.
"It's a method that you typically wouldn't ever put in production in busy shop," Carey says. "I've tried it -- it makes a novel cup of coffee. It's something we can't deliver with the methods we have when were open Tuesday through Sunday. Part of it is about self enrichment and we always want to be pushing ourselves."
Carey actually got the idea from Pastaria, which hosts a Pastaria R&D every week. You can check out the plans for the rest of the brews here. If all goes well, Carey plans on extending the experimental brews past six weeks.
"You do your gig day-to-day, but at some point you want to stretch and grow and push yourself, to grow and develop in your graft," Carey says. "This is a time to set aside for that and develop something for the one of a kind customer."