The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

[PHOTO ESSAY] Behind the hot (and iced) making of local favorite, Kindred Coffee Roasters

Kindred Coffee has been a local institution since 2013, and serves up coffee, tea, and other treats.

Whenever someone wants coffee, they – right away – think about Starbucks or Dunkin. But what about the local businesses?

Kindred Coffee Roasters is a small, family-owned business headed by siblings Ryan and Sarah Hammer, who started their own coffee shop in 2016 in West Chicago. Their menu includes a variety of drinks and even food like iced, hot, chai, matcha, brownies, muffins, sandwiches and so much more.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

When people walk in to order their iced coffee during summer, or their hot chocolate during winter, they feel warmly welcomed by the staff and the inviting decor at Kindred.

“While producing really high quality food and beverage is of top importance to us, Kindred exists above all else for community, so our hope is for folks to feel a sense of belonging and welcome when they come into our shop, along with a good mix of playful, friendly, and quirky vibes,” Sarah Harms said.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

Bags of roasted coffee beans – which Kindred’s owners produce themselves – are situated on shelves near the back of the first room, which explains the distinct flavor when one tries their coffee drinks. Customers are able to purchase the big bags, as seen here, or  smaller bags if they are simply looking to “try out” a new variety.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

Kindred worker, Silas Sweet (his last name is, no joke, just as they make their coffees) is preparing a chai latte. The red box he is holding is the prime ingredient called “Masala Chai”.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

The drip scale is part of what Kindred staff use in order to weigh certain ingredients, such as teas, as shown in the picture.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

The lined-up teas behind the counter provide a large variety of flavors to choose from, including Silver Needles, Kukicha, Cinnamon Plum, and Barista Matcha.

“When developing new menu items we take a few different approaches. One way is to start with what we know works well, classic combinations that may have already been done, but try to make it fresh and unique to us. A second method is to take an ingredient or idea that is new and see how we can make that work. When experimenting, we come at it from the perspective that there are no bad ideas, and we just give things a try.  Drinks will naturally develop from there,” Sarah Harms said.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

Freshly-made matcha drinks – with the main ingredient being Barista Matcha – can be found in the array of teas. Matcha situates itself mostly seen on top, and the milk that was added settles on the bottom, making the perfect mix.

(Photo by Karen Huerta Garnica)

A finished hot coffee with a beautiful design in which Kindred is popular for. Many people love to snap pictures and post, and with the holidays coming up, Kindred has released several seasonal treats, including “two new drinks, Peppermint Mocha and the Sage and Cinder Cappuccino, as well as a couple seasonal baked goods, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Gingerbread Scones,” Sarah Harms said.

Watch the Chronicle’s 2022 video on Kindred Coffee Roasters here.

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As a first-year journalist, Karen enjoys how she is able to express herself more in this class. She is currently a senior at West Chicago Community High School, and likes to do her makeup and watch a very well-known Netflix show, "Shameless". Karen plans to go to a university after high school to study to become a registered nurse, as she currently works as a pharmacy tech at a local Walgreens. She also loves to hang out with her 2-year-old chihuahua/poodle mix, Ace.
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