Teresa Pilarz’ coffee roasting company and coffeehouse, Espresso Elevado, opened its doors in March 2011, using a San Franciscan SF1 coffee roaster to get started. In a suburb strategically located between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Elevado is the first quality-focused coffeehouse in the area and, says Pilarz, offers a unique take on coffee with a culinary approach.
Like many coffee people, Teresa Pilarz has a widely varied background—at one point she taught Spanish, as well as worked in business for years. But through all the jobs she held, her first coffee job during the early 90’s stuck with her. She dreamed of starting her own shop and, being Teresa, started putting action to her dreams by taking classes in coffee, meeting coffee people, and teaching herself the basics of coffee roasting.
“Our customers have really embraced what we do—whether roasting our own beans to doing our own mixology to crafting our own syrups. One of the things I value in business is innovation and not copying anyone else,” she says, and one of the ways Pilarz and her Elevado team distinguish themselves is by putting together their own syrups using spices, herbs, and simple syrups. The syrups can get rather involved—their holiday Gingersnap syrup has around ten ingredients!
A SCAA Certified Lead Instructor and BGA Level 1 Barista, Pilarz now roasts on a SF6, which she says is “Super easy to clean and maintain, and a real craftsperson’s roaster. Since you don’t have the benefit of digital data logging, it forces you to understand every aspect of your roasting process. We log our own data and use our senses when roasting.” Originally looking for a 1 lb roaster, Pilarz shopped around for a while before settling on San Franciscan and flying to Fallon for further roaster training on her SF1. She says that Bill’s background in artisan roasting played into her decision as well as how helpful he was and the ongoing support he promised.
Pilarz’ enthusiasm for what she does is undeniable. Look out, Michigan! Here she comes!