6100 South Blackstone Ave, Chicago

Build Coffee is a coffee shop and bookstore in the Experimental Station on the South Side of Chicago. Surrounded by community-driven non-profits and civic journalism projects, Build is designed as a hub of great coffee and radical collaboration.

We act as a small venue for performances, workshops, gallery shows, book groups, game nights, and more. We also sell used books, local small press publications, journals, comics, art books, and zines.

The newsletter archive is available here.

Build Coffee is now open!


Build Coffee is located at: 6100 South Blackstone Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
We’re in the Experimental Station, a non-profit working to build independent cultural infrastructure on the South Side of Chicago. Our neighbors within the two-story brick building include bike shop/mentoring program Blackstone Bicycle Works and three of the most exciting journalism projects in the city: the Invisible Institute, City Bureau, and the South Side Weekly.

We also share the building with the 61st St. Farmers Market, a year-round market with fresh food from local and regional farms.

We have Build Coffee tote bags and coasters available in our online shop. Check it out here.

Our bookshop features carefully curated used books and new stock from local presses and indie publishers. If you’re an artist or small press and would like to get your books/zines/comics/chapbooks on our shelves, check out our consignment form and get in touch at books@buildcoffee.org. We also gratefully accept book donations!

We serve coffee from HalfWit Coffee Roasters, who are small like us but serious about their beans. Like we do, they think coffee should be thoughtfully sourced, roasted and brewed with love and skill, and served without pretension.

Our pie is from Justice of the Pies, an out-of-this world local bakery. We make our toast from Publican Quality Bread, which features local grains and award-winning, naturally leavened loaves. Whole boules and baguettes are available Wednesdays and Saturdays!

Build Coffee acts as a small venue for performances, workshops, gallery shows, book groups, game nights, and more. Interested in hosting with us? The space is available to rent for public and private events. Shoot an email to our booker directly at events@buildcoffee.org.

Friday, July 28 — Saturday, September 30

is a photographer from Chatham. His #HeartMelanin portrait series, on the walls of Build Coffee for August and September 2017, is a collection of emotions—snapshots of the black Chicago renaissance. ThoughtPoet came up in Young Chicago Authors (YCA) and YouMedia with artists like Chance the Rapper, Noname, Saba, and Jorge Mikell, all under the mentorship of Brother Mike. His photos show Chicago slang, the fatigue of code-switching and melancholy, and above all his love for the black and brown people of this city. ThoughtPoet is the communications co-chair of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and currently lives in West Englewood. Part two of #HeartMelanin will open at the #LetUsBreathe Collective space in Back of the Yards on August 26.

Friday, August 18

6:00 pm — 7:30 pm

Come play We Love Katamari and learn some video game history and theory with your trusty hosts, game designers Mason Arrington and Addie Barron! We Love Katamari is an oddball video game by Japanese artist and designer Keita Takahashi. The game centers around The Prince and his katamari, a highly adhesive ball that can roll over and absorb anything smaller than itself. We’ll be projecting the game for an audience and playing in two-player cooperative mode. Watch some sample gameplay for the game here.

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Thursday, August 24

6:00 pm — 8:00 pm

Chicago’s Southeast Side residents are facing major changes with the impending development of the Obama Presidential Library and a potential PGA-level golf course. As a result, community members are navigating the benefits and drawbacks of these enterprises. But how do people organize around accurate information? This week’s Public Newsroom features South Shore resident Val Free, executive director of The Planning Coalition, who is organizing block clubs to do just that.

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Thursday, August 31

6:00 pm — 8:00 pm

Chicago media is in a moment of transition. The Chicago Sun-Times is under new ownership, local nonproft and community news outlets are working for change on the ground as national outlets move to the city, and foundations are seeking to stabilize a fractured media ecosystem. City Bureau believes a thriving media ecosystem is key to an informed citizenry, but solutions to our collective challenges will require diverse voices, ideas and input. Join us as we bring local journalists—Sheila Solomon, Scott Smith, and Blanca Rios—and the public together to discuss which media models are already playing a role in the Chicago media ecosytem and which national models could serve as examples for a stronger local media landscape.

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Saturday, September 9

11:00 am — 11:30 am

Join storytellers Bess Cohen and Franny Billingsley (57th Street Books’ Children’s Manager) for our monthly story time at Build Coffee! Fun for storybook enthusiasts of all ages, but especially those 0-6. Come early or stay after to enjoy the 61st Street Farmers Market, South Side Chicago’s premier farmers market, open Saturdays from 9am-2pm at 61st and Dorchester!

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We’d love to hear from you. To get in touch, email info@buildcoffee.org or fill out the contact form below.