Alejandro and his magic beans opens in Hinsdale
Alejandro Garcia-Palacios, owner of Cafe La Fortuna in downtown Hinsdale, drops beans into his coffee roaster. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:29AM
HINSDALE — Located on Village Place, the short street between Hinsdale Avenue and First Street, Café La Fortuna does not have great visibility. But it does have a coffee roaster on the premises and thus the aroma of roasting coffee beans.
Alejandro Garcia, who lives in Burr Ridge, sells different blends of coffee all made from the Arabica beans grown on his family’s coffee plantation, called Finca La Fortuna, in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
“It’s about 50 miles north of the Gautemalan border,” and has been producing coffee for more than 100 years, Garcia said.
La Fortuna has cafes in Mexico, but the Hinsdale shop is the first in the United States.
“We have no middle man. We are the growers, exporters and roasters,” Garcia said.
The café is decorated with a photograph of the family farm, a live coffee plant and jars of the beans at different stages of processing.
“We want to bring that beautiful culture close to the people,” Garcia said. “We’re trying to save people a trip to the origin.”
A picture of the white flower of a coffee plant awakens Garcia’s memories of his homeland.
“It smell likes jasmine when you walk through the coffee; it’s like you are in a perfume store.”
While the beans are grown organically, in ways that are sensitive to the landscape and wildlife, Garcia does not shy from using computer technology to ensure consistency of the roasting and the brewing. A computer program adjusts the roasting process, based on temperature, humidity and weight.
”There’s no guesswork, because we want consistency,” Garcia said. “I predetermine certain conditions and the computer helps me get to those targets.”
La Fortuna offers a choice of coffee preparation from traditional to pulse brew to cold-pressed coffee, which takes 12 hours to drip. Unlike iced coffee, no hot water touches the ground coffee in the cold-pressed method.
“We want to give people the opportunity to try different things.”
Garcia also wants “to have the best treatment possible to maintain the attributes of the coffee. Out of respect for what nature does, I try to take care of the product. Just like any parent loves his kid, I love my plants.”
Café La Fortuna is located at 46 Village Place in Hinsdale. For more information, call (630) 537-1586.