Co-CEO, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Doug Zell’s involvement with coffee began in the early 1990’s. He had moved to California to begin a new business venture that ultimately failed and landed him in San Francisco where he drank his first cup of real Specialty Coffee at the now defunct Spinelli Coffee. It was love at first taste.
After stints at Peet’s Coffee and Spinelli Coffee working in various capacities from barista to management, Doug packed all of his worldly possessions into an old truck and left San Francisco, on April Fool’s Day 1995, bound for Chicago and parts unknown.
After devising a business plan in his parent’s basement, Doug emerged to found Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood on October 9th, 1995. He has held every position in the company from coffee buyer, to roaster, barista, delivery driver, bill collector, art director, floor sweeper and everything in between. Currently, he serves as Intelligentsia’s CO-CEO. Today Intelligentsia is a coffee company with 8 coffee bars and 3 roasting facilities.
At Nordic Barista Cup 2012 Doug Zell will talk about “Coffee bars and the evolution of hospitality”.
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