By Jessica Reid Johnson
September 20, 2012
When a caffeine craving sneaks up, you don't have to venture far to find your fix, whether at a boutique roaster such as Metropolis or Intelligentsia or the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts. Lucky for serious coffee fans, the past four months have brought five new options for fueling up. The latest crop of coffee shops are setting themselves apart by shipping in rare beans, roasting beans right on-site and even concocting their own syrups for flavored lattes.
1105 W. Chicago Ave. 312-888-3042
Having transitioned from chef de cuisine to chef de coffee, Tim Coonan brings 30 years of experience working in restaurants in Southern France, New York, and Chicago (including 7 years at Spiaggia) to this West Town roastery. Coonan began his business after five years of roasting in his home and delivering by bicycle across the city, and his roasts represent the same meticulous attention to detail that his former fine-dining gigs demanded. He currently roasts four varieties of beans on-site from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia, and beans are brewed four ways: auto-drip, espresso, French press and through the Clever Coffee Dripper, a snazzy system of brewing that combines the best features of French press and filter drip ($2-$4 for a 16-ounce cup).
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters (pictured)
2934 N. Broadway 773-857-1361
Over the past 15 years, Phillip Tadros has opened a string of coffee shops—Kickstand, Dollop and Noble Tree, plus revamped cafes at Colombia College—and after years of reselling beans from other roasters, he wanted more control of the product. So he assembled an expert team of coffee professionals (largely ex-Intelligentsians) to directly source coffee from farms and roast it on site in a welcoming East Lakeview space. Bow Truss has amassed enough of a following over the summer that Tadros has ordered a second roaster to meet the growing demand. Coffee is brewed two ways--auto drip and pour-over—and current offerings include a Guatemalan, Ethiopian and Colombian roast ($2 to $5 a cup).
3737 N. Southport Ave. 773-525-0300
Seeking to caffeinate their retirement, husband-and-wife team Frank and Susan Conklin have brought this Hawaiian coffee franchise to Lakeview's Southport corridor. All beans are grown in the volcanic soils of Hawaii and roasted off-site in either Utah or Florida before arriving in Chicago. An American roast, flavored coffee, single-origin and Kona blend are available each day, and cups ($1.81-$2.57) are brewed either by French press, single-serve pour-over or auto-drip. For $35 per half pound, you can take home the shop's prized 100-percent Kona coffee, which is known for its fruity, nutty flavor and is available in limited supply thanks to the small Hawiian area in which it is grown.
Black Coffee Gallery
333 East Benton Place 312-240-5000
Opened: Sept. 15
Downtown's newest coffee shop has arrived by way of Oaxaca, Mexico. Black Coffee Gallery currently operates seventeen branches in Mexico, with each one dedicated to a different Oaxacan artist. The art displayed inside the Chicago location is a combination of these 17 artists, plus one local artist, Peter Marx. The cafe serves two coffee options: Both have spicy and sweet notes and are made from beans grown in Oaxaca and roasted in Guadalajara exclusively for the franchise ($3.75-$4.50). Look for the cafe inside Mezcalina, a new restaurant in the Lakeshore East complex helmed by executive chef Manuel Banuelos, as whose south-of-the-border spirit takes the form of Oaxacan fare and booze, including 70 mezcals and 50 tequilas.
2385 N. Milwaukee Ave. firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: Sept. 28 for a grand opening, though it may begin service as soon as Saturday.
After many years in the coffee industry—including two together at Metropolis—Zak Rye and Tristan Coulter are bringing a new cafe to a busy corner in Logan Square. The shop itself skews country-chic, with rustic wood, a modern bar and a touch of taxidermy. The beans, mostly sourced from Central and South American this fall, will be roasted in-house and accompanied by a revolving guest tap featuring two other roasters (at opening, it'll be Counter Culture). Coffee is brewed via auto-drip, pour-over and espresso machine and ranges from $2 to $4.50 for all the bells and whistles, including house-made syrups. There's also a classic European food menu paired for coffee, including cured meats, cheeses, house-pickled veggies and baguettes, plus plenty of tea options, too.
Jessica Reid Johnson is a RedEye special contributor. email@example.com | @redeyechicago
Remember La Colombe, the Philadelphia-based coffee roastery that opened a Chicago location at 955 W. Randolph Street last year? Follow along with the coffee-seeking adventures of La Colombe's co-founder, Todd Carmichael, on new TV show "Dangerous Grounds." It kicks off at 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 on the Travel Channel. –Lisa Arnett, RedEye
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