When your alarm beeps in the morning, are visions of espresso shots, lattes, or just a classic cup of coffee dancing in your head? You’re not alone. Swiping your fingers through the latest news headlines or posts on your Instagram feed can only keep your eyes open for a few minutes. You’ve got to taste coffee beans on your tongue and feel caffeine rushing through your veins before you can actually start your day.
While any coffee addict is likely to have a coffeemaker and ample supply of beans on hand, some of us prefer to indulge in craft coffee concocted to order whenever possible. If you’re lucky enough to live in a South Loop or River North apartment, you have easy access to some of the best Chicago coffee that exists. Here are some of our favorite places to grab a cup almost as quickly as you could brew your own.
If you haven’t had a cup of joe from Big Shoulders, visit their website for a visual taste of what this fine coffee roaster offers. If you’re impressed by the mesmerizing homepage graphic, then drop in the next time you’re in River West and in need of a caffeine boost. The staff is friendly (not too mention highly skilled). The coffee is complex in flavor, inexpensive, and considered by many loyal addicts to be among the best in the city. And bonuse: They roast the coffee in their store so you know you’ll get a fresh cup every time.
The name and decor of this River North coffee shop make it sound like a hipster’s haven. But all coffee lovers are welcome to pass through Bow Truss’ doors and caffeinate under its exposed ceiling joists. Nearly all that do make their way inside for a shot or mug leave satisfyingly wired. This trendy Chicago coffee shop has three area locations, one of which is just two blocks away from AMLI River North.
Bridgeport Coffee House
Earning the number three spot on Thrillist’s rankings of the best independent Chicago coffee shops in 2014, Bridgeport Coffee is a caffeinated force to be reckoned with. The pour-over is among the coffee shop’s most talked-about javas and the desserts are incredible, but regulars like just about everything about this shop. With four spacious rooms, a homey atmosphere, and free WiFi, the original Bridgeport Coffee House is a great place to work away from home or the office. Two additional locations give the company a prominent presence in the Windy City’s South Side.
Dollop Coffee Co.
Like Bow Truss, Dollop was recognized by Zagat in 2014 as one of the ten best places to grab a cup of joe in Chicago. Since opening in Buena Park in 2005, Dollop has added four locations to its name. One of these is in the South Loop, just a 10 minute walk north of AMLI Lofts and AMLI 900. The other, Dollop Coffee and Hoosier Mama Pie Company, is located in AMLI Evanston’s retail space.
If you like to support local businesses, Dollop Coffee Co. makes it easy. Metropolis Coffee, Hoosier Mama pies, and baked goods from Southport Grocery and Fritz Pastry can be had at all locations, as can free WiFi and homemade sandwiches.
Known for its delicious breakfast sandwiches, Eastman Egg is a gourmet breakfast paradise…and their coffee is top notch. Like any good breakfast provider, Eastman Egg knows how to select good coffee and brew it right. The restaurant uses coffee from local roaster Dark Matter, and they use it well. In the summer months, their growlers of iced coffee are especially popular.
The Chicago coffee brewing and breakfast sandwich specialist also has a food truck that moves around between some of the Windy City’s hottest neighborhoods. The truck is currently hibernating (aren’t we all this time of year!), but will be back in business soon. Check out where it will be and when here.
Heritage Bicycles General Store
Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters has garnered something of a cult following around the country. The masterfully roasted stuff can be scored at popular coffee-guzzling hangouts The Wormhole and Overflow Coffee Bar. Heritage Bicycles General Store in Lakeview also brews it, and the shop has received a lot of attention lately.
Atmospheric, clean, friendly, and bicyclish, Heritage is a great place to get your caffeine fix. If your custom-built road bike needs work, or you need to work–like, on your computer–check out Heritage. The bicycle service specialists and expert baristas can work in tandem to make your visit pleasant, productive, and awakening. If you’re not in the market for a new bike or if you don’t need service, grab a cup and settle in at the bicycle-free Heritage Outpost in the Flats Building.
If you’ve been salivating like Pavlov’s dog just reading about all this coffee, then you need to check out one of these great Chicago shops as soon as possible! Yes, coffee costs money. And yes, ordering and drinking it takes time. But if you work more productively once you’ve gotten your caffeine fix, then isn’t a good cup of coffee time and money well spent?
What’s your favorite Chicago coffee shop? Are you a major fan of any of the cafes we’ve discussed in this article? Start or join a discussion in the comments.
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