When you think of a great city for coffee in the US, it’s likely that Seattle or San Francisco is the first to come to mind. Chicago is probably not on that list for you, but it should be. The City of Big Shoulders has actually been a major player on the coffee scene for a long time, with some excellent coffee shops and boutique roasters producing some superb gourmet coffees. If you’re looking for the perfect cup in the Windy City, check out these 11 places with the best coffee in Chicago.
You can’t talk about great Chicago coffee without bringing up Intelligentsia. Since 1995, Intelligentsia has set the standard for high-quality roasted coffee, and many of the city’s top restaurants and coffee shops use its beans. Intelligentsia also has six brick-and-mortar coffee shops around the city, plus a roaming red truck, serving up the highest quality drip coffee and espresso drinks to be found anywhere in the city.
2. Gaslight Coffee Roasters
If you’re looking for a trendy cup of coffee in the hip Logan Square neighborhood, head into Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Gaslight has all the exposed brick and super high-end coffee gear of any hipster coffee shop, but it serves up the goods to back up the front. If you want a great cup of coffee in Logan Square, Gaslight will not disappoint.
3. Oromo Cafe
If you’re after great coffee and an all-around healthy vibe, Oromo Cafe in Lincoln Square has you covered. Blending unique coffee flavors from around the world and adding in different superfood ingredients, Oromo makes some pretty interesting concoctions. Try a delicious hazelnut horchata latte along with one of its salads and sandwiches, or just stick to regular coffee and espresso, which it also does quite well.
4. Cafe Jumping Bean
Cafe Jumping Bean has been brewing high-quality coffee in Pilsen since the mid-1990s before the area turned into a hip neighborhood. Today, it’s still at it, serving up skillfully-brewed Intelligentsia Coffee to loyal customers from the neighborhood and those coming from elsewhere to see what the hype is about — it’s worth the trip. In addition to great coffee, Jumping Bean has excellent food and pastries.
5. The Wormhole Coffee
Some people like the minimalism of the modern coffee bar, but that look and feel isn’t for everyone. If you like your coffee shops weird and quirky, head into the Wormhole in Wicker Park. Besides great coffee and walls covered in ‘80s movie posters, Wormhole has a replica of Marty McFly’s DeLorean from the movie Back to the Future. This is a seriously cool coffee shop that’s been doing its thing in Wicker Park for a long time.
6. Bridgeport Coffee Company
Holding it down for coffee lovers across the South Side of Chicago is the Bridgeport Coffee Company. Out of its headquarters in the Bridgeport neighborhood, it’s sourcing and roasting high-quality coffee to distribute to hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores around the city. The best place to try its coffee is at one of its four South Side retail locations where it’ll brew you up a perfect cup every time.
7. Cà Phê Dá
If you want a place you can hang out in literally all day, Cà Phê Dá in Pilsen is the place to go. Get started with an exquisite Vietnamese coffee, served just like you’d find it on the street in Saigon. When you get hungry, it has excellent Vietnamese pastries, dishes, banh mi sandwiches, and some of the best chicken wings in the city. Once you’ve eaten (and re-caffeinated), it also has a bar serving local beers and cocktails inspired by Vietnamese flavors.
8. New Wave Coffee
Logan Square is full of super trendy coffee shops with that clean look that so many people love. If you’re not among them, then head to New Wave Coffee where a cluttered punk rock spirit exists in everything it does. New Wave is a place to sit and take your time, enjoying a good cup of coffee, a sandwich, and some time to yourself. New Wave is also a great place to get work done, with fast Wi-Fi, lots of plugs, healthy food to keep you going all day, and late hours for those who like getting work done later in the evening.
9. Dark Matter Coffee
Dark Matter Coffee is another local roaster whose products you can find in restaurants and supermarkets, and who also has its own cafes around the city. There are two locations in Ukrainian Village, including the original at the roastery that’s called The Mothership. There are also newer locations in the West Loop and Lakeview. All of them stay true to the original by keeping things funky and unpretentious, and by serving up excellent coffee of course.
10. Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
Probably the city’s coolest concept coffee shop, Sip of Hope is where all profits generated go to suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Under the tagline “It’s ok not to be ok,” this Logan Square coffee shop serves up delicious brews for a great cause. It’s a great place where anyone can go for some personal time or to meet others, and Sip of Hope also hosts various meetups on awareness, suicide prevention, and other topics.
11. Passion House Coffee Roasters
As mentioned, there is no shortage of uber-hip Logan Square coffee shops, but Passion House might just be the coolest of them all. Located near the Logan Square Blue Line station, Passion House brews up some of Chicago’s best coffee and tea and does some very good pastries as well. The interior is as swanky as you’d expect out of the neighborhood, but what really sets it apart is the mural outside by prolific Chicago graffiti artist Amuse126.