Food & Drink

Get a Cup of Local Joe

Where to find great locally roasted coffee


Coffee isn’t just something to jolt our day into action. It’s part of ritual so many of us take part in. Whether you brew your own at home or swing by your favorite coffee shop, millions of us drinks coffee on a daily basis. Yes, you can get Starbucks or join the crew that runs on Dunkin’. Or you can support local roasters and Chicago has plenty to choose from. Here are just a few spots and by no means are the rest, like Big Shoulders (1105 W. Chicago, West Town), Gaslight Coffee Roasters (2385 N. Milwaukee, Logan Square) and Metropolis (1039 W. Granville, Edgewater), any less good.

Intelligentsia: Since it has gotten so large (and was recently bought by Peet’s Coffee & Tea, it’s easy to forget Intelligentsia is from Chicago. Their roasts tend to lean lighter and fruitier, but you can always get a robust cup since they have six locations around the city, including the Loop, near Millennium Park, Wicker Park, East Lakeview, Logan Square and Old Town.

Asado Coffee Roasters: Once available only on the North Side, Asado opened a super-cool spot in the Loop. Set back off Jackson down an alley that feels like you’re in Paris, Asado uses green trade practices to source its beans from growers in Brazil, Tanzania and Haiti. Each cup is made to order after being roasted in Asado’s gas-fired drums. 22 E. Jackson; 1432 W. Irving Park; 1651 W. Chicago.

Dark Matter: A little bit of a hike from the CAA, Dark Matter arguably serves some of the best coffee in town. With fair trade beans sourced directly from farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, Dark Matter has gained a cult following for some of their roasts, including the addictive Unicorn Blood espresso blend. They even have limited-edition barrel-aged coffees, too. And if you want to pick up a bag of beans, just pop into any local Whole Foods. 738 N. Western.

Bow Truss: While it may be causing some controversy around the opening of its Pilsen location (read: locals think it’s boosting gentrification), Bow Truss really is all about promoting Chicago. Owner Phil Tadros owned a number of small cafes before selling them to focus on roasting and since has exploded. They currently have six locations and will open ten more, with one in Los Angeles. Various locations.

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