As winter approaches, Chicago transforms into a breathtaking wonderland of snow. Streets are decorated with beautiful bright lights as Chicagoans transform their homes into snug havens full of holiday cheer. As you explore the city and its vibrant neighborhoods, we've put together a list coffee shops and cafes offering delicious, soul-warming drinks to help you get through the "brrr!" worthy Midwest chill.
Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Tea
Xoco - River North
449 N. Clark Street
Xoco - Wicker Park
1471 N. Milwaukee Avenue
If you know the Rick Bayless name then you know anything he touches will be superb. At Xoco, his quick stop restaurant with a take on fast food, the chef takes pride in his "bean to cup chocolate" philosophy. No doubt this translates into one of the most meticulously crafted cups of exquisite Tabasco cacao you'll ever experience, offered in five varieties. Add a crispy churro to the mix and you may even forget, "baby, it's cold outside."
La Catrina Cafe
1011 W 18th Street
This Pilsen mom and pop shop, known for its decadent dark and creamy Mexican style hot chocolate, also boasts one of the most varied loose leaf herbal, green and black tea collections around. Whether to pep you up or calm you down naturally, some of the organic options include blends like Blossoms of Health (red clover, nettle, ginkgo, clover blossoms, meadowsweet, calendula, gotu kola, lavender, chamomile), Assam (vanilla bean, chrysanthemum) and Winter Spice (eleuthero root, cinnamon bark, sarsaparilla, licorice, dandelion, ginger root, hulled cardamon, cloves). You'll need several visits to try them all out.
Hot Chocolate (pictured at top)
1747 N. Damen Avenue
Mindy Segal is the genius creator of this Wicker Park dessert bar. Yes, you read that correctly - dessert bar. This place has the most inventively decadent desserts which should only be accompanied by an even better cup of hot chocolate. Varieties include spicy Mexican and chai versions, another spiked with rich espresso and even a white chocolate version. Don't need the extra calories? Make a long walk longer and take one to go.
2714 N. Milwaukee
The extensive Latin cuisine at this Logan Square location is one of many reasons this restaurant is so popular. But, facts are facts, and the aptly named locale has one of the biggest mugs of sweet and creamy cafe con leche your hands will ever hold. The massive cup of frothy goodness can best be enjoyed while savoring their jibarito, torta or cubano.
Hot Coffee & Tea House
755 W. 32nd Street
You'll always feel at home as the friendly folks at Jackalope in Bridgeport welcome you with open arms and mouth-watering bacon donuts. But, of course we're on a drink tour here and you'll find plenty of coffee-based options like espresso macchiato, cappuccino, mocha and even an agave latte. The shop is full of colorful local art so you'll have plenty to look at as you sip away.
1640 S. Blue Island
Aside from brewed coffee, this cafe's daily menu offers options like pumpkin spice lattes, hot apple cider and Abuelita brand hot chocolate. They have an ample selection of pastries so if you have time we recommend you grab some cafe and try the bionico, an assorted fruit dessert topped with sweet cream, granola, coconut, raisins and honey, typical of Guadalajara. Not into hot drinks? Iced coffee is only a buck in winter!
Written by Sandra Trevino