Chicago is the city that works. And because Chicago works hard and plays hard, you'll find a cup of coffee in the hand of many a Chicagoan - and not just any cup. Chicago's local coffee roasters are exploding onto the scene. The conscientious awareness and appreciation of the origin of the beans used in Chicago coffee shops is at the core of this trend, one which has the staying power of a true movement here. This month we'll take a deeper look into the independently owned coffee roaster scene to fill you in on where to find the best and freshest cup of local roasted-in-house brew.
These globally-minded and locally-focused coffee roasters all have coffee shops and coffee bars across Chicago, each with enough personality to fall in love with their brew and deem it to be your special, favorite corner of Chicago.
Intelligentsia Coffee has been a foundation for excellence in coffee brewing in Chicago since 1995. With multiple coffee bar locations around Chicago, Intelligentsia serves its customers with the goal of presenting drinkers with a cup of coffee that forever changes how Chicagoans think about and taste coffee. In the words of owner of Chicago coffee roaster Bow Truss Phil Tadros, Intelligentsia "definitely paved the way in Chicago for specialty coffee as far as standards goes."
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters itself has also helped to elevate the profile of Chicago coffee roasters. Bow Truss is comprised of veteran coffee professionals who roast coffee with the goal of bringing together "classy coffee and cozy people."
Chicago's "alternative to alternative coffee shops," Bad Wolf Coffee invites you in and encourages you to stay - even without any seating. According to owner Jonathan Ory, formerly of Schwa and Momofuku Ko, Bad Wolf Coffee's no-chair policy is meant to inspire guests to engage with one another in this relaxing and warming atmosphere.
Metropolis Coffee is another major name in the beauty of caffeinated curators in Chicago. Metropolis coffee is sold throughout Chicago, but focuses on building neighborhood coffee houses, because according to The Metropolis Philosophy, "coffee, like art, has an aesthetic." Their focus on making sure their coffee has a large impact on Chicago and Chicagoans extends into their goal of making a large impact on the world at large with their coffee.
HalfWit Coffee Roasters, another Chicago artisan coffee roaster, is dedicated to not only caffeinating its drinkers, but also to educating them on the sustainable practices employed to roast its coffee. The secret ingredient to their roasts? "The perfect blend of science and magic.
Locally owned and operated since 2004, Bridgeport Coffee Company is another one of Chicago's favorites serving cups of steamy goodness. Bridgeport Coffee Co.'s motto is to build direct relationships with organic growers ensuring a short line of supply to the finest globally produced beans. Stop by any one of their three retail locations in the city or your local Whole Foods and grab a bag.
Chicago, the city that works and works hard, does not shy away from the art of coffee roasting to create some of the finest coffee in the country. The brewing methods employed in Chicago's artisan coffee shops signify a shift away from relying on automated equipment, and instead rely on more of a hands-on approach with individually brewed cups of coffee.
It's no wonder Chicago was named one of the United States' "Most Caffeinated Cities" (The Huffington Post) - visitors and locals alike are treated to such a fine quality of coffee!
Photos: Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, Bridgeport Coffee Company