12 best Coffee Shops in Chicago

11 mins read
best coffee shops in chicago
by: Samer Daboul/Pexels

Want to look mysterious while you work in a coffee shop? Like reading books in cafes? Always pick coffee places for dates so even if it goes bad at least you got coffee to save you from a headache? Do you visit cafes cause they are the source of the best pastries, fancy toasts, and delicious food menu? Do you want a great WiFi space for free so you can (pretend to) work? Do you simply like cafes to meet up with friends?

If you find yourself in any of these habits, finding your favorite shop is a difficult task and we are here to save all the coffee lovers in Chicago from this madness.

Being a source of lifestyle in the 21st century, coffee is more than a drink for the majority. With a famous coffee shop or coffee house in nearly every place with a great diversity in coffee, it can be said that there is an increase in coffee tourism in Chicago.

Thanks to the hustle culture, Chicago is home to some of the best coffee outlets which one cannot afford to waste. So, here’s a comprehensive list of the best 26 coffee shops in Chicago.

1. The Wormhole Coffee

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Sean Davis/Flickr

This is not just another coffee shop in Wicker Park, this shop has THE DeLorean time machine- enough reason for Back to Future enthusiasts to visit but the coffee will make your stay.

The future nostalgic theme has given it the title of ‘best retro coffee shop in Chicago’ by the customers.

With the theme designed in alignment with the pop culture of the 1980s (1984 to be specific or maybe 1Q84 if you call it), you can visit this place as per the timings mentioned on the website to have the best cup of coffee your tongue has ever savored in a casual and fun way as staff encourages you to play games too!

The source of their beans is their own roaster- the halfwit coffee roaster.

With the menu full of delicious coffee options to choose from, the rumour has it, that their cold brew is the strongest iced coffee that a caffeine lover can ever taste making it the most famous in the neighbourhood despite other coffee shops in the cosy spot of Wicker Park.

The Wormhole Coffee website

Contact: (773) 661-2468

2. Sawada Coffee

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Bex Walton/Flickr

Voted as ‘one of the best coffee shops for a latte’, this café was opened in the unused corner of Green street smoked meats when both Brendan Sodikoff (a Chicago restaurateur) and Hiroshi Sawada (a famous Japanese latte artist and barista) teamed up. The café located amongst other shops and restaurants, was the US debut of Hiroshi Sawada which became a huge success.

The location of the café and the inside offers many activities for customers. The inside has subtle lightning which gives peaceful vibes, it has a ping pong table for people to play while waiting for or having coffee, a counter seat and much more.

The uniqueness of the cultural blend can be clearly tasted by the delicious menu which has everything worthy of trying. The variety of pastries offered here leaves no customer empty stomach.

It will be illegal to not mention the famous signature drink which is by Hiroshi Sawada which is the military latte which is a unique blend of green tea and vanilla syrup, the drink is pleasing to the eye with the attractive latte art and the tongue as it is quite strong.

The roastery from espresso, bitter from green tea, and sweetened with white chocolate, you can have shochu, iced coffee or Benedictine, chai, and other common coffee drinks like espresso.

Sawada Coffee website

Contact: (312) 754-0431

3. Metric Coffee Co.

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Bex Walton/Flickr

When it comes to the best coffee shops in Chicago, the Metric Coffee Co. sets the bar by being known as the ‘best-roasted coffee shop’ in Chicago. The 1st café was opened in 2016 at its west town roaster.

The café was made into existence by Darko Arandjelovic (Caffe Streets owner) and Xavier Alexander (former Intelligentsia roasting manager, with 14 years of experience) leaving no doubt as to how it became the best spot for coffee lovers in such a short span of time.

The café is modern and public-facing with few indoor seats is more of a pro than cons of this café. It is because it gives people an opportunity to sit outside in actual nature and enjoy every sip in a quiet background rather than an artificial set up making it the best coffee shop to hang out, especially on weekends.

It has an in-house roaster facility in the back room. With a brewed coffee made from freshly roasted beans, the baristas here also serve experimental drinks making them different from other many coffee shops in the city.

Besides coffee drinks made from its own beans, it is known for sandwiches and juices, doughnuts from Brite etc.

The Metric focuses on equity, transparency, and sustainability in the source of its products. It has a strict ‘made by humans’ policy which stresses the importance of the beans it uses.

The café’s ‘Source Code’ publication focuses on sustainability and the coffee industry including everything from beans to production. It also has a podcast and if that’s not enough, they also have weekly classes on Fridays with lessons like “Intro to Espresso”.

The Metric Coffee Co. website

Contact: (312) 982-2196

4. Intelligentsia Coffee

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Edsel Little/Flickr

If making coffee was a degree, Intelligentsia has a masters in that. Introduced in 1995 in Chicago, it has developed as a famous supply chain, including a ‘lab’ in Manhattan and bars in LA.

With 6 locations in the home city, Intelligentsia will leave a spot in your heart since your first visit.

With a lake view, getting a seat here is a difficult task but definitely worth it as the café offers customers to enjoy coffee in a quiet ambiance promoting the idea of ‘slow coffee’. All 6 locations have different sizes and vibes but the quality of coffee is common.

With the best service from the baristas, you can have cappuccinos, oat lattes, single-cup brew, straight-up drip, and pour-over coffee at any locale.

Every employee here cannot help but learn everything about coffee without missing any step in the process of making a perfect cup. With that level of knowledge about every step, every coffee served manifests itself as the best coffee a customer can ever taste.

Intelligentsia Coffee Website

Contact: 773-348-8058; intelligentsiacoffee.com

5. Metropolis Coffee Company

Starting 18 years ago, this family-owned coffee company is famous and its brews can be found in many restaurants and bars.

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Paul Comstock/Flickr

Their roaster is in Avondale and the company is mostly in wholesale business these days but the café in Edgewater is a must-visit.

The cafe has a public view making it the best place to catch up with the world if you feel isolated due to working from home and the vibes are also perfect if you want that public view in front of your laptop if you want to take your office outside.

Besides coffee, the menu eateries are recommended usually and expect gluten free treats from De-Floured Bakery are a must-try.

Metropolis Coffee Company website

Contact: (773) 764-0400

6. Gaslight Coffee Roasters

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Bex Walton/Flickr

The café was made by co-founders who were ex-Metropolis employees namely Tristan Coulter and Zak Rye.

The café has a large space so one can expect to spend a full day here and the large windows offer a great view, especially of the Logan Square scene. The inside has a rustic-hipster theme including vintage lanterns, wood and taxidermy.

It is a great place not just for work and meet-ups but also for a family outings as it is open in flexible hours which can be checked on their website mentioned below, giving one every chance to not miss the experience of spending a few hours here only to the experience forever in your mind.

It has in-house roasted coffee and changes its selection every day. Pour-overs here are recommended.

Besides the freshly roasted beans, one must try their food menu which includes almost all varieties like omelets, sandwiches, and pastries. Aya Pastry and Droite Donuts are usually recommended by visitors to enjoy beside a hot cup of coffee.

The Gaslight Coffee Roasters website

7. Ipsento 606

Located between Milwaukee Ave and 606, Ipsento 606 is a hidden gem amongst the best coffee shops in Chicago.

It has a beautiful mural outside making a good Instagram update for you and people also nicknamed it “the coffee shop with the mural” which adds to this place’s other unique qualities.

The indoors have high ceilings giving a sense of large space. People say it feels like a spaceship inside giving a unique vibe and ambiance with cabinets and the machine. This place has enthusiastic energy with the place filled with roasted beans smell.

If visiting besides the fact that they only delicious coffee, you are recommended to try any of the espresso drinks from the menu, in-house fresh mini-doughnuts made by hand every morning, Nutella latte, and as the name suggests- the Ipsento latte which is made with honey, coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne.

If you visit the place in the evening, you can also try their bar which has local beers, wine, and craft cocktails adding to the crowd in this place.

Besides serving delicious cups of coffee, this place also has coffee classes for all enthusiastic learners looking to expand their knowledge. Almost regular public tasting sessions are popular in the locality, making this place more of a must-visit.

Ipsento 606 website

Contact: (872) 206-8697

8. Cafe Jumping Bean

Starting around 1994 in Pilsen which now has numerous other classic shops and stores, café jumping bean is unique in many ways.

best coffee shops in chicago
by: David Hilowitz/Flickr

A popular place in the neighborhood for more than 2 decades has made the new shop on Damen Avenue possible. The place is filled with people of all kinds like students, locals, and tourists.

With more than 25 years of best service, the place filled with coffee addicts also gets the opportunity of experiencing the place as a blend of coffee and art. In a much clearer sense, Café Jumping Bean in Pilsen’s first coffeehouse and a gallery filled with local artwork thus promoting small businesses as they should.

The place is lit brightly so you can enjoy your coffee pleasantly whilst you enjoy the artwork of the locals- a different combination but who is complaining right?

The list of great coffee that the cafe serves includes house special “screaming Bean”, a limited yet delicious menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastries adding to the tasteful day. The Mexican hot chocolate and a mollete topped with refried beans, salsa, cheese, and avocado are also popular.

For more details, the Cafe Jumping Bean Facebook page is here.

Contact: (312) 455-0019

9. Bridgeport Coffee Company

The original corner of Bridgeport on the south side is a classic and even though the new locations at Hyde Park Art Center and South Loop cannot be compared, the original spot is a classic and a must visit for all the coffee enthusiasts for an instant caffeine fix around the populous city.

The coffee roasting in corner of Morgan and 31st Street is from the best beans around the world and the Bridgeport coffee company also sells the same by the Pound as the quality is unmatched.

Their café has a homey vibe with warm tones and wooden-heavy looks making it one of the best coffee shops in Chicago.

With one of the best grinds in the city and expert staff, this place is a haven for people wishing for a place to feel the vibe of a good coffee place. Pour-overs of this place is undeniably the best making it hard for people to leave once they arrive.

Bridgeport Coffee Company website.

Contact: (773) 247-9950

10. Back of the Yards Coffee house and Roastery

This new South Side coffee shop might not be on your list to try the best coffee shops in Chicago but the café is increasingly making a name for itself in the ocean of other cafes in Chicago.

If you are a coffee person and also identify as an environmentalist and a social worker, this café is the best option to support all your causes at once.

Besides the motto of the owners to be robust and resilient, this café never forgets to give back thus leading to its growing name.

A portion of sales here goes for programs for example education and promoting peace. The café also has employees from the neighborhood and locals increasing the employment in the area and as if that was not enough, 95% of their waste goes to compost.

Although their coffee and food are must-try for so many reasons, you can especially look for vegan horchata, drip coffee, dulce de Leche cold brew, iced fruit tea, and cappuccino. Back of the Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery also have the option of pre-packaged cold brews and their deliveries- just many more reasons to like and support them.

Back of the Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery website

Contact: 773-475-6381

11. Build Coffee

You can find the Build coffee shop inside the Experimental Station on the south side. The location Experimental Station is a non-profit in Woodlawn and home to organizations like 61st St. Farmers Market and South Side Weekly.

The non-profit organizations’ offices nearby have led to varied services in Build coffee making it a unique place, especially for the informal community nearby but also a great place for you to try.

In Build Coffee is a dream of every caffeine-addicted bookworm because it is also a bookshop, and the event space for community events, host performances, local group meetings like journalists, and hosts performances.

Hence, it’s conclusive to say that if you need a book reading experience like you have at home, or live event space to get entertained while sipping the best coffee your favorite coffee or reading that book kept on the corner of your shelf for a year or have an informal work meeting, Build Coffee is the place just everything the same but better with coffee and the best service and ambiance.

It has a cozy interior and WiFi. One can try Halfwit Coffee (from java) or iced cardamom rose latte and grab anything for lunch or snack from the menu cause everything is nothing less than delicious, especially any pie as they’re from Justice of the Pies. You also have the option of sipping your coffee outside if all of the above was enough so you have another reason to visit this coffee shop in Chicago.

Build Coffee website

Contact: (773) 627-5058

12. Dark Matter Coffee

best coffee shops in chicago
by: Bex Walton/Flickr

With eight locations all over Chicago, this small brand coffee shop has made its name because of excellent caffeine doses for the addicts making them come over again for that heavenly experience. Although all eight locations are different, all have a cozy vibe in common.

Due to a different yet unique artisan approach to coffee, people call Dark Matter Coffee place also ‘the place where Art meets Coffee’ cause every mix of theirs features an artist or a musician- a bargain for all the fandoms out there!

 Dark Matter coffees are one of the leading coffee shops in coffee import and roasting. Every month they create different blends with their naturally processed coffee so you’re assured of never getting bored again. The coffee they use is naturally processed.

So art, music, and packaging are the unique quality after excluding the quality coffee.

Besides other good coffee, you can here also try hot chocolate and mocha with a twist.

Dark Matter coffee website

Contact: 773-697-8472; www.darkmattercoffee.com

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