Chicago is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of third-wave coffee, an American culinary movement begun in the 1990s to emphasize high-quality, artisanal coffee roasting and beverage production. A vast level of innovation permeates the city's local coffee scene, with many cafes offering unique twists on roasts from popular area roasters.
© Caffe Umbria
Caffé Umbria is a popular Seattle-based cafe chain that traces its roots back to a 1940s-era Italian roastery opened by Ornello Bizzarri. Today, the wholesale coffee roaster sources its beans to some of North America's finest dining establishments, including Las Vegas' famed Bellagio Hotel and Resort. Two cafe locations are offered throughout Chicago, including a location within the River North neighborhood's historic John R. Thompson Building and a new 9,000-square-foot location with the Armitage Avenue Car Barn. Traditional Italian-style coffee and espresso drinks are served at both locations, along with the company's signature upscale hot chocolate. Both locations sell packages of fresh-roasted coffee, and a unique open-plan design at the Armitage location allows visitors to observe daily roasting operations.
346 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, Phone: 312-877-5166
2.Bridgeport Coffee Company
© Bridgeport Coffee Company
Bridgeport Coffee Company is a popular South Side coffee shop located at the corner of 31st and Morgan Streets, serving up some of the world's best fair-trade coffee roasts with a quaint neighborhood corner shop vibe. The company, which was founded in 2004, roasts all of its own beans in house, crafted to emphasize the rich and complex flavor profiles of each crop. A varied menu of hot and cold coffee and espresso-based beverages ranges from simple but elegant pourovers to agave lattes, white mochas, and chai lattes infused with rooibos tea or yerba mate. Bagels and breakfast sandwiches are served up during the morning hours, with a wide variety of hot and cold deli sandwiches and wraps available at lunchtime. Three other locations of the coffee shop are offered at Roosevelt Collection, the Hyde Park Art Center, and adjacent to the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park.
3101 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608, Phone: 773-247-9950
3.Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
© Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
Sip of Hope Coffee Bar is a hybrid coffee house and charitable organization in Chicago's Logan Circle neighborhood, opened to the public in May of 2018 as a collaboration between the city's famed Dark Matter Coffee Roasters and the Hope for the Day nonprofit organization, which aims to improve mental health for area citizens through exposure to the arts. The cafe is the world's first coffee shop to donate 100% of its proceeds to mental health education and suicide prevention. A full menu of hot and cold coffee beverages are served, including the cafe's namesake blend, which has been brewed by Dark Matter since 2013. The shop hopes to raise suicide awareness in the Chicago community and serve as a space for people to discuss mental health without stigma. Merchandise purchase also support Hope for the Day, with items such as t-shirts and coffee mugs available.
3039 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, Phone: 773-661-6986
4.Limitless High Definition Coffee and Tea
© Limitless High Definition Coffee and Tea
Limitless High Definition Coffee and Tea is a health-conscious coffee shop in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, housed within a 2,500-square-foot cafe space overseen by co-owners Matt Matros, Chris Fanucchi, and Craig Alexander. The cafe, which has ties to national healthy-eating dining chain Protein Bar and Kitchen, serves up a wide variety of Instagram-worthy coffee and espresso-based beverages, including signature activated charcoal lattes. Wet-washed beans are sourced directly from organic farms throughout Colombia, Guatemala, and El Salvador, roasted in house at the company's Fulton Market roastery. Through the wet-washing process, toxic substances such as molds and contaminants are removed from beans, amplifying the health effects of the company's beverages.
217 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607, Phone: 312-929-4643
5.Dropshot Coffee and Snack Bar
© FieldHouse Jones
Dropshot Coffee and Snack Bar is a charming tennis-themed cafe housed within Chicago's boutique-style FieldHouse Jones Hotel, located near The Loop and Old Town. The cafe, which was opened to the public in 2017, serves up roasts provided by acclaimed Brooklyn-based coffee shop Toby's Estate, offering an inventive menu full of seasonal steamers, matcha lattes, and coffee coolers. Hot and cold tea selections are also provided by Rishi Teas. A light menu of all-day cafe fare highlights clever toast smashes, signature house burgers, and snacks such as kettle chips and mashed sweet potatoes. Ample USB outlets are offered throughout the cafe for patron use, with plenty of space for both tourists and locals to spread out and work or relax.
312 W Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60610, Phone: 312-496-3014
6.Gaslight Coffee Roasters
© Gaslight Coffee Roasters
Gaslight Coffee Roasters is a hip cafe in Chicago's Logan Circle neighborhood, originally opened in 2012 by owners Zak Rye and Tristan Coulte. The coffee shop, which is decorated in unique hunting lodge-style decor, roasts its own beans in house daily, offering seasonally-rotating menus for both coffees and food items. Specialty espresso beverages are made with house-made syrups and sugars, while Gaslight's own roasts are offered both drip and pourover style. The shop's food menu is dedicated to local, seasonal items, including cheeses and fruits, with unique items such as scrambled duck eggs available at brunch. Bags of the cafe's coffee roasts can also be purchased for takeout, with a free cup of coffee offered with each purchase.
2385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
7.Passion House Coffee Roasters
© Korn V./stock.adobe.com
Passion House Coffee Roasters is an intimate coffee shop near Chicago's Logan Square, originally opened in 2017 by Joshua Millman. The shop serves up a variety of delicious coffee and espresso-based beverages using beans crafted at its own roastery, striving to create excellently-balanced roasts and blends using minimal technology in an effort to emphasize the unique character of each plant cultivation. Coffee-based mocktails are also served, along with a selection of French-style pastries and globally-influenced fare from popular nearby dining spot Fat Rice. Regular public special events include coffee instruction courses and public cupping events on Friday afternoons.
2631 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, Phone: 847-224-6993
© Ipsento 606
Ipsento 606 is a bustling coffee shop offering two Chicago locations on Western and Milwaukee Avenues, originally opened in 2006 by founders Rachel and Jeremy Smith. The shop's name is a combination of the Latin words ipse, meaning "self," and sentio, meaning "to discover," reflecting its philosophy of coffee drinking as an experience of self-reflection and wellbeing. Today, the shop is helmed by co-owners Mandi and Tim Taylor, serving up a variety of globally-sourced roasts on a constantly seasonally-rotating menu. Signature beverages include Nutella-infused lattes and the flagship Ipsento, which infuses coconut milk and espresso with honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper. A light cafe menu of sandwiches and breakfast items is served at the shop's flagship Western Avenue location, while a full selection of beers, wines, and cocktails is available during the evening hours at its Milwaukee Avenue location.
1813 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, Phone: 872-206-8697
© Caffe Streets
Caffe Streets is a charming European-inspired cafe in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, owned and operated by Darko Arandjelovic, the co-owner of Chicago-based Metric Coffee Company. Metric roasts are served up in all of the cafe's coffee and espresso-based beverages, including pourover, Chemex, and siphon-filtered coffees. Bean selections rotate weekly, with seasonal lattes highlighting ingredients such as lavender, banana, and turmeric. European-style pastries such as croissants and scones are also made in house daily, served up alongside GMO-free and unpasteurized cold-pressed juices from Time Machine Juices. Specialty detox and cleanse juices may be ordered online through the cafe's website for direct pickup at the cafe throughout the day.
1750 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622, Phone: 773-278-2739
10.The Wormhole Coffee
© The Wormhole Coffee
The Wormhole Coffee is a clever 1980s-themed coffee shop in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, known for its quirky pop culture memorabilia, ranging from Star Wars action figures to a full-size DeLorean vehicle from the feature film Back to the Future. The cafe serves up an eclectic selection of coffee and espresso-based beverages using beans from Halfwit Coffee Roasters, including signature drinks such as the Honey Bear, which infuses locally-sourced honey, and the Koopa Troopa, which blends chocolate and peanut butter mousse into espresso. Standard coffee shop beverages such as macchiatos, cortados, and cold brew are also served up on the cafe's video game-themed menu, along with non-coffee beverages such as the Rocket Sauce, which combines yerba mate with ginger syrup and lime juice. Snacks range from standard pastries and doughnuts to bowls of childhood favorite cereals such as Cocoa Puffs and Fruity Pebbles.
1462 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, Phone: 773-661-2468
Kusanya Cafe is a popular coffee shop and nonprofit organization in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, owned and operated by former Robust Coffee Lounge employee Phil Sipka. The cafe, which was opened in November of 2013, serves up delicious coffee shop beverages with beans from El Salvador, Ethiopia, and the Congo, which are roasted onsite in small batches to bring out the unique flavor profile of each crop. Beverages range from simple dollar-cup drip coffee to hazelnut or caramel lattes and iced frappes topped with whipped cream. Handmade lemonades are also served up, along with health-conscious smoothies and a variety of hot and iced looseleaf teas. Community arts and culture events are hosted at the cafe throughout the month, along with job training and apprenticeship courses for area citizens.
825 W 69th St, Chicago, IL 60621, Phone: 773-675-4758
12.Ca Phe Da
© Cà Phê Dá
Cà Phê Dá is a Vietnamese-style cafe in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, located adjacent to popular Vietnamese restaurant HaiSous. The cafe, which is owned and operated by HaiSous executive chef Thai Dang, serving up coffee sourced directly from Vietnam in a wide variety of internationally-influenced beverages. Signature drinks include Vietnamese-style slow-drip coffee, vanilla egg custard-infused lattes, and s?a chuas, which blend coffee with ice and housemade yogurt. Bahn mi sandwiches are sourced from HaiSous, showcasing roasted pork and grilled chicken alongside ingredients such as pickled papaya and Vietnamese chili sauce. Hot entrees are available at lunch and dinner, including ph? ga and street food entrees. Local craft beers and clever cocktails are also available, along with Vietnamese pastries such as coconut buns and lychee danishes.
1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60608, Phone: 773-999-1800
13.Overflow Coffee Bar
© Overflow Coffee Bar
Overflow Coffee Bar is one of the most popular independent coffee shops in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood, originally incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2009 and opened as a public cafe two years later. The cafe is committed to environmentally-friendly and ethical business practices, taking fair-trade principles a step further and paying additional percentages directly to growers for all beans sourced. Decadent signature drinks include the cafe's signature Overflow coconut milk latte, which blends in chocolate and hazelnut flavors, and its Speziato latte, which adds cayenne pepper. Hot and iced teas are also served, along with smoothies, juices, and milk steamers. An assortment of pastries rotates seasonally, with delicious sandwiches and wraps available at lunchtime.
1550 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, Phone: 312-772-2356
© Sawada Coffee
Sawada Coffee is the United States' first cafe featuring the works of world-renowned latte artist Hiroshi Sawada, acclaimed for his barista work throughout Japan. The cafe, which is co-owned by Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, is located within popular West Loop restaurant Green Street Smoked Meats, which serves up delicious Texas-style barbecue dishes in a rustic dining room space. Signature beverages include Sawada's clever military latte, which blends green tea and vanilla syrup into espresso. Boozy steamers are also available, blending unique flavor combinations such as cider and bourbon or benedictine and chai. In addition to food from Green Street Smoked Meats, diners can enjoy a daily selection of doughnuts from Sodikoff's popular Doughnut Vault shop, including unique camouflage-style doughnuts.
112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607, Phone: 312-754-0431
© Build Coffee
Build Coffee is a combination cafe and bookstore located within Chicago's Experimental Station, a unique cultural center initiative in the city's South Side which supports a variety of area nonprofit and civic journalism organizations. The coffee shop, which was opened in the summer of 2017 by co-owners Hannah Nyhart and Bea Malsky, strives to serve as a space for radical collaboration, offering venue space for live performances, gallery shows, and workshops from organizations within the station. Coffee beverages use beans from regional roastery Halfwit Coffee Roasters, including specialty drinks such as sweetened cold brew and s'mores-style lattes. Pies are sourced from local bakery Justice of the Pies, with gourmet toasts crafted from Publican Quality Bread. A carefully-curated selection of new and used book offerings from local and independent publishers are also sold, including locally-created zines and chapbooks.
2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, Phone: 773-627-5058
16.Plein Air Cafe and Eatery
© Plein Air Cafe and Eatery
Plein Air Cafe and Eatery is a European-inspired cafe located within the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, adjacent to the historic Robie House. The cafe, which is owned and operated by Kevin Heisner and Soo Choi, is named after a popular French expression that is often used to describe the experience of painting outdoors in a warm, scenic environment. A full menu of coffee and espresso-based beverages is served up daily, showcasing a seasonally-changing roster of beans selected from the best artisanal roasters available. French-inspired breakfast and lunch fare is served up daily, including savory tartines and health-conscious grain bowls infused with a variety of fruit and vegetable ingredients.
5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, Phone: 773-966-7531
17.Back Of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery
© Back Of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery
Back Of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery is one of Chicago's newest coffee roasters, opened in 2017 by co-owners Mayra Hernandez and Jesse Iñiguez. The Hoyne Avenue roastery strives to act as a resilient and robust community gathering space for the city's often-maligned New City neighborhood, with one dollar from each coffee bag sale donated to nonprofit organizations aimed at ending gang violence and funding youth education and scholarship programs. Environmental sustainability programs such as composting services and reusable cups complement the cafe's menu of espresso-based beverages. Baked goods are also crafted in house from locally-sourced ingredients, many of which are produced directly within the New City neighborhood. Live music performances from local musicians have included performances by Grammy-nominated acts such as Sones de México.
2059 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60609
18.Osmium Coffee Bar
Osmium Coffee Bar is the newest cafe offering from the owners of Chicago's beloved Star Lounge Coffee Bar, located in the city's Lakeview neighborhood. The cafe, which opened to the public in 2014, serves up delicious coffee beverages crafted with beans from popular regional roaster Dark Matter, eschewing its parent cafe's focus on pourovers for a more espresso-focused menu. Unique beverages include the cafe's signature agave latte, which blends the natural sweetener with cinnamon and chocolate for a more health-conscious alternative to calorie-laden lattes. Other favorite drink options include spicy Mayan-style mochas and Chocolate City iced coffee. Baked goods are available dine-in or to go, with seating available inside or at graffiti-decorated tables in the shop's back patio. Live DJ sets are offered throughout the weekends, with steampunk-style art displayed in exhibitions throughout the shop's interior.
1117 W Belmont, Chicago, IL, Phone: 773-360-7553
Oromo Cafe is one of Chicago's most unique coffee shops, serving up artisanal lattes packed with superfood ingredients in the city's Lincoln Square neighborhood. The coffee shop, which is helmed by Le Cordon Bleu graduate chef Corey Joseph, takes its flavor cues from around the world, infusing international ingredients such as turmeric, maca, ashwaganhda, and moringa. One-of-a-kind beverages include the shop's Vietnamese-style lemongrass and ginger iced coffees, Turkish-inspired pistachio and rose lattes, and Golden Milk lattes, which infuse the traditional Indian-style turmeric and honey milk beverage with a shot of espresso. Dairy-free nut milks made in house are available in all beverages, along with coconut-based syrups. A portion of all coffee shop proceeds go to charitable organizations benefiting Ethiopian coffee farmers.
4703 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, Phone: 773-799-1931
19 Best Coffee Shops in Chicago
- Caffe Umbria, Photo: Caffe Umbria
- Bridgeport Coffee Company, Photo: Bridgeport Coffee Company
- Sip of Hope Coffee Bar, Photo: Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
- Limitless High Definition Coffee and Tea, Photo: Limitless High Definition Coffee and Tea
- Dropshot Coffee and Snack Bar, Photo: FieldHouse Jones
- Gaslight Coffee Roasters, Photo: Gaslight Coffee Roasters
- Passion House Coffee Roasters, Photo: Korn V./stock.adobe.com
- Ipsento 606, Photo: Ipsento 606
- Caffe Streets, Photo: Caffe Streets
- The Wormhole Coffee, Photo: The Wormhole Coffee
- Kusanya Cafe, Photo: WavebreakmediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Ca Phe Da, Photo: Cà Phê Dá
- Overflow Coffee Bar, Photo: Overflow Coffee Bar
- Sawada Coffee, Photo: Sawada Coffee
- Build Coffee, Photo: Build Coffee
- Plein Air Cafe and Eatery, Photo: Plein Air Cafe and Eatery
- Back Of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery, Photo: Back Of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery
- Osmium Coffee Bar, Photo: amenic181/stock.adobe.com
- Oromo Cafe, Photo: joesayhello/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Tierney/stock.adobe.com