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Best Craft Coffee Spots In Chicago

We've come as far from that watery diner coffee as beer has evolved from your dad's fizzy yellow stuff. Java is no longer just a morning jolt or an afternoon pick-me-up - it's a complex elixir of bean varietals that rival grapes for wine. If you're going to have just a cup or two a day, why not make it the best by choosing craft coffee spots that offer inky brews with a range of tasty notes.
(Photo Credit: @passionhousecr on Twitter)

Passion House Coffee Roasters
2021 W Fulton St.
Chicago Il 60612
(312) 733-3998

Founder, Joshua Millman, is coo-coo for coffee: "When people drink Passion House Coffee the expectations are high, it's our mission to continue providing consistent quality coffee. We reject hundreds of cups until we are satisfied." The roaster separates its coffee into three distinct genres: Ambient (subtle complexity that enhances your current state of awareness, think Mark Rothko's art or music by Brian Eno); Mainstream (familiar like The Beatles and Van Gogh); and Experimental - something bright that would liquidly entertain John age or Picasso. Enjoy roasting tours and a tasting room where you can experience myriad styles of pour-over coffees.

519 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 284-1377

Both locations, Streeterville and River North, boast a java roster that befits the noun "program" featuring two stellar local roasters, Intelligentsia and Metropolis. The first time in, you can't lose with a Nitro (by La Colombe), a Bulletproof Coffee with unsalted grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oi, perky Mexican Iced Coffee and comforting Honey & Cinnamon Latte. Pastries at the coffee bar are made fresh daily and are hard to resist as an escort to your coffee because there's something for everyone: vegan and gluten free cookies, an ethereal Angel Food Cake Muffin and a new Superfood Muffin made with coffee flour, among the choices. Stay for lunch or dinner because the food is equally fabulous.

Dollop Coffee
(Photo Credit:

4181 N Clarendon Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 360-1366

Dollop opened in 2005 in the Uptown neighborhood and now there are 10 locations in the city offering a range of alt brew options, from aero press to Chemex. "We utilize an espresso technology called Modbar at many of our locations," explains manager Dan Weiss, "which pre-infuses espresso from taps that are built into the counter, as opposed to using a bulky, less theatric machine." Dollop serves locally roasted Metropolis coffee, up to eight offerings daily. The most popular drinks are Honey Cinnamon Latte and Nutella Mocha. Pastries are baked in-house at the company bakeshop in Ukrainian Village and count on made-to-order breakfast and lunch sandwiches as well as salads.

Related:  Best Coffee Shops To Work From Home In Chicago

Groundswell Coffee Roasters
4839 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 754-7590

Since summer 2015, the micro-roaster has been jacking up the Ravenswood/Lincoln Square neighborhood with caffeine from coffees sourced from regions around the planet including Africa, Central America, Indonesia, Yemen and South America. Coffees, roasted just down the street, rotate seasonally, based on availability and flavor and the menu spans traditional espresso-based drinks, as well as single-origin pour-over offerings, cold brew iced coffee and batch brewed "fast coffee." When you need more than coffee, order locally-baked pastries and house-made panini. The business takes great tasting java seriously and will soon open a second storefront in the West Loop and a third in Lincoln Square in fall, 2016.

Awake Cafe
1357 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago IL 60642
(312) 492-8600

Take a deep breath when you enter West Town's Awake Cafe and you can coast on the fumes of coffee love. Coffee is strictly fair-trade beans roasted by Chicago's own Metropolis. Order a single cups (drip, Latte, Cappuccino, Cuban, Red Eye, etc) or coffee boxes that serve 8-10.  Awake's cold brew lives up to the shop's name as it's an 18 hours brew process resulting in an extremely flavorful, dark roast coffee. Pastries, all-day breakfast, salads, sandwiches and more than a few vegan and vegetarian options round out the menu.

Related: Best Bars With Tropical Drinks In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at

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