For many of us, the daily doses of caffeine come from the humble home coffee pot. It’s inexpensive, and the convenience can’t be beat. But what self-proclaimed coffee addict doesn’t sometimes yearn for better? We’re talking beyond Starbucks, obviously. Here are six places across Chicagoland worth a visit the next time you’re looking to venture out to try something elevated, something unique.
Evanston – Brothers K Coffeehouse
Evanston isn’t lacking for coffee shops, but Brothers K is a local institution. The tiled floors, steady population of sipping customers hard at work (pre- and, hopefully, post-COVID), and a pleasant outdoor seating area amidst a homey block are just a few of the things that make this place special. Brothers K sources an extensive selection of baked goods from up to half a dozen local bakeries and roasts beans from Metropolis, a crowd favorite in the city. Not to be overlooked is the wonderful staff, who evoke the vibe of the place: cultured, while unpretentious. Even their website is quite the experience — and the event calendar features upcoming poetry readings and “latte art” classes.
Libertyville – Hansa Coffee
Hansa is far more than your average cafe. Well actually it’s three cafes, first of all, once you include the Lake Bluff and Vernon Hills locations. More importantly though, Hansa has quickly become a regional force in everything they do, from a growing bean wholesale business to in-house baked goods available in online order by the dozens to even selling premium coffee roasting equipment. The main Libertyville cafe, just steps from a Metra station, is in an airy repurposed space with open garage doors allowing plenty of fresh air in the warmer months, so now is the perfect time to consider a trip over.
Roselle – Maple Leaf Coffee Roasters
For a trip that takes you both north and south of the border, head to Roselle’s Maple Leaf. Year round blends include a Toronto blend, Winnipeg blend, Pond Hockey blend, and Guatemalan blend. Rotating blends include a diverse array of Mexican, Ethopian, Indonesian, El Salvadorian, and Colombian blends, among others. The couple behind Maple Leaf are very passionate about finding a roast that works for you — as if they’re your personal coffee consultants. Using their reasonably-priced monthly subscription program, this would also be an excellent option if you’re looking to permanently upgrade the coffee you use in the home pot.
Elmhurst – Brewpoint Coffee
There’s no doubt that Brewpoint has put Elmhurst on the coffee map. Brewpoint now has multiple locations, an online store, and wholesale distribution of their own beans, but the original “Founder’s Cafe” in downtown Elmhurst is where it all began. Reviewers speak highly of the atmosphere amidst a game room and ample space to work, as well as impressive baked goods including gluten free options. You can get familiar with Brewpoint’s signature blends on their website and even follow along at home with their brew guides. And for when coffee isn’t enough, their other Elmhurst location and a new Oak Park outpost will now feature signature cocktails and charcuterie.
Aurora – Endiro Coffee
Now a decade in the making, downtown Aurora’s Endiro Coffee works from the noble goal of looking to end child vulnerability worldwide. The menu is divided into American and Ugandan genres. Note the impressive diversity of brewing techniques and flavor combinations, such as the Sticky Bun Latte or Bananas Foster Latte. They also boast some impressive frappe espresso drinks that double as a caffeine boost and dessert. As for the space, it’s can’t-miss in good weather, with outdoor seating right along the Fox River. This cozy, well-decorated, and tasty spot unsurprisingly draws rave reviews.
Bolingbrook – Kafe Du Monde
“Like Beethoven, we specialize in precision,” says Kafe Du Monde on their website. It’s a claim that’s hard to argue. The Kafe keeps it simple with just one roast for now, and the menu will feel less intimidating than perhaps some others on this list, but reviewers speak extremely highly about the quality of ingredients that go into each drink here. The excitement is fresh — Du Monde is a new addition to the community, and the owner greets all with a smile and conversation. An oak-lined ceiling and metal wire chairs are part of a unique aesthetic you won’t soon forget. Snag a delicious baked good while you’re at it. You’ll notice the prices are very consumer-friendly as well.