A CUP O’ CHICAGO: 12 URBAN JAVA GEMS

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Kikwetu

Embark on a caffeinated journey through Chicago’s diverse coffee scene, from the Black-owned Momentum Coffee to the family-owned Kikwetu Coffee Company. Indulge in unique blends and locally sourced delights at Cupitol, Yolk, and more.

Momentum Coffee

With five locations around the city, including Millennium Park and South Loop, there are plenty of opportunities to support Momentum Coffee, a Black-owned business. Pair your cup of joe with its specialty almond croissants; for non-coffee drinkers, try a turmeric ginger tea or matcha lemonade.

Cupitol  

Cupitol’s “All Day Lounge” serves everything from breakfast to lunch to an early dinner. Take your pick between coffee and cocktails in West Loop, Streeterville and Evanston. Cupitol boasts of affordable prices, and its products are locally sourced and homemade.

KIKWETU COFFEE COMPANY

The family-owned Kikwetu sources its products from small-scale Kenyan farmers to bring a piece of home to Chicago. Kikwetu can be found at 360 Chicago’s Cloudbar and pop-up locations throughout the city. Check its website for up-to-date information and to purchase its beans, teas and other gift items. 

Yolk 

Yolk, renowned for its fresh and innovative approach to breakfast and lunch, sets itself apart with an exclusive coffee blend from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region, elegantly crafted by Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago. Beyond the unique coffee, Yolk delights diners with a diverse menu featuring signature dishes like pot roast benedict and red velvet French toast. 

OVERFLOW COFFEE

Overflow’s South Loop cafe is in the former home of Vee-Jay Records, a legendary rhythm-and-blues label famous for classics like “Duke of Earl” and “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss).” In addition to memorabilia from the label’s heyday lining its walls, Overflow honors its heritage with live music from local musicians. 

NECESSARY & SUFFICIENT COFFEE

At its cafes in Logan Square and the South Loop’s historic Printers Row, Necessary & Sufficient Coffee uses exclusively local, fresh, whole and organic ingredients. Its commitment to sustainability is also reflected by offering a 5 percent discount on beverage orders for those who bring their own container. 

LOU MITCHELL’S

Sometimes nothing beats a good cup of coffee from a diner. The sign above Lou Mitchell’s, a West Loop breakfast and lunch spot, proudly boasts that its Golden Cup Award-winning blend is the “world’s finest.” Open since 1923, Lou Mitchell’s has been owned by the same Greek family through five generations, and is the oldest continually operated restaurant in the city. 

STARBUCKS RESERVE ROASTERY

The five-story Starbucks Reserve Roastery on the Magnificent Mile is the iconic brand’s largest location. Each level offers a different experience for the coffee lover, including rare, experimental creations such as nitro-infused gelato, coffee flights and coffee cocktails.


VIETFIVE

VietFive owner Tuan Huynh was displaced with his family to the Vietnamese highlands after the fall of Saigon in 1975. There, they learned how to harvest robusta beans on volcanic soil. Huynh and his family fled to Malaysia before being accepted into the U.S., where they started their family-owned business in the Windy City, with a shop in the West Loop.

BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE

Oregon-originated Blue Bottle purchases certified organic coffee, sourced from farmers they’ve partnered with for at least five years. Its shops on the Magnificent Mile and River North focus on crafting specialty coffee, from bold to bright, to meet your flavor needs. 

THE UNDERSTUDY COFFEE AND BOOKS

Since opening in March 2023, The Understudy in Andersonville has become a haven for Chicago’s famed theater scene. In addition to serving single-origin coffees, teas and pastries from local providers, its bookstore contains more than 3,500 plays and other books related to the craft of the performing arts. The Understudy frequently hosts readings by local playwrights, theater trivia nights, open mics and other events. 

GROUND UP COFFEE CO.

Small batch, artisanal coffee is on the menu at Ground Up Coffee Co.’s shops in Greektown and River North. Stop in for a breakfast sandwich and a cup, or try a specialty drink like a masala chai latte or a nitro cold brew infused with espresso. Ground Up also sells its beans, which are roasted at its own facility. 

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