From a quiet corner shop to a Michelin star approved restaurant, coffee is everywhere in Chicago, and it may be overwhelming to figure out where to have your next cup. So whether you’re craving a traditional black coffee or a fancy Ristretto, we’ve got all the main coffee shops covered!
Coffee Culture in Chicago
While the coffee scene in Chicago is nowhere near as elaborate as Seattle or Portland, it is emerging as a unique culture that transcends quirky flavours or fancy cups. The sheer quality of the small coffee roasters and their commitment to making their shops a neighbourhood centre sets them apart from other cities. There are nearly 38 independent coffee roasters in Chicago and countless cafes and chain coffeehouses.
While Chicago is too far off the equator to grow coffee beans, the roasters compensate by directly sourcing their coffee from farmers across the world. A million coffee places are hiding in plain sight owned by people from all walks of life- from combat veterans to family businesses that are worth checking out.
Best Coffee Roasters in ChicagoWith the expresso filled aroma wafting through the air, Independent roasters are at the heart of Chicago's coffee scene. The number of roasters has only been increasing over the years, adding to the vibrant coffee culture. With people moving away from pre-packaged coffee, roasters are making their prices more affordable and coffee more accessible. Forget about Starbucks or Dunkin; here are some local business to support:
1. The Coffee and Tea ExchangeThe Coffee and Tea Exchange is a veteran roaster and cafe established way back in 1975. One of the first stores in Chicago to roast their own beans opened in a small store in East Lakeview and is still located there today. With shipping options available all over the country, authentic and diverse beans from all over the world, and affordable prices, The Coffee and Tea Exchange sells some of the best coffee in the city. Check out their herbs, coffee makers, and African coffee varieties when you visit the store.
Address: 3311 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, United States
Hours: Weekdays: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Weekends: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
2. Dark Matter Coffee
Dark Matter is a popular coffee roaster that has opened cafes in nearly seven areas of Chicago. With their commitment to Sustainability and fair business practices, they source their beans directly from farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico. Their unique coffee flavours combined with the quirky cafes, make it a popular destination for coffee connoisseurs and retailers. Dark Matter also provides catering services for events.
Locations: Mothership, Osmium, Star Lounge, Electric Mud, Meddle, Caravanserai, Sleep Walk Chocolateria, Chocolate City Coffee Palace, and Bodega.
3. Wormhole Coffee
This 80s themed cafe is a front for the Halfwit coffee roasters. Try Wormhole specialities like Homemade Vanilla Bean. Vanilla latte, Peanut Butter Koopa-Troopa, Peanut mousse local chocolate, Cool But Rude, Ginger and curry latte, and the Honey Bear Latte! With cosy, rustic interiors and a wonderful vibe, Wormhole cafe is a must-visit if you are in Chicago.
Address: 1462 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, United States
Timings: 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
4. Metric Coffee
Metric coffee is the lovechild of Darko Arandjelovic (founder of Caffe Streets) and Xavier Alexander (former Roasting Manager at Intelligentsia). It got its name from the 1960s German Probat roasting machine which still uses nuts, bolts, and metrics. The in-house roasted coffee and pressed juices are its main attraction. At its core, it remains a roaster and vintage coffee beans supplier. It has one cafe called the Cafe Alley that opened in 2016.
Address: 2021 W Fulton St suite k-101b, Chicago, IL 60612, United States
Timings: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
5. Gaslight Coffee RoastersGaslight Coffee Roasters is a chic, wood furbished roaster located at the famous Logan Square in Illinois. Apart from the regular tea and pastries, Gaslight Coffee Roasters offers a delicious breakfast menu of duck eggs, Benedict, charcuterie, housemade pickles, and local cheeses. Buy a pack of coffee beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Tanzania, or Honduras, and get a hot cup of coffee free!
Address: 2385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
Timings: 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
6. Groundswell Coffee Roasters
Initially located in the St Paul neighbourhood, Groundswell is now in three major locations in Chicago. Along with seasonal coffee packs from all over South America, you can also relax and eat in-house bakery and cafe food. They have partnered with several cafes that serve their coffee beans such as- Dogwood Coffee Co., Autumnwood Farm, Gray Duck Chai, Bare Honey, Hidden Stream Farm, Morning Sun Farms, Lambalot Acres, TeaSource, and Red Table Meat Co.
Address: Ravenswood 4839 n Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60625,
West Loop, 1168 w Madison St. Chicago, IL 60607,
Lincoln Square, 5008 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL 60625
Timings: 7:00 AM -4:00 PM
7. Veteran Roasters
If you want to make a difference while enjoying a cup of Joe’s, Veteran Roasters is the best place! Their mission is to end homelessness and unemployment in the veteran community, and thus their staff is almost entirely veterans. WIth coffee beans sourced directly from Papa New Guinea and Brazil, their coffee is fresh and sustainable. They sell light, medium, dark, and decaf coffee blends at reasonable prices. Check out their Night-Ops roast and Cup of Joe’s roast if you are in the area!
Address: 2021 West Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612
Best Cafes and Coffee Houses in ChicagoIf you want to spend some time relaxing while sipping on your coffee, Chicago has many cafes. From quick takeouts to cosy, decorated cafes, some of the most popular coffeehouses have a hot coffee cup in Chicago.
8. Oromo Coffee
Serving affordable coffee with an organic, gluten-free menu, Oromo cafe is tucked away in Lincoln Avenue. Their speciality drinks range from hazelnut-horchata latte to a lemongrass-ginger Vietnamese iced coffee. Oromo coffee is the perfect place to unwind on a rainy day.
Address: 1912 N Western Ave, Chicago 60647
Timings: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
9. Bridgeport Coffee CompanyBridgeport Coffee Company has four cafes- Coffeehouse 31st & Morgan, South Loop at Roosevelt Collection, Hyde Park Art Center, and Jackson Loop. Besides, they also roast their own coffee and supply it to other cafes like Cafe Mustache. The Bridgeport Coffee Co. serves coffee along with an assorted menu at all locations. Outdoor seating and 19th-century architecture define Bridgeport Coffee Co.
Address: 3101 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608, United States
Timings: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
10. Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
The Sip of Hope community coffee roasters and bar is a one-of-a-kind venture where all proceeds combat mental health education and suicide prevention. With beautiful modern art and sleek interiors, this cafe is partnered with a mental health non-profit, Hope For The Day. For 5 dollars, you can enjoy a great cup of coffee and contribute to a good cause.
Address: 3039 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
Timings: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
11. Back of the Yards Coffeehouse & Roastery
A recent addition to the coffee scene in Chicago, the Back of the Yards Coffeehouse & Roastery is owned by two friends who grew up in the area. Their beans are sourced from Mexico, and some proceedings from sales go to maintaining the neighbourhood. Check out their signature drinks- Dulce de leche cold brew, Housemade Chai Latte, and Horchata Cold Brew, and delicious bagels, toasts, and pastries for sides.
Address: 2059 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60609, United States
Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
12. Damn Fine Coffee Bar
With the name inspired by the TV show Twin Peaks, the Damn Fine Coffee Bar offers roasted coffee from Halfwit Roasters. From American staples like espressos and lattes to pastries, tea, and non-dairy options, Damn Fine Coffee Bar has something for everyone. Located in Logan Square, visit the cafe for a relaxing and aromatic morning caffeine buzz.
Address: 3317 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
Timings: 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
13. Hero Coffee Bar
Craving for some fast coffee or speciality drinks like Maple Spiced Brulee Latte? Check out this rustic, charming cafe with Instagram worthy walls and cosy interiors. With a delicious menu of sandwiches, bagels, and seasonal coffees, the Hero Coffee bar is one of Chicago's most popular cafes.
Address: 22 East Jackson Ave.Chicago, IL
Timings: Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 3:30pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30pm; Sunday, Closed
14. Intelligentsia Coffee
Started in 1995, Intelligentsia Coffee still rules the coffee scene in Chicago. Sustainably sourced beans paid by a fair price, this cafe and roaster are found in five main cities Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York but its Chicago roots stand strong. With a loyal customer base, this cafe is a local and tourist favourite. Taste organic coffee from all over the world at this iconic shop represents the third wave coffee in the US.
Address: 1850 W. Fulton Street Chicago, IL. Also find them at Broadway Coffee Bar, Monadnock Coffeebar, Millennium Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Old Town.
15. Heritage Bikes and Coffee
One of the few shops to sell and mend Chicago-made bikes, the Heritage Coffee and Bikes is a unique coffeehouse. They mend bikes and serve delicious coffee! Try their french roast, Columbian coffee, and Decaf Legacy along with breakfast burritos, avocado toast, or "diner breakfast". This is the perfect stop for an aromatic brew if you explore Chicago on a bike and need a caffeine refuel!
Address: 172 N Racine Chicago, IL 60607 b/t Monroe St & Adams St, West Loop, Near West SideNext time you’re in the city, add coffeehouse-hopping to your itinerary and explore the streets of Chicago, amped up on caffeine!
Timings: 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM