Chicago is a city known for jazz, deep-dish pizza, and improv comedy, but did you know that it has some of the best coffee in the country?
While big-name chains like Starbucks have been around for years, it was not until recently that more high-end specialty coffee shops began popping up across Chicago.
The best Chicago specialty coffee roasters are Dark Matter Coffee, Bridgeport Coffee, and Intelligentsia Coffee. Whether you’re looking for a nice place to relax as you enjoy your cup of coffee or simply want to pick up some freshly-roasted beans, these three options are your best bet.
Several spots in the city specialize in roasting specialty coffee beans. Each roaster has its own unique personality and style.
Here are some of the best places to get a delicious cup of joe.
1. Dark Matter Coffee
Dark Matter Coffee is more than a place to get breakfast, lunch, and drinks.
This Chicago-born franchise has become a community-centered coffeehouse in the city that offers its customers a space to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of others.
Their culture is community-driven, and they pride themselves on being a part of the growth and development of Chicago.
Dark Matter is a creative coffee-roasting family driven by the community and a desire to provide the most honest and objective coffee you will ever taste.
By following a guiding principle that high-quality coffee should be sourced with an emphasis on supply chain transparency, innovative thinking, and civic responsibility.
Sustainability and ethical business practices are their top priorities.
Their business has embraced their coffee bean growers as family, enabling them to source our beans effectively from the farm to the cup, thanks to collaborations with growers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico.
This clarity in sourcing results in proper business operations, and unrivaled quality assurance is a distinction you’ll notice in every cup.
Dark Matter Coffee shops are a great place to spend time with friends and family or get some work done while enjoying a delectable cup of coffee.
While it’s a local coffee shop, and they have many location options within the city from which you can choose.
For Dark Matter Coffee, quality has always been paramount.
From their dedication to small batch roasting to their devotion to community engagement and environmental stewardship, they’ve made it clear that they’re not here to just push out products–they’re here to bring people together around high-quality coffee.
2. Bridgeport Coffee
Bridgeport Coffee Company is a Chicago-based company specializing in the retail and wholesale distribution of fantastic coffee beans and roasts on the city’s South Side.
Having formed in 2004, Bridgeport Coffee Company identifies itself as building a bridge to the land from where you sip a delicious cup of coffee to where your coffee is grown.
They strive to supply extraordinary roasted coffees to bright purveyors and food service outlets, as well as a unique variety of rich, complex aromas and flavors, including the mastery of the mainstream market of premium, top-quality coffees.
Bridgeport Coffee Company maintains a close partnership with several growers, guaranteeing the most accessible paths to some of the most exquisite globally produced coffee beans, which embody all the characteristics coffee lovers value.
They strive to give their customers the gratification of being able to appreciate the flavor and aromas of their distinctive roasts.
While their showcased roasts shift from season to season, they provide a diverse selection of coffee, such as artisanal blends, single-origin coffee beans, green beans, and decaf coffee.
Using a fluid-bed roasting process that roasts beans in circulating air rather than metal drums that can burn, they provide consumers with a more elaborate interaction with each cup.
If you’re looking to spoil yourself with a delicious cup of Bridgeport coffee, they can be found at their home location – the Bridgeport Coffeehouse at the Hyde Park Art Center.
Alternatively, you can visit some of their other spots:
- Bridgeport Coffeebar at Roosevelt Collection
- Bridgeport Coffeehouse at 31st & Morgan
- Bridgeport Coffeehouse in the Chicago Loop at Michigan & Jackson
Bridgeport has taken its passion for great coffee, knowledge, and expertise throughout each location to create a unique experience for anyone who visits.
One of the things that makes Bridgeport Coffee so unique is that they take the time to talk with their customers about what they want out of their coffee experience.
3. Intelligentsia Coffee
Intelligentsia, a Chicago-based coffee company with cafés around the country, has been regularly named one of the best roasters in the world by publications such as Food & Wine and Zagat.
Moreover, they’ve established themselves as a pioneer in fair trade coffee and sustainability by refusing to use coffee beans from sources that are not at least fair trade certified.
It’s an ideal model for any consumer who wants to buy coffee that supports both business growth for small farmers and humane labor practices.
Intelligentsia has constructed and fine-tuned its method of selecting and purchasing some of the world’s best coffees, as well as collaborating with those who share their passion for quality, over the past 20 years.
Today, their Direct Trade Charter model encapsulates five core business principles that maintain their values.
They get their coffee beans from various countries:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- And Kenya, to name a few.
One of the finest features of how Intelligentsia does business is its seasonal operations.
They deliver their customers unique blends related to Northern or Southern seasons, providing a wide variety of high-quality coffee beans from many locations worldwide for consumers to try.
In Chicago, you’ll be able to find Intelligentsia coffee shops in five areas:
- Broadway Coffeebar
- Monadnock Coffeebar
- Millennium Park Coffeebar
- Wicker Park Coffeebar
- Logan Square Coffeebar.
Intelligentsia Coffee bars are a place for people to gather, learn, and share.
They believe that coffee is an intimate experience, not just a drink. Their coffee shops are places for education and experimentation.
They create opportunities for their customers to learn about the art of coffee making and the science of quality roasting.
4. Metric Coffee
There are a lot of places in Chicago to find good coffee. If you’re looking for a fantastic location with great coffee, a relaxed atmosphere, and friendly staff, try Metric Coffee Chicago.
Located in West Fulton, Chicago, Metric offers its customers great-tasting coffee and delicious treats and pastries baked fresh daily.
Fresh pastries such as croissants and breakfast buns come highly recommended.
Metric is a company that values culture, equal opportunity, and diversification.
The Metric family comprises a diverse group of people from various spheres of society who are all united by a love of high-quality coffee and excellent customer service.
Since its founding in 2012, its mission has been to ensure quality and integrity are shared, from sourcing and roasting processes to coffee production at its cafe.
Metric sources coffee which is connected to sustainable growth by cooperating with five nations, each of which has its distinctive coffee, population, and narratives.
This implies that their growers can generate a profit after paying their operating costs and investing in their land and quality of life.
However, their ethical business practices do not end there. They offer competitive salaries, medical coverage, and paid leave to their Chicago cafe staff.
This encapsulates how much not only the brand but people like you and I mean to them too.
Ultimately, Metric Coffee sources its coffee from various farms worldwide, emphasizing quality over quantity.
They focus on selling small-batch, gourmet beans for those interested in learning about different kinds of coffee and don’t mind paying a little more for something worth the difference.
If you’re looking for great coffee that’s been carefully roasted, Metric Coffee offers it at their cafe and online.
5. Printer’s Row Coffee Co.
Printer’s Row Coffee Company is a locally owned coffee shop that caters to neighborhood residents and the many tourists visiting Chicago each summer.
Entrepreneurs and owners of Printer’s Row Coffee Co., Nicole and Nick, a graphic designer and pharmacist by trade, share a love for the artistry of roasting small batches of single-origin coffee.
According to their description, single-origin coffees are purified, unblended coffees from a single origin or grower.
The characteristic soil, altitude, environment, and farming practices of the regions from which it is sourced are reflected in the varieties of the coffee.
Single-origin coffee allows you to taste, acknowledge, and understand these flavors.
Nicole and Nick, therefore, ensure that their roasting methods bring these distinct flavors forward for consumers to taste and appreciate.
Printer’s Row Coffee can be described as an intimate roastery paying specific attention to the finer details.
They source their coffee beans from the following regions:
- Columbia Medellin
- Nicaragua Jinotega
- Peru Cajamarca
The cafe and roastery are located at 2482 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park.
Having opened in 2017, the cafe is relatively small but provides delicious baked goods and treats that go hand in hand with their artisanal coffee.
They roast their coffees using the most acceptable small-batch methods possible.
Every time you purchase from them, you help small businesses grow and get the best viable product for your money.
Their business revolves around relationships with each customer and their individual needs.
6. Metropolis Coffee Company
Metropolis Coffee Company is a local Chicago gem that’s been around for quite some time. They offer delicious coffee, and their baristas are extremely friendly.
Their drinks are artfully crafted and taste great!
Jeff and Tony, the Metropolis brand owners and father-son duo, have put their passion for science fiction, fantasy, and mythology front and center since 2003.
And have since established their company as one of Chicago’s most contemporary, innovative coffee brands.
Recent times have seen the company expand. They’ve grown into a massive 18,000-square-foot (1,672.25 square meters) roastery that runs along the Northern Branch of the Chicago River, where they now conduct their roasting processes.
They’ve stuck true to their routes and continue running their business out of the Edgewater Cafe.
However, their coffee isn’t only available at their cafe.
Numerous associate cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, workplaces, and other locations serve Metropolis Coffee Company’s coffee products.
This draws specific attention to the fact that, although they have deep roots in Chicago, their partnerships span all of Northern America.
They source only the highest quality beans from all over the world, roast them in small batches, and carefully package them to ensure their unique flavor is preserved.
Metropolis’s mission is to provide people with the best coffee money can buy.
Their aim is to make sure each cup of coffee they brew is an extremely satisfying experience for the customer.
The best roasters in the world are honored by Roast Magazine’s Roaster of the Year competition.
It should be noted that Metropolis won this prestigious award and was chosen as the 2007 Roaster of the Year, highlighting its goal and dedication to excellence, environmental stewardship, and the coffee industry as a whole.
You’ll first notice the friendly, casual environment when you walk into a Metropolis Coffee Company shop.
It’s not all that uncommon for coffee lovers to be standing around and talking, enjoying a cup of coffee as they do so.
Occasionally, music plays in the shop, creating a cozy, laid-back vibe that draws in more customers and makes a comfortable space that encourages them to stay a little longer than they otherwise would.
Metropolis offers many things you’d expect from a great coffee shop: light food options, free WI-FI, airy seating areas with an artsy vibe, and plenty of outlets for your laptop or phone charger.
But what sets Metropolis apart from its competitors is its dedication to educating customers about coffee.