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The Top Coffee Shops in Chicago for the Best Local Cup of Joe

The Top Coffee Shops in Chicago for the Best Local Cup of Joe

  |     |   Food and Drink

There are multiple roasteries in Chicago that diligently acquire beans to create the right mix, as well as serious coffee houses that provide drips and espresso that put cheap diner fare to shame. At these 10 key shops, both roasters and baristas may show off their drink-making skills.

Metropolis Coffee, Standing Passengers, Blue Bottle Coffee, Mojo Coffee, South Shore Brew, and Afro Joe's Coffee and Tea have all been included for the fall 2021 update. Due to Chicago's top-notch baristas and robust, nuanced brews, narrowing down this list was exceptionally difficult.


1. Mojo Coffee

200 S Wacker Dr

Chicago, IL 60606

(312) 631-3881

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This New Zealand import has three open locations in Chicago (a fourth is still closed for the pandemic) and proves that there is more to coffee from the Southern Hemisphere than the flat white — although Mojo’s version is one of the city’s best. The food menu is also unusually sophisticated for a coffee shop, offering a selection of fancy toasts and omelettes for breakfast and lunch.


2. Cà Phê Dá

1/2, 1800 S Carpenter St

Chicago, IL 60608

(773) 999-1800

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You won’t be able to grab a weekday morning cup of coffee at this cafe attached to HaiSous — it’s only open in the evening and for weekend brunch — but if you go, you will have the advantage of enjoying chef Thai Dang’s chicken wings, fries, and waffles. The coffee is also “Dang Good,” brewed Vietnamese-style and served with a truly decadent cap of egg custard.


3. Cafe Jumping Bean

1439 W 18th St

Chicago, IL 60608

(312) 455-0019

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A Pilsen standard for more than two decades, Cafe Jumping Bean has become a community hub and now has a second location a few blocks west on Damen Avenue. In addition to coffee, including the house special “Screaming Bean,” the cafe serves a limited menu of sandwiches and salads.


4. Bridgeport Coffee Company

3101 S Morgan St

Chicago, IL 60608

(773) 247-9950

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This neighborhood cafe grinds out some of the city's best coffee using beans procured from across the world, which it sells by the pound. There’s a second location in the Hyde Park Art Center.


5. Back Of The Yards Coffehouse & Roastery

2059 W 47th St

Chicago, IL 60609

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Back of the Yards Coffee is a community icon in a neighborhood that often only finds itself in the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. The owners pledged to make their coffeehouse and roastery a welcoming place. Their motto reflects their efforts: "resilient and robust."


6. Plein Air Cafe & Eatery

5751 S Woodlawn Ave

Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 966-7531

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This European-style cafe on the University of Chicago campus features a full assortment of coffee drinks and pastries, plus breakfast, lunch, and wine. It's a collaboration between Kevin Heisner (Heisler Hospitality) and former Little Branch partner Soo Choi. The patio affords nice views of the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House.


7. Build Coffee

2912, 6100 S Blackstone Ave

Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 627-5058

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Build Coffee serves as an informal community center in Woodlawn and a gathering place for the journalists and nonprofit workers whose offices are nearby. It serves java from HalfWit and pies from Justice of the Pies, and hosts performances, gallery shows, local group meetings, and other projects. And, if all this weren’t enough, it’s also a used bookstore.


8. Kusanya Cafe

825 W 69th St

Chicago, IL 60621

(773) 675-4758

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Kusanya Cafe opened when Phil Sipka came over from Robust Coffee Lounge to give Englewood a coffeeshop and alternative to fast food. He uses beans from Bridgeport Coffee and serves sandwiches and all-day breakfast. The coffeehouse also hosts community events, like open mic nights and yoga classes.


9. South Shore Brew

7101 S Yates Blvd

Chicago, IL 60649

(773) 437-3906

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Located across the street from the South Shore Cultural Center and just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, South Shore Brew is a bright, sunny space that serves up a solid menu of coffee drinks, including the surprisingly good coffee lemonade, as well as oatmeal and panini sandwiches.


10. Afro Joes Coffee & Tea

8344 S Halsted St

Chicago, IL 60620

(773) 234-1308

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Afro Joe’s opened up last year in Auburn Gresham and sells its own special coffee blends, named for important Black Chicagoans like Harold Washington and Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. There’s also a full cafe menu, a rotating assortment of seasonal sandwiches (including the popular short rib grilled cheese), and special pastries called Afro Puffs.

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