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Will the 40,000th Store Have Better Coffee?

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Oct 31, 2006 5:06PM

With a Starbucks on every corner –- and 40,000 stores planned for the upcoming years -- it can seem like the coffee giant is the only place to get coffee. Those in the know, however, know that Chicago is home to a bevy of coffee houses, in the Loop and all around the city.

2006_10_intelligentsia1.jpgNovember's Chicago Magazine tackles the age-old question: Who has the best cup of coffee in the Loop? In a not-at-all shocking finding, Intelligentsia won for best coffee, as “this enlightened and interesting brew offers pure pleasure to those who take coffee seriously.” We always like it when the home team wins over those pushy outsiders. Other winners in the Chicago Mag taste test include Lavazza and Metropolis. Well done, guys!

Starbucks, on the other hand, didn’t fare very well. After trying the Yukon Roast, dining critic Miriam Gottfried advised, “Your cash would be better spent elsewhere, but try telling that to office drones who queue up for their daily fix.” Trixies – you have been warned. Other losers included the new McDonald’s Premium Roast and the Dunkin Donuts drip.

Options outside of the Loop also abound for the discerning coffee consumer. This article from Lumino Magazine reviews some of Chicago’s less well known (or at least less commercial) coffee houses. We’ve been meaning to stop by Cafe Ballou on 939 N. Western for some time now, as it looks like the perfect spot to spend a cold winter afternoon. The other place we are excited about trying is Catedral Café on 2500 S. Christiana Ave. in Little Village. From their website: "Catedral Café is the first elegant upscale coffee shop in Little Village and within the Hispanic community where European/Mediterranean food is served at reasonable cost." We also noticed that their website was a little out of date (i.e. the internet coupon expired in 2005), so calling before you head over might not be a bad plan.

Image via Intelligentsia.