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Get Down With The Other Brother

By John DiGilio in Food on Jan 25, 2012 10:00PM

With the coffee craze showing no signs of abating any time soon, it should come as no surprise that coffeehouses are becoming almost as diverse as the beans they brew. From fancy-schmancy elegant to magnificently modern and even bougy and bohemian, there is a java joint to suit almost any style, taste, and mood. Of course, when it comes to a good cup of joe, neither the ambiance nor the vibe of a place are any guarantee of quality. Imagine our surprise then to find truly excellent brews in a tiny place that lacks even the room for tables. What Evanston's Other Brother Coffeehouse lacks in space, it more than makes up for in taste.

An offshoot of the much-loved Brothers K Coffeehouse in southeast Evanston, the Other Brother Coffeehouse is but a fraction of the size of its big sibling. The decor, though cozy, is minimal and seats at the long white counter can be hard to snag during busy times. Yet for such a small outpost, this beanery has a lot going for it. First and foremost, the baristas are friendly, talented, and know their brews. We found the one who served us to be an excellent resource for matching a coffee drink to our moods. She was fun and accommodating. Second, they get their coffee from the local aficionados at Metropolis. After all, a great cup of coffee has to start with great beans and roasts. The folks at Other Brother are thus sourcing from one of the best.

The third thing that Other Brother has going for it, and the one that won over this reviewer, is the downright deliciousness that ensues when they deliver the goods. Even the best beans can produce a mediocre mocha if they are not treated right. The coffees we quaffed on our visit were beautifully presented, full-bodied, smooth, and piping hot. We had one cup straight-up, black, no cream, no sugar. It needed no adulteration and was fantastic in its basic form. We ordered a mocha in decaf and had sipped it to the final smooth drop in no time. It went down easy without even a hint of the acidity that is so common in specialty drinks. The foam art that was so delicately placed atop our drink was a wonderful touch.

We generally tend to leave a place as fast we entered if there is nowhere to sit down, so it really says something about a coffee shop if we are willing to stand through a cup or two. We'd gladly do it again. This is just the kind of Brother we are happy to call our own.

The Other Brother Coffeehouse is located at 1549 Sherman Avenue in Evanston.