Sometimes it takes a national magazine to tell you about something in your own backyard. Food & Wine had a little blurb about a coffee roaster from Chicago winning Roast magazine's Roaster of the year 2007. I was surprised to see that the shop was located nearby, just a short veer off of my daily route. Now many of you know, I'm a regular patron of Peets for my weekly bag o' beans. But naturally, I had to see and taste this award winning roaster's product for myself.
Metropolis Coffee Company is a student-friendly coffee shop near Loyola U. that does some serious roasting in the back of the house. There are burlap sacks of raw beans stacked up high and an interesting variety of freshly roasted beans from around the world are ready for purchase. The people who work there are happy to discuss the origins of the beans and the roast they give them. And most importantly, the coffee is really good. For the first visit, I chose a pound of Kenyan, because we had just bought Kenyan from Peets and it would be nice to compare. (I would say we enjoyed them equally) On my second visit, I opted for the Costa Rican Terrazo which was outstanding in flavor. For my third visit, I tried one of their medium roast blends, the Spice Islands blend. And it has been very pleasant to wake up to this coffee this week.
The advantages of this shop over Peets are 1. location, as I've mentioned it's in my 'hood 2. localism, it is nice to support a small Chgo. business and 3. price, I think these guys are a little less expensive per lb. than Peets (no airfare, Peet's roasts their beans in SF and flies them in daily to their Chicago stores.) Peets gets some points from me because 1. the knowledgeable people there know me and it's nice to see a friendly face (this will probably hold true for Metropolis, but I've only just started going there,) 2. they do a good job finding interesting, limited varieties and I love their blends (here too, I think Metropolis will prove itself, I just haven't had enough experience with them, yet,) 3. its proximity to Whole Foods makes it convenient (I usually hit WF once a week, for fish, mainly.)
Both coffee shops have extremely good baristas. At Metropolis, each drink is made individually, so it sometimes takes a while to get your cappuccino. But when you get it, it will be so much better than a giganto chain press-a-button cappuccino. The espresso is made just right, smooth as silk, and the foam is thick and creamy. Sometimes they do a little swirly heart in the foam just to show their skill. Now that's a good coffee from a trained, skilled barista. I really like that these people have set up shop in Edgewater (a Wicker Park in the making, I think) and I will be a good regular customer. Next, we could use a really good bakery...
1039 W Granville AveChicago, IL 60660