ALA Annual Visit: Chicago Coffee

To be honest, I just really need to tell you about this toasted marshmallow latte. Seriously, that’s the whole point of this post.

I’m not sorry. In fact, you’re welcome in advance!

Typically, I’m not a latte drinker. Instead, I tend to favor coffee. Plain and simple. The less frills the better, really. Except we all know some of the best roasts and roasting methods are quite fancy and the resulting flavors and aromas are often worth the wait. And, since we’re heading to Chicago I thought it might be fun to profile a few of my favorite coffee shops.

To get the obvious out of the way, if you’re not from the area, I just want to say there are an INSANE, frankly, unhealthy amount of Dunkin Donuts in Chicago, especially in the shopping district. I’m probably wrong, but it certainly feels like there are more Dunkins than there are Starbucks. Nevertheless, both establishments are conveniently everywhere so, should those be your cup of joe, there you go.

Now that that’s done. My favorite coffee shop in Chicago has always been Intelligentsia. These folks take their coffee seriously, but don’t seem to mind inquiries into their various roasts and sundry brewing methods. I like to ask questions and some coffee shops are not friendly! This is not so with Intelligentsia. It’s a serious, and seriously good, establishment. Add to that, they have a Librarian’s Blend! It’s only available in decaf, however.

pourover coffee

Since I knew I was going to write about coffee and Chicago, I decided to make a special trip to do a little research. First, I looked at recommended locations online and, unfortunately, most of those with highest recommendations are more than a bit of a drive from where Annual takes place. Still, I was determined to make one of them so I chose as wisely as possible and geared up for a lengthy walk to Big Shoulders Coffee. The River North location is just over a three-mile walk from McCormick. So it’s a commitment.

marshmallow latte

But LOOK at that latte! The regular coffee is superb. I had the Uganda, my friend had the Colombian. Among us we also had tea, mocha and even hot chocolate!

Everything was presented beautifully and we enjoyed the atmosphere.

As for the latte, that marshmallow was torched in house.

What more could a fellow traveler possibly want?

coffee and carafe

Joel Shoemaker was on the 2017 Stonewall Book Awards Committee for Youth and serves on the 2018 Stonewall Book Awards Committee for Adults. He is the Library Director for Oakwood Public Library District (Ill.) and has been a magician for more than twenty-five years.

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