Top Chicago Specialty Coffee Roasters of 2024

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Chicago is renowned for its jazz, deep-dish pizza, and improv comedy scene, but did you know it boasts some of the finest coffee in the nation? Despite the longstanding presence of chains like Starbucks, the emergence of upscale specialty coffee shops in Chicago has been a more recent phenomenon.
Among the top specialty coffee roasters in Chicago are Dark Matter Coffee, Bridgeport Coffee, and Intelligentsia Coffee. Whether you seek a cozy ambiance to savor your brew or wish to grab freshly-roasted beans, these three establishments stand out as prime choices.
Numerous establishments across the city specialize in roasting specialty coffee beans, each exuding its distinct charm and flair.

Dark Matter Coffee

Dark Matter Coffee transcends being a mere spot for meals and beverages. Originating in Chicago, this franchise has metamorphosed into a community-centric coffee haven in the city, offering patrons a haven to unwind, connect, and relish each other’s company. Their ethos revolves around community involvement, priding themselves on contributing to Chicago’s advancement and evolution. Dark Matter embodies a creative coffee-roasting clan propelled by the community’s spirit and a commitment to delivering the most authentic and impartial coffee experience. Following the core belief that top-tier coffee should be procured with a focus on transparent supply chains, innovative strategies, and civic duty, sustainability and ethical business practices claim their utmost attention. Treating their coffee bean suppliers like family, they effectively source beans from farm to cup through collaborations with producers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico. This transparency in sourcing ensures smooth business operations, with unparalleled quality assurance evident in every cup. Dark Matter Coffee establishments are perfect for socializing with loved ones, completing tasks, and relishing a delightful coffee. Despite being a local coffee hub, they offer numerous location choices within the city. For Dark Matter Coffee, excellence remains paramount. Their commitment to small-batch roasting and dedication to community involvement and environmental conservation underscore their mission to unite people over premium coffee, rather than just churning out products.

Bridgeport Coffee

Bridgeport Coffee Company, based in Chicago, focuses on retailing and wholesaling exceptional coffee beans and roasts on the city’s South Side. Established in 2004, the company prides itself on bridging the gap between the coffee drinker and the coffee grower’s land. They are dedicated to providing outstanding roasted coffees to discerning purveyors and food service establishments, offering a diverse range of rich, complex aromas and flavors, including premium, high-quality coffees for the mainstream market.
Maintaining close partnerships with various growers, Bridgeport Coffee Company ensures access to some of the finest globally sourced coffee beans, embodying the qualities valued by coffee enthusiasts. Their aim is to offer customers the satisfaction of savoring the distinct flavors and aromas of their unique roasts. While their featured roasts vary seasonally, they present a varied selection of coffee, including artisanal blends, single-origin beans, green beans, and decaf options.
Utilizing a fluid-bed roasting method that circulates air to roast beans instead of metal drums that may lead to scorching, they provide consumers with a more nuanced coffee experience with each cup. To enjoy a delightful cup of Bridgeport coffee, visit their flagship location at the Bridgeport Coffeehouse at the Hyde Park Art Center. Additionally, you can explore other locations such as the Bridgeport Coffeebar at Roosevelt Collection, Bridgeport Coffeehouse at 31st & Morgan, and Bridgeport Coffeehouse in the Chicago Loop at Michigan & Jackson.
Bridgeport’s commitment to exceptional coffee, expertise, and passion is evident across all their locations, offering a distinctive experience to all visitors. What sets Bridgeport Coffee apart is their dedication to engaging with customers to understand their coffee preferences and enhance their coffee journey.

Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia, a coffee company based in Chicago with cafes nationwide, has consistently earned accolades as one of the world’s premier roasters, recognized by esteemed publications like Food & Wine and Zagat.
They have carved a niche as a trailblazer in fair trade coffee and sustainability, standing firm in their commitment to sourcing only fair trade certified beans. This sets a gold standard for consumers seeking coffee that not only bolsters small farmer businesses but also upholds ethical labor standards.
For two decades, Intelligentsia has honed its craft in selecting top-notch coffees and fostering partnerships with those who mirror their dedication to quality. Their Direct Trade Charter now embodies five fundamental business tenets that reflect their ethos.
Sourcing beans from diverse origins, Intelligentsia has perfected the art of coffee acquisition, ensuring that every cup supports their mission of excellence and ethics.

  • Guatemala
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • And Kenya, to name a few.

Intelligentsia excels in its seasonal operations, offering customers unique coffee blends tailored to either Northern or Southern seasons. With a diverse selection of high-quality coffee beans sourced from various global locations, customers have the opportunity to explore different flavors. In Chicago, Intelligentsia coffee shops can be found in five distinct areas.

  • Broadway Coffeebar
  • Monadnock Coffeebar
  • Millennium Park Coffeebar
  • Wicker Park Coffeebar
  • Logan Square Coffeebar

Intelligentsia Coffee bars serve as hubs for community engagement, knowledge-sharing, and camaraderie. They uphold the belief that coffee transcends mere consumption; it embodies an intimate experience. Their establishments foster learning and innovation, offering patrons a chance to delve into the craft of coffee preparation and the precision of premium roasting techniques.

Metric Coffee

Chicago boasts numerous coffee spots, but for an exceptional experience, consider Metric Coffee Chicago. Nestled in West Fulton, Metric not only serves top-tier coffee but also freshly baked pastries like croissants and breakfast buns. Their commitment to culture, equal opportunities, and diversity shines through a team of coffee enthusiasts united by quality and customer care.
Since its establishment in 2012, Metric has upheld a mission of maintaining quality and integrity at every step, from sourcing to roasting to serving at their cafe. By partnering with coffee growers from five distinct nations, Metric ensures sustainable practices that prioritize growers’ well-being and livelihoods.
The ethical ethos goes beyond sourcing, as Metric invests in their Chicago cafe staff by providing competitive wages, healthcare, and leave benefits. This dedication highlights Metric’s appreciation not only for their brand but also for individuals like you and me.
Metric Coffee’s commitment to quality extends globally, sourcing beans from diverse farms worldwide to offer small-batch, gourmet options. For coffee enthusiasts seeking meticulously roasted beans, Metric Coffee delivers both at their cafe and online.

Printer’s Row Coffee Co.

Printer’s Row Coffee Company is a local gem, serving both the community and the influx of summer tourists in Chicago. The dynamic duo behind this cozy spot, Nicole and Nick, blend their skills – she, a graphic designer, and he, a pharmacist – to craft small batches of single-origin coffee with an artistic touch.
Single-origin coffees, as they describe, are pure, unblended beans sourced from a specific region or grower. These beans carry the unique essence of their origin – the soil, altitude, climate, and farming techniques – resulting in a diverse range of flavors to savor.
By focusing on single-origin beans, you get to truly experience and appreciate these distinct flavors.
Nicole and Nick take pride in their roasting process, skillfully bringing out these exceptional flavors for coffee lovers to enjoy. Printer’s Row Coffee stands out as a boutique roastery that pays meticulous attention to every detail.
Their coffee beans are carefully selected from various regions, including:

  • Brazil
  • Columbia Medellin
  • Ethiopia
  • Nicaragua Jinotega
  • Peru Cajamarca

The café and roastery can be found at 2482 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. Established in 2017, the café, though compact, offers delectable baked goods and treats that perfectly complement their artisanal coffee. They meticulously roast their coffees using top-tier small-batch techniques. Supporting them means aiding the growth of small businesses and receiving the finest quality product for your investment. At the core of their business is the commitment to fostering relationships with each customer and tailoring to their unique needs.

Metropolis Coffee Company

Metropolis Coffee Company, a cherished local gem in Chicago with a longstanding presence, is renowned for its delectable coffee offerings and welcoming baristas. Crafting drinks with artistry and ensuring delightful flavors, the brand owners Jeff and Tony, a dynamic father-son duo, have infused their shared passion for science fiction, fantasy, and mythology into the business since 2003. This dedication has positioned Metropolis as a leading contemporary coffee brand in Chicago.
In recent years, the company has experienced significant growth, expanding to an impressive 18,000-square-foot roastery along the Chicago River’s Northern Branch for their roasting operations while maintaining their original Edgewater Cafe. Beyond their cafe, their coffee products are available in various cafes, restaurants, stores, and establishments, showcasing their reach across North America while upholding their Chicago roots.
Metropolis meticulously sources top-quality beans worldwide, roasting them in small batches to preserve their distinct flavors. Their mission is to deliver the finest coffee, ensuring each cup offers a truly satisfying experience. Recognized as the 2007 Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine, Metropolis’s commitment to excellence, environmental stewardship, and industry standards is commendable.
Upon entering a Metropolis Coffee Company shop, patrons are greeted by a warm, inviting ambiance where coffee enthusiasts gather to socialize and savor their brew in a relaxed setting. The shop’s laid-back atmosphere, complemented by occasional music, entices customers to linger, offering a comfortable space for extended stays. Boasting amenities like light bites, free Wi-Fi, and artsy seating areas equipped with ample outlets, Metropolis goes beyond the typical coffee shop experience by prioritizing customer education on coffee.