Tag Archives: cafe

Chicago: Bucktown’s Ipsento Coffee.

While in the Bucktown (Logan Square) neighborhood of Chicago recently, I was hanging out in a couple of coffee shops. I was tweeting about my whereabouts, posting pictures online (surprise, surprise) and interacting some with the locals. Some of the comments I received online and the questions I was asked face-to-face had nothing to do with where I was at, but where else I should go in the neighborhood, Ipsento Coffee.

So in the early morning the next day I returned to Bucktown and this is what I came up to along N. Western Avenue just north of N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Lots of bikes, racks and outdoor seating in front of the entrance to Ipsento Coffee. It immediately reminded me of the setup in front of Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Walking inside Ipsento Coffee the baristas were busy making individual coffee’s as the customers waited amongst the warm, cozy, retro and wood like atmosphere. I ordered my coffee and set up shop on one of the bar stools seen to the left.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

The baristas were knowledgeable and friendly asking new customers what their names were and talking to regulars about how things were going. The coffee shop definitely had that true neighborhood vibe. I soon had my coffee, a Nutella Latte made with beans roasted in-house, and laid it to rest on the wooden counter.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

My pre-sipping routine always involves capturing the caffeinated beverage in all its form. This coffee definitely passed the eye test. A fun backdrop, some latte art and a colorful mug with the coffee shop logo displaying front-and-center. All these things say a lot about the care Ipsento takes in making for a great coffee experience.

Oh yeah, I did put the camera down to experience the Nutella Latte. Outstanding. It was recommended from more than one person. Note: I always post my coffee Instagram pictures after consumption has already begun so the coffee doesn’t get cool haha. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Loved the retro Pepsi storage containers that were used as shelves through out. I enjoyed the rest of my latte while reading the paper, brainstorming my future Chicago roamings and using Ipsento Coffee as my #coffice, home base for that early morning. I’m so glad I listened to all the feedback I received the previous day.

If you are ever in Chicago and especially around the Bucktown neighborhood, make Ipsento Coffee your coffee destination. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Some additional information:

  • Get there early to grab a seat.
  • You can learn Coffee 101, classes offered up on what Ipsento has learned in their coffee travels.
  • 6 AM! Looking for that very early cup of coffee before work? They open up earlier than others in the area.
  • Quieter seating options are available in the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the counter/entrance area.
  • Get the Ipsento Latte! I didn’t have a chance too. Tell me what you think?
  • Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What’s a neighborhood in a city you frequent or have come across in your travels that has a great coffee shop, cafe scene?

#ElCafeDe2013 Coffee tip of the week: Planning the Java!

I’ll be returning to the Bay Area in California next week on an extended visit, part business, part personal. Some time in San Francisco will be had. There will be some coffee consumption and coffee shop exploration of course. This leads me to…

Tip #18: …planning the Java!

I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but have only really experienced the coffee scene during the last visit or two. I have been busy reaching out on Twitter and asking friends for recommendations.

Been checking out the trusty Google Maps to find out which places are closest to each other. It doesn’t come any closer than that of Ritual Coffee Roasters and the Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk in the Hayes Valley neighborhood!

My roaming will include returning to places that I have fallen in love with. Hi Four Barrel Coffee.

Four Barrel Coffee - San Francisco, California coffeehouse

A summarization of where I want my feet to take me:

  • Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission District
  • Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk in Hayes Valley
  • Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry Building Marketplace
  • Ritual Coffee Roasters Coffee Cart in Hayes Valley
  • Sightglass Coffee in SoMa (South of Market).
  • The Mill in Alamo Square
  • farm:table in Nob Hill
  • The Buena Vista Cafe around Fisherman’s Wharf

What it looks like within Google Maps.

Some coffee fun will soon commence. I’m sure there will be some places I don’t make it to and some hidden gems that I’ll run into randomly while exploring. That’s all in the fun of traveling! Planning the Java is giving me goosebumps and it will help to make sure I don’t forget any of the places I want to get to. Hope to see you all out on the open caffeinated road!

Do you like to map out a plan of attack before traveling? Any recommended apps to do so? Any non-chain coffee shops and/or café recommendations in San Francisco and the Bay Area?

Toronto: Stumbling Into “The” Coffee Drink!

Prior to my recent trip to Toronto I came up with a plan of attack for diving into the well-known Toronto coffee scene. I asked for tips and recommendations on the social media channels and did a lot of research online. I had a lot of places on my list to checkout.

In the early morning hours one day I went over to the Kensington Market neighborhood with the intention of roaming around until the coffee shops on my list started opening. While walking around right in the heart of the neighborhood I stumbled upon another coffee shop that was already open, Moonbean Coffee Company.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

Walking inside I was immediately drawn to the small-town, cozy, neighborhood like atmosphere.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

I loved checking out the local flyers and information that was pinned right above the cream/sugar station. I felt like I was a part of the community while reading.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

Turning around, there were lots of coffee cups above the espresso machine just waiting to be drank out of. On this morning though I felt like getting something different.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

I asked the barista behind the counter for her recommendation on what to get and she was very friendly and suggested an iced mocha. A few minutes later in a taller glass I got a caffeinated beverage filled with big espresso ice cubes and chocolate syrup was hugging the inside. OMG! I just got “The” coffee drink.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto, Iced mocha coffee

Opened since 1995, they are a full-fledged micro roaster of green coffee that people order online from all around Canada. I checked out the coffee beans and roaster as I was consuming the chocolate deliciousness. They also offer plenty of breakfast, lunch and tea options for those that come to hang out in person. They open early and close late seven days a week. Perfect.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

Immediately upon hanging out and drinking the iced mocha I knew I would come back. There I was the very next morning enjoying the same iced mocha, this time along the front entrance and outside patio.

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto, iced mocha coffee

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

Moonbean Coffee Company, Kensington Market, Toronto

The coffee shop and drink in Toronto that I can’t wait to get back to and experience again, is one that was not even on my radar. When on the lookout for a coffee, or just traveling about in general, keep your eyes open, you never know when you’ll uncover a gem.

If your ever in Toronto and craving a tasty beverage and/or a relaxing neighborhood atmosphere, I suggest heading to the place where I found “The” coffee drink, Moonbean Coffee Company. Yum! 🙂

#ElCafeDe2013 Coffee tip of the week: Find the Goose Bumps!

When I walk-in somewhere for a coffee and the atmosphere within gives me goose bumps, that makes the coffee drink that much better. That’s what happened when I walked into The Laundry this week in Fenton, Michigan.

The Laundry sits right outside downtown. The black-and-white 1950’s style flooring and the oldies playing lightly in the background gives off a relaxing, old-school atmosphere.

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, coffee, foodie

It was very early so I got to choose which chair I wanted to sit in. You’ll be hard pressed to find two of the same chairs. So many colors, shapes and sizes, so many possibilities.

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, coffee, foodie

The Laundry lures visitors from all around as it’s known for its huge breakfasts, sandwiches and pastries, made from the freshest of ingredients. More on visiting as a foodie in a future post though. 🙂 Today was about grabbing #ElCafeDe2013 #60!

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, coffee, foodie

I found my chair…

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, coffee, foodie

…and still having the goose bumps I ordered a salted caramel latte with whipped cream from their extensive coffee drink menu. The Almond Roca Mocha, French Silk, Nutty Irishman and Creamy Dreamy Caramel Delight, don’t worry you’ll get your turn!

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, Salted Caramel Latte

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, Salted Caramel Latte

That trusty water was alongside as always. 🙂

The Laundry, Fenton, Michigan, coffee, foodie

The early morning on this day provided delicious coffee. Great java by itself makes one smile, but if you…

Tip #14: …find a place that gives you the goose bumps when you walk in the door….

…it will make the coffee that much better. What non-chain coffee shop or café around home or in your travels has given you the goose bumps just walking in the door?

#ElCafeDe2013 Coffee tip of the week: Go Somewhere New!

Most of the tips up until now involve already being at the coffee shop or cafe enjoying your coffee. What about before you even decide what kind of coffee you want to experience? Whether you’re traveling or around home and you’re looking for coffee, you own it to yourself to…

Tip #13: …go somewhere new!

Experience new beans, flavor and coffee-making and the atmosphere that surrounds it. Whenever I’m in Chicago, The Wormhole Coffee and Intelligentsia are my go-to coffee shops. On a recent day in the Windy City however it was time to experience something new. I was introduced to more of the Chicago coffee scene by Pola of Jetting Around. First up was Julius Meinl cafe in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Julius Meinl coffee, Chicago

The roots of Julius Meinl go back to 1862 and Vienna. Walk inside and you’ll get a Viennese feel as all the furniture and fixtures were built back home. They have a strong presence throughout Europe and since 2002 in the Windy City.

Julius Meinl coffee, Chicago

My choice of coffee was the Melange which came highly recommended. It’s an espresso with equal parts steamed milk and foam with some meinl european cocoa on top. I added in an extra shot of espresso for good measure. A glass of water was along side for the ride.

Julius Meinl coffee, Chicago

Besides coffee, you’ll find a wide variety of Viennese themed pastries and cuisine.

Julius Meinl coffee, Chicago

She also took me to Asado Coffee, a relatively new addition to the Lakeview neighborhood.

Asado Coffee, Chicago

We had great conversations with both the barista and owner about their history and coffee-making process. There are some pour over coffees just waiting to be made.

Asado Coffee, Chicago

I selected the Cafe Con Leche from the small menu of three on this day. It was made with the freshest of beans, roasted in-house, and liquid sweetener. I got a grounded bag of their Especiales coffee for the road. The smell coming from within OMG! 🙂

Asado Coffee, Chicago

Asado Coffee, Chicago

The coffee shop hopping resulted in some Chicago neighborhood exploration, not to mention some great conversations and times with Pola. The other coffee shops and these of course I will return too, but it’s always good no matter where you are at to go somewhere new!