Tag: Chicago

Wiseacre Brewing // Gotta Get Up to Get Down

Wiseacre Brewing // Gotta Get Up to Get Down

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping Gotta Get Up to Get Down, from Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis, Tennessee. Feel free to pull up a chair. The coffee Wiseacre employed for Gotta Get Up to Get Down was a natural […]

Mikerphone Brewing // Magical Mystery Kind Coffee Saison

Mikerphone Brewing // Magical Mystery Kind Coffee Saison

Roll up, roll up for the Magical Mystery Kind—a beer that takes another bold leap forward in the coffee-infused beer market. Magical Mystery Kind is a saison produced by Chicago’s Mikerphone Brewing, that is brewed both with Tugboat Coffee’s cold-brewed Cascara and Ethiopian Natural Guji […]

Dollop Coffee // Chicago, Illinois

Dollop Coffee // Chicago, Illinois

It’s 7 a.m. and the street noise and train roars of Chicago’s Belmont Avenue bow out to Edith Piaf as I step into Dollop Coffee Co. There’s one customer who came in ahead of me, but he gets his grind to go so I’m face-to-face with a tall red-haired barista leaning slightly down to make eye contact with me from behind thick glasses. I half-whisper that I’ve got to look at the menu and ask what coffees are on today.

“We just have a blend,” he says, grabbing an espresso cup and pumping me a sample from the small airpot. The Piaf number sounds like something from a Disney princess movie.

The coffee’s too hot to really taste but I order a small cup and turn to find a seat. Dollop’s high white ceiling sits on a dark forest green wall on the one side and a white wall on the other, dripping grey pendant lamps. Five frameless graphite portraits line the green wall. Through the windowed front filters the diffuse grey light of a rainy May day.

The surfaces are all reclaimed wood and hard chairs with back support. Like a caffeinated Gretel I leave a trail of coffee puddles on the antique floor of hexagonal white tiles, seating myself at the bar looking onto the street. I have a nice view of the MB financial bank and a Starbucks opposite on the intersection. Large potted plants line the other window.

I’m content with the blend. In a nondescript white bowl mug, its medium-body chocolate-raspberry complements a cranberry scone. Thinking back to an Intelligentsia shop I visited yesterday, I long for the silk-in-mouth Colombian I practically moaned over. Dollop’s blend is palatable, not mind-blowing, but despite Intelligentsia’s breathtaking brew, I’m more likely to return to Dollop.

It depends on what you’re looking for, but most of the time I’d choose atmosphere over coffee. I had invited a friend to Intelligentsia and her response was, “That place sucks. The coffee is good but the people are dicks and the chairs are all like tiny cubes.” I wouldn’t agree per say, but I definitely see where she’s coming from.

While their coffee was predictably excellent, the crowded Intelligentsia shop with its backless stools was a little too LA, all urban style design and no personality. Dollop is an excellent example of how to do an urban interior that doesn’t alienate. I could sit here for hours – and I will – sipping the same blend as it goes cold. I left my moan-worthy Colombian half finished at Intelligentsia.

Granted, from a shop owner’s perspective, one of the worst things you can do is invite a parasitic seigneur-terrace like myself. But that depends, of course, on what you’re going for: value or volume? A true, live-in-the-moment experience or a high turnover?

No matter how mind-blowing a coffee is, no one will remain long in a place where they can’t relax, and that makes all the difference when it comes to experiencing coffee. More than anything else, what people tend to learn from coffee is how to stop and enjoy a moment. If you can’t bask in that moment, what’s the point?

In any case, Dollop’s a place where you can bask.

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Metropolis Coffee Company // Brazil Fazenda Mariano

Metropolis Coffee Company // Brazil Fazenda Mariano

Fazenda Mariano stretches 80 hectares across the Sao Domingos Mountain Range just 17 km from the Municipality of Pocos de Caldas (South Minas Gerais). With 18º C average temperature and undulating topography, the land has presented excellent conditions for the Barbosa family to farm here […]

Begyle Brewing Company // 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas

Begyle Brewing Company // 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas

Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas is Begyle Brewing Company’s oatmeal stout aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. To clear things up, the base beer—Begyle Flannel Pajamas—is an oatmeal stout, and Begyle’s Imperial Pajamas is an imperial oatmeal coffee stout. Oddly, though, Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas is not a […]