The thing about coffee is that there is hardly any breathing room between Starbucks and the closest Dunkin. Shoot, there’s hardly enough breathing room between Starbucks and the next Starbucks! Same goes for Dunkin. And I’ll admit – I have the app for both. Because I’m a sucker for racking up rewards.
But I’d say in the past 2 years, I’ve learned to stop pulling into the convenient drive thrus and pay attention to the quality of the coffee. Quick shout out to my cousin, who happens to be a contributor on atribecalledepicurious – he graciously donated a Moka pot to me, and it fueled my obsession. But more on the world of homemade coffee & caffeine variations another time.
I’m not about to invite you all into my home just yet. We’re not cool like that. I can’t let you see how “human” I truly am. For now, just believe me when I say my kids do not leave their toys ANYWHERE that isn’t a restricted play area, my laundry is always done & folded & put away, and we only use our finest non-plastic china to serve homemade, organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I mean, you don’t know me, so you have to just take my word for it. I swear.
Now, since I can’t let you see my perfect home life, I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite coffee shops around the burbs. These are in no particular order.
- 100 W Higgins Rd Ste. H-60, South Barrington, IL
- Why I Love Them: They feature various “coffee around the world” – expand your horizons and try something new! On this wall is also my favorite coffee of choice – cafe con leche! I crave it day and night, and I try to stop by whenever I feel the need. It’s also a great place to work/study as they have fairly large tables if you need to spread some paperwork out. And the outdoor area is WONDERFUL to catch up with friends or enjoy some fresh air with your loved ones. One tip I have is if you need a coffee break but you have the kids with you, get yourself a coffee at Calibre then duck into Smallcakes next door for the kids. Then sit outside at one of the tables or sit at the bench and let your kids burn some of the sugar high off along the grass/fountain.
- Around Cafe
- 28 E Northwest Hwy, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
- Why I Love Them: First of all, the location is nice and convenient. Right by the train tracks and a pretty busy intersection, it’s a great place to people watch. As far as the drinks are concerned, I actually come here specifically for their cold drinks. I do appreciate the quality and taste of their hot drinks, but they have pretty unique chilled offerings. My favorite here is the green tea latte float – it’s like matcha on steroids! Iced green tea with green tea ice cream floating. And if you’re lucky you can get a ube donut from Gurnee Donuts (they sell a small batch of them here at Around Cafe!) to pair oh so perfectly with any coffee. I’ll admit they pair better with hot coffee though. But that’s just me.
- The Mug Coffee
- 1450 Golf Rd, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
- Why I Love Them: This is another great “work spot”. They are pretty cozy but offer a decent amount of tables to allow you to work while enjoying your delicious latte. They have special “fancy” lattes and such on occassion, but I love getting my vanilla latte here. And it’s always a bonus to get some pretty latte art on my drink before I get down to business! They do have a drive thru here too so in case your kids conveniently knock out as you arrive, you don’t need to disrupt the peace and quiet.
- Chaube Coffee
- 601 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015
- Why I Love Them: This place is attached to the Lake Cook Rd Metra station. The first time I tried to go here, I couldn’t find the station. I missed the sign twice! But now that I know where it’s at (turn into Home Depot), I make it a point to go often. I love that they’re open early. For some reason there aren’t that many independent coffee shops open that early – and this one is the only one along my route to work. But that’s not to say that I’m only going here by default! This place proudly roasts their own beans and grind them fresh. And sometimes you don’t need that fancy latte or frappe. You want something so simple and basic that you don’t even need to take a picture to represent them in your blog! With that said, I love getting my coffee black here. And I’m very particular about drinking black coffee – that thing better be smooth as butter! And Chaube offers coffee that I happily drink dark as my soul on a Monday morning.
- Handsome Bakery
- 204 E Golf Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60173
- Why I Love Them: Okay so I have to admit that the main reason I love this place so much is their pastries. There are a few bakery/coffee shops that this place makes me think of that are within a 15 min drive from Handsome Bakery. But this is definitely my favorite! Prices are very competitive in the area, but the taste isn’t cheap! I have a few ‘regular’ orders here. My #1 go to here is still my vanilla latte, but their iced lattes, specifically the green tea lattes, are perfection! And what makes it the most unique? They convert your simple iced latte to a CLOUD latte with the sweet addition of cotton candy to sit on top of your drink. I’ve never actually ordered it myself, but that’s because – now, don’t let me lose your love for this one – I’m not a fan of sugary things. And that’s why I love their pastries actually. They’re not overly sweet, but not bland by any means. And everything is so light and fluffy!