5 Best Coffee Spots On The Chicago Caffeine Crawl

5 Best Coffee Spots On The Chicago Caffeine Crawl

Explore the most renowned coffee shops in Chicago.
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If you are serious about your coffee (and I am not talking about you Frappuccino drinkers, cause well, that doesn’t count for anything), then you must go on the Caffeine Crawl in 2017. If you only do a couple of enjoyable things this year, then this needs to be one of them. While you are probably questioning my seriousness upon this lighthearted topic, just know that it is because coffee is so much more than just a caffeinated beverage to me.

If you are like me, and would rather spend your time in a quaint coffee shop reading and writing rather than doing basically anything else, then you will fall absolutely head over heels for this event. I know I did.

It all starts when a city is chosen. The organizers of the event pick a city and create an itinerary that will immerse you into the vast coffee culture of the city. There are usually about eight different itineraries that vary in transportation, date, and time. After you pick your route and pay for your ticket (usually around $25-$40) you are ready to start your tour. Upon arriving at the first coffee shop, you will be given a little gift bag full of coupons and samples and will get to pick out a cup of coffee from the menu. From there, you will travel to several other coffee shops where you will learn tons of new information and sample lots of different pastries and coffee. Along the way, you will meet new people, have incredibly advanced conversations about coffee, and experience delightful new atmospheres and beverages.

1. Dark Matter Coffee

The first stop for my tour group was at Dark Matter Coffee, located on West Chicago Avenue. I got a vanilla latte on the house and had the pleasure of listening to a very interesting presentation about how Dark Matter fermented and roasted their coffee beans. I was taken aback by the complexity of the coffee. You could definitely tell that their product meant everything to them. As I listened to the marketing director speak so passionately about the brand that he represented, I got a sense of just how much work and effort actually went into the little cup of coffee that I was sipping.

2. The Eastman Egg Company

I then drove to The Eastman Egg Company coffee shop located on North Wacker Drive. This was probably one of my favorite shops on the tour, seeing as the aesthetic of the shop is incredible. As you walk in you see large wooden tables that give the place an immense warmth. The black wooden panels lining the walls gives the shop its unique look. The aesthetic was only the beginning, though, as we were encouraged to sample little pastries and chocolates made in-house. It was here that one of my fondest memories of the tour occurred.

There was a tray of little bite-size lemon meringue pies and a pot of dark roasted coffee sitting next to it. I took a bite of the little pie and washed it down with a sip of the dark coffee, and something magical occurred. It was perhaps one of the best flavor combinations I have ever tasted, with the sweetness of the lemon meringue and the bitterness of the warm coffee. Absolutely delightful.

3. The Dollop Coffee Company

The next stop on the tour was The Dollop Coffee Company shop, which was a little cafe tucked between large buildings. It had a very clean modern appearance to it. I didn’t have much time to appreciate the aesthetic, as we jumped right into things. We tried three different roasts, from light to dark. The thing that makes this café really unique is their Kyoto cold brew coffee that drips one drop at a time. You can see the large Japanese contraption used to brew the coffee right as you walk in. The café employee told our group that they only make a couple of pots a day because it takes so long to brew. The Kyoto was unlike any coffee I had ever tasted before, it was so rich and dark that it almost had a bourbon flavor to it.

4. Bow Truss Coffee Roasters

After finishing up at The Dollop, we headed down to Bow Truss Coffee Roasters located in River North. This shop had a great vintage feel to it, as worn brick-lined the side of the entry and repurposed furniture filled the room. The shop and the coffee had an incredible boldness to them, that sets them aside from the rest.

5. Big Shoulders Coffee

We then embarked on our last stop; Big Shoulders Coffee, located on Chicago Avenue. This shop had a very cozy feel to it, and the staff was comprised solely of hipsters (which is always a bonus). The barista asked the group what we wanted to try, and then whipped us up a couple of different drinks. Their pour-over was incredible, and their staff favorite; which was a spicy chai latte, was surprisingly next level.

As I left the tour, I felt absolutely enlightened, and not just from all of the caffeine. I had met a ton of people who shared the same passion that I did. I got to try way too much of the best coffee that Chicago has to offer. On my ongoing quest tolearn more about the magnificent city of Chicago, I have found this crawl to be perhaps one of the best learning experiences.

I would HIGHLY encourage everyone to partake in one of the twelve Caffeine Crawls that will take place in 2017. So far, they have announced that San Diego, Houston, and Oklahoma City will have the privilege of hosting the event. They have yet to announce the nine other cities that will partake in the crawl. I am very hopeful that Chicago will be chosen as one of them.

To keep posted on the location of the next crawls, follow them on Facebook or check out their website.

Pro-Tip: Don’t drink all of the coffee that you are given, just take little sips to enjoy the flavor and avoid a huge headache.

Cover Image Credit: What Weekly

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Sweet Potatoes Are The Most Underrated Vegetable Of All Time

Everything you need to know about the pieces of edible gold we call "sweet potatoes" and why they will always perish over any plain old potato.

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The potato. The heart of the American food industry. A versatile vegetable crop soaked in grease that brings us some of our favorite appetizers and sides. From french fries, to curly fries, to tater tots, to baked potatoes, to hash browns, this hallowed vegetable has become the Johnny Depp of the vegetable family. Now, we are all aware that the configurations of potatoes are limitless, but we commonly disregard the potato's delicious and neglected brother: the sweet potato. I, a credible food connoisseur and highly experienced eater, am here to tell you why you are missing out on a world of flavor if you choose to dismiss the beloved sweet potato and its many entities.

Let me first start this tirade by proving to you my credibility...I, too, once believed that regular french fries were better than sweet potato fries. I scoffed at the idea of choosing those ridiculous orange sticks over my tried-and-true plain boys. I could not be convinced that any sweetness should impede on my savory snacks.

These were dark times.

It was not until a mere month ago that my mind was changed forever.

It was a sunny (scary) Sunday morning, and my pounding head led me on a mission to indulge myself in the finest breakfast foods. I entered my favorite breakfast diner, Angelo's, and waited anxiously for my waiter to stroll over. She filled our water cups and asked if we wanted to start with any appetizers. Before my stingy self could even decline the offer, my best friend ordered a round of sweet potato fries for the table and the waiter scurried away. I stared blankly at her for a solid minute. I could not wrap my head around the concept of munching on sweet potato fries at 8 in the morning. She just stared back and said, "Trust me." Suddenly, a tray of blood orange sticks and a mysterious tan sauce appeared in front of my face. As much as I wanted to ponder the morality of this decision, the hunger began to take over, and I shoved one of the fries into my mouth.

In an instant, it was as if time and space had lost all meaning. When my teeth hit the fry, the perfectly crusted outer shell crunched softly making a sound much like your foot crushing a dried leaf. The now exposed inside of the fry was the perfect blend of mush and warmth that felt like your mouth was receiving a hug. The flavor...unbelievable. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't a fry — this was a culinary experience. This fry single-handedly blew the roof off of any predisposed ideas I had about American cuisine.

I am well aware that my fry experience cannot be simulated again by any average food-goer, but I challenge you, the reader of this article, to get out there and enjoy a sweet potato in any form. Stray from your basic fries or tater tots and dabble in a sweet treat which will undoubtedly bring you flavorful satisfaction.

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