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Caffeination Destination: The Coffee Studio

January 25, 2011

At The Coffee Studio in Andersonville (Chicago’s once Swedish, now largely gay neighborhood), coffee is art. Their methods are exact, yours are probably wrong, and they’re not afraid to tell you so.

This isn’t to say that there’s any sort of condescending vibe; on the contrary, because it’s situated in such a quirky area (just down the street from Sunshine Cafe), it’s definitely a neighborhood joint. But why sacrifice good coffee at the expense of comfortable chairs? At the Coffee Studio you’ll find a sleekly designed espresso bar and a collection of stylish (and extremely expensive) mugs in the window, but all this is in addition to the couches and artwork amongst the contrasting exposed brick and woodwork.

The Coffee Studio serves Intelligentsia beans (Black Cat espresso, of course), and their menu is differentiated, like many serious coffee joints, into “espresso” and “espresso drinks”: hence, a latte is not listed under espresso (but you knew that already, of course)! Also, if you’re going to get straight up double espresso, you’re going to have to drink it at the bar, since the menu specifically tells you “in ceramic only.” Don’t worry though, they’ll give it to you with a crunchy Amaretto-type cookie on the side.

I have yet to try any of the pourovers, but I have bought beans by the pound there. Mainly, though, their macchiatos and cortados are just to die for. All their drinks seem to be slightly larger than normal; a cappuccino is 7 oz, a cortado 5, and a macchiato 3. The milk is just slightly foamy without disrupting the unity of the “drink,” and I’ve noticed that the espresso has a not- unpleasantly bitter, grassy taste.

The Coffee Studio manages to be both sophisticated and have approachable baristas and to be a place for working or to have a quick espresso at the bar. It’s what you make it. But there’s one thing that will stay the same no matter what you choose to do there, and that’s the quality of the coffee.

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