Caffee Umbria – the Seattle-based coffee maker – boasts a brand new 9,000-square-foot cafe roastery and coffee lab in a vintage streetcar warehouse in Logan Square and let me be frank: stop what you are doing right now and make plans to go get coffee with a friend here.
You will thank me later.
The cafe has a River North location but it is nowhere near the grandiose of the inviting 2545 W. Armitage Ave. spot.
I received the pleasure of attending the grand opening party and let me just say this…
As a writer, I have spent a lot, and I mean A LOT of time in coffee shops around Chicago but this magical unicorn is – well, just that: a unicorn. There is nothing else quite like Caffe Umbria and its multi-purpose space paired with its vintage esthetic and of course, its coffee – is what will keep me coming back to its captivating doors.
As you walk into the warehouse, you enter through a repurposed shipping container – which according to Chicago Dining and Drinking is a nod to Chicago being a massive distribution hub for the cafe. You then pass a giant window facing the fire-truck red roasting equipment and it feels like you are eating with your eyes at the exhibit-like roasters stand proudly.
Extrovert, introvert or somewhere in between – there are spots for those who wish to people-watch up the stairs and on the balcony overlooking the space as well. And for those who want to get down to business with their team, the windowed cube looking upon the roasting floor is also a perfect spot.
But the most attractive part about the location is that it does not put itself in a box. It is not just another coffee spot or roastery that serves coffee. The cafe includes a coffee training lab for employees as well as wholesalers.
And now, for the moment you have been waiting for: the menu. It offers all the standard lattes along with a carefully curated menu of specialty drinks but what makes the coffee so devilishly delicious?
You can credit Umbria’s taste to their blends. Unlike the very trendy single origin coffee, blending coffee is a tradition from Italy and after tasting a cup, you understand why the tradition stuck around.
And when you can’t consume any more caffeine but you don’t want the party to end, the cafe offers 12-ounce bags of coffee for purchase as well as, also available to be bought in bulk.
But be sure to try their cocktails, my favorite being the Espresso Shakerato which is espresso shaken with ice in a martini glass, rimmed with sugar.
But be warned, the coffee cocktails are not for the faint of heart as they pack a mighty punch.