O-Issue 2011: The best beans around town

The Top 5 coffee shops on the South Side, according to third-year barista Patrick Ip.

By Patrick Ip

Third-year Patrick Ip has a taste for fine coffee. When he’s not studying political science, working with the United Nations, or helping out with Student Government, he’s busy finding the best cups of joe in the country. As a trained barista, he knows a thing or two about a quality brew—last year he started a café out of his Stony Island dorm room using a rare form of coffee brewing called the syphon method. We sat down with him to get the scoop on the top 5 coffee shops near campus.

Café 57

Blended into the scenery of the Metra tracks, Café 57’s small coffee shop offers the best lattes and espresso-based drinks in Hyde Park. What’s the key to their amazingly tasty coffee? They have the best baristas and their own unique Café 57 blend of Intelligentsia beans.

57th Street & S. Lake Park Ave.

Istria Café

When you walk into Istria, you’ll notice that this isn’t your typical Hyde Park Coffee Shop. With a selection of microbrews that taste like “honeysuckle & tangerine resolve into buttery caramel,” you’ll want to try their pourover and other great offerings.

Between 49th St. & East End Ave.

Zaleski & Horvath MarketCafe

Two words: Clover Brew. The Clover machine is the only coffee machine to be equipped with a PID algorithm that uses programmable workflow modes to brew its single cup of coffee. Since Starbucks bought out the Clover in 2008, only a handful of companies own the machine – and this is the only place to try it in Hyde Park.

47th & S. Indiana Ave.

Robust Coffee Lounge

Striving to showcase the best of the local area, Robust Coffee Lounge is only one of two coffee shops in Hyde Park to offer Alterra beans. Its spacious environment and food options makes it a great place to grab lunch or study.

63rd & Woodlawn Ave.

Grounds of Being: The Divinity School Coffee Shop

Hidden away in the basement of Swift Hall, entering Grounds of Being is like discovering one of the best-kept secrets at the University of Chicago. Also offering Alterra beans, Grounds of Being offers the best tasting coffee on campus to get you through your day.

Swift Hall