It had been a couple of years since we last visited Cook Street Coffee in Barrington, IL. We knew they were managed by Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters from Crystal Lake, and now owned since December 2013.
Nestled in downtown Barrington on a corner between a corporate coffee location and the Metra station, you immediately feel the independent vibe of a suburban cafe’ infused with a hint of the urban coffeehouse roots.
The cafe’ hasn’t changed too much since our last visit. We always found it inviting and warm. With room for 30+ inside and another 12 outside, Cook Street Coffee has plenty of room whether you stop by with friends or a party, or go hide away for a few hours alone.
One thing has definitely changed at Cook Street Coffee, and that is the knowledge and preparation of the coffee and espresso. I first spoke with Matt (pictured right, below) at the counter, and had a great discussion about coffee. There were not too many people in line, so I began to ask more and more about Cook Street Coffee and him. I wanted to get a sense of how deep his knowledge base was. He didn’t disappoint. We talked about different brewers, our favorite ways to brew, and then coffee roasts. The one thing he wouldn’t divulge was the blend they used for their espresso. At one point, he was the one who started asking questions, so I revealed why I asked the questions.
I ordered a 2% latte, my go-to drink, and strolled down the line to wait and watch my drink preparation. I continued my discussion, this time with Josh (pictured above, left), that day’s barista. One of the first things we talked about was the equipment they use, Rancilio. Your Daily Coffee Shot also uses Rancilio equipment for tastings, and we bonded over our knowledge of their product lines.
Where my visits several years ago were hit or miss when it came to the espresso drinks at Cook Street Coffee, I felt more confident that Josh had my drink well in hand. I watched him carefully extract and tamp the espresso, set the portafilter, extract the shot, and then steam the milk. We talked about his time as a barista and his passion for the art and science of a great espresso drink.
The pricing of the drinks are on the higher end of the spectrum for espresso products, but it comes with an experience that you will enjoy. Josh pulled a great espresso shot. The latte was hot, frothed perfectly, that produced a creamy-coffee flavor and consistency that was all the yummy.
If you find yourself near Barrington, IL, check out Cook Street Coffee. Tell them the Chi_Coffee_Guy sent you.
The experience overall was 4.5 cups out of 5: c]__[ c]__[ c]__[ c]__[ c]_