Sunday, July 07, 2013
CC: Buzz: Killer Espresso
Buzz: Killer Espresso
Location: Chicago, IL
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]
How a barista handles customers coming in during the last half hour of business says a lot about a place in my mind. Within that final half hour, a lot of shops begin to shut down and clean their equipment, because like most people, the employees want to go home sooner rather than later. If things are slow and people aren't really ordering much, than usually no one notices the gradual wind down. But have a sudden up-spike in business with a small bus tour of eager customers walking in 5 minutes before closing, that's when you will see the difference in establishments.
I had a great experience at Chicago's Buzz: Killer Espresso one fine evening a little under a half hour before their 8 PM close. Usually I try not to show up to a coffeehouse that close to the buzzer (pun intended) but especially when I'm traveling and my adventures keep me from being as punctual as I would like, I will give it the old college try. I walked up their stoop and inside to their gorgeously designed cafe (clean, polished and lots of seating) and asked if they were still serving espresso and pourovers. To my delight, the barista did not give me a furrowed brow and the monotone "we're closing soon so I can only make you ___ drinks" spiel, but instead heartily smiled and began a chipper exchange with me as she took my order.
Buzz has a roasting arm called Buzz: Artisanal Coffee Roaster, of which that evening I ordered an espresso the Hornet Espresso Blend and a pourover of a Kenya. The espresso, pulled short with a brown crema, smacked of silky chocolate, cherries, a touch of cayenne pepper, some whole milk and a good squeeze of lime; deliciously extracted with all the potency of the hornet's sting but nothing but euphoria. The Kenya also delivered a sumptuous beverage, with notes of milk chocolate, strawberry, vanilla wafer, a little dill and a touch of wheat grass, making for a sweet and juicy coffee.
Fortunately, Chicago is a great city of great coffee people and Buzz kept to that high standard. If you're in the area of Wicker Park, definitely stop by Buzz.