Sunday, June 06, 2010

CC: Knockbox Cafe

What's does "CC" mean? Location visited: Chicago, IL
Free WiFi ? : yes
5+ [
see key]

Of the many things I've seen in quality Chicago coffee, the one thing that impresses me is the loyalty to local roasters. I've been to a number of coffeehouses in the Windy City and thus far, I only see a dire love for the likes of Intelligentsia and Metropolis.

Adding to my repertoire of such establishments was a place in Humboldt Park called Knockbox Cafe. In my travels around the city, the streets leading me to Knockbox definitely didn't strike me as a place a random tourist would happen upon but more a space where locals enjoy their daily coffee (i.e. it was largely residential). Upon arriving, I also noticed the exterior of the cafe was under a bit of construction, with a big piece of plywood over one side of the corner, though the remainder of the exterior looked spiffy. Inside, the cafe trumpeted a huge counter area, a high brown metal ceiling and large colorful walls surrounding a spread out sea of seating.

Knockbox is a Metropolis Coffee purveyor, proudly toting the roaster not only in their cafe but quite visibly on their website (a refreshing sight, given the ridiculous trend amongst some cafes of either masquerading a roaster's coffee as the cafe's own or withholding the roaster because its a "trade secret").

I purchased a cup of medium roasted Peru as well as an espresso. The Peru displayed some asian pear, a bit of almond, some pepper, a molasses-like sweetness and a tingle of grain; a good, pretty balanced cup though I felt the brew was a bit off. The espresso, pulled short with a nice crema, held a strong dark peppery flavor as well as some nice notes of bright acidity, cocoa and a little bit of celery. A decent pull though I can't say I was in love with the blend (I believe it was Metropolis' Redline Espresso, a blend better marketed for its performance in milk). The tea is free leaf.

After ingesting my coffee and a quick boardgame with friends (they had a nice selection), I was on my way, pleased with my Knockbox interaction.

Whether you live local or you're passing close by, give Knockbox Cafe a visit.


coffeeandspices said...

great coverage, interesting post even though I am in Jamaica I can relate to wonderful coffee.

Unknown said...

I've been to the Knockbox Cafe and have to say my experience was great. The staff is very friendly and you forgot to mention the cookies and sandwiches. I spent 4 hours there and enjoyed all of it.

Unknown said...

Enjoying a Black Eye from the Knockbox Cafe, located in Chicago on California and Augusta, and was happy to find that they choose to use Greenware cups and straws which degrade over time. Thank you Knockbox Crew for limiting the use of 700 year old heirloom plastics and toxic BPA.

Ultimate Home Business said...

i'm going there next week!

Anonymous said...

I have been to the knockbox cafe and I really enjoyed it. The owners are truly some of the nicest people you will ever meet and I have never been disappointed with the coffee. Also, I can't go there without getting a sandwich and the amazing coleslaw. They are definately dedicated to their customers and making the perfect cup of coffee.

On one of the occasions I was there they had plywood on the front, it seems a car had ran through the front of the cafe but they reopened right away.