Over the course of this year, we have spent many hours in various coffee shops throughout Evanston. A coffee shop can be the perfect, mood-setting location that motivates us to get work done for school and The Evanstonian. However, coffee shops also provide us with the perfect place to catch up and miss a few things on our to-do lists each time. As co-Executive editors, we have greatly enjoyed our experiences in coffee shops together, and now consider ourselves to be coffee shop connoisseurs. Given this new title for us, we have ranked a few of our favorite coffee shops based on their coffee, food, atmosphere, and seating availability. Let’s get into it.
Coffee Lab, located on Noyes Street, is a prime spot for Northwestern students and the occasional ETHS student – if you can find a seat. The shop caters to the NU student population by supporting student artists and businesses, and the shop even branches outside Northwestern by allowing The Evanstonian to drop off issues for customers to take. Coffee Lab undeniably supports the Evanston community in addition to serving stellar coffee. While we don’t often branch out from our go-to orders (oat milk or chai lattes), both are solid choices at Coffee Lab. Moreover, they often feature seasonal drinks like an Ube Latte or apple cider, and the shop imports food, donuts and other baked goods from local bakeries. Aside from the food and drink options, Coffee Lab has a cozy feel, with a consistent stream of relaxing lofi study music playing to calm the stressed-out students who frequent the shop. As we sit here, writing this story in the shop itself, we know that Coffee Lab is a really great spot to study, catch up and eat some fabulous food imported from northwest Evanston.
Coffee: 4.5/5 lattes
Food: 3.5/5 lattes
Atmosphere: 5/5 lattes
Seating availability: 3/5 lattes
Hoosier Mama may not be known for its coffee, but it should be. Located on Chicago Avenue and Madison Street, the Hoosier Mama and Dollop combination has been one of our go-to coffee shops all year. Serving Dollop Coffee, Hoosier Mama acts as a pie shop and a coffee place. This coffee shop has it all, from its famous pie to its outstanding lattes to its underrated breakfast sandwiches. Hoosier Mama may be our most frequented coffee shop all year – it can be a quiet study spot where you can get a delicious slice of pie or a place to escape after a school lockdown (speaking from personal experience). Its inviting atmosphere has enabled us to stay for hours at a time, enjoying the smells of coffee and baked goods. However, from the perspective of two lactose-intolerant people, Hoosier Mama and Dollop has one larger downside. After requesting oat milk lattes a few times now, we have discovered that the coffee shop was out of their typical alternative milk options. Of course, products such as alternative milk are not perpetual, but this was an unfortunate circumstance for us. Still, their regular lattes do not disappoint. We love the Hoosier Mama + Dollop combination, and we will miss it dearly. (For those wondering, Lauren will not be traveling far enough south in Evanston to frequent the shop after starting at NU in the fall). Our memories in the shop will remain, and, during any school breaks next year, there’s a large chance Evanstonians can find us there, catching up over a latte (hopefully with oat milk)!
Coffee: ⅘ lattes
Food: 5/5 lattes
Atmosphere: 3.5/5 lattes
Seating availability: 5/5 lattes
Coffee: 5/5 lattes
Food: 3/5 lattes (bird almost ate Lauren’s muffin)
Atmosphere: 2.5/5 lattes (because of Lola)
Seating availability: 5/5 lattes
Reprise is a really nice coffee spot on Dempster Street with frankly spectacular coffee. Walking into Reprise is a breath of fresh air with its large windows providing ample sunlight and many comfy spots for Lauren and Eden to sit and get work done (and mainly chat about life). However, Lauren in particular has a slight problem with it…Lola the bird. This is not meant to dissuade Reprise from housing the bird, but it can cause us apprehension to do our work there. Reprise is, generally, an inviting shop with a bright, colorful, plant-filled interior and a selection of baked goods to pair with a nice cold brew. However, the vibes can be disturbed by Lola flying around; on one visit, Lauren became very anxious after Lola almost attacked her muffin. However, broadly, this is a minor inconvenience, and Lola is a very pretty bird, so Lauren just needs to get over her fear of birds because the coffee is very good. We have appreciated our experiences in Reprise throughout the year and are excited for the future of the shop.
Coffee: ⅗ lattes
Food: ⅘ lattes
Atmosphere: 4.5/5 lattes
Seating availability: ⅗ lattes
Okay, okay, we know it’s a chain, but this particular Starbucks more than deserves a spot on this list. All year, we have enjoyed pretending to be college students in this Starbucks, working on various Evanstonian tasks or catching up in a quiet corner of the shop. As most people know, Starbucks has decent coffee. But, our adviser, Mr. Phillips, turned us onto the year-round Peppermint Mocha, which never disappoints. The drink is nothing short of decadent, with hints of coffee barely coming through over the chocolate and peppermint flavors. In general, we appreciate the vibe and overall scene of this Starbucks – when we can get a seat. This Starbucks is notoriously crowded, but for a good reason. Its proximity to Northwestern’s campus and downtown Evanston makes it a popular spot and worthwhile to visit. If you time it right and find a seat, the experience will surely not disappoint.
Overall, coffee shops have brought us together in times of joy and in times of stress. We have found peace in the walls of Evanston coffee shops, and we will greatly miss the comfort of a friend and a warm drink. However, we are deeply grateful for the experiences we have had as Executive Editors, and many of those experiences will be remembered over the backdrop of a small, inviting coffee shop on a snowy Evanston day.