There are mornings you want caffeine, and there are mornings you need caffeine. Want it: you wake a little sleepy, the kids wouldn’t go to bed, or you stayed up too late scrolling the nethermost depths of Instagram. Need it: one or more kids were up all night, you’ve got a giant deadline the next day, or my personal favorite, you simply cannot deal.
Days you want caffeine warrant the usual, which, for me, is an Americano with cream. Boring, I know, but it gets the job done. Days you need it, though? That calls for something way more advanced — like one of these super-fancy, super-magical, super-high-charged coffee drinks on the North Shore. You might be jittery, anxious and shaking for several hours after consumption, but isn’t that the point? Cheers to getting your buzz on.
Did someone say “draft latte”? Yes, I did. And so did Cafe De Oro in Riverwoods, which serves up silky, rich, full-bodied lattes either on draft or, believe it or not, in a can. The draft version is unadulterated and pure — a beautifully simple, unsweetened combination of cold-pressed espresso and milk. Or try a can and choose from original, vanilla, mocha or triple (whoa). There’s even a vegan-friendly option made with coconut milk in original or mocha.
2175 Deerfield Rd., Riverwoods
Coffee really does speak, doesn’t it? Especially when it’s the Lavender Latte from Highland Park’s Coffee Speaks. Infused with lavender, this not-your-everyday-latte exudes that wonderful lavender scent — which, in my opinion, is much more natural, soothing and appealing than the PSLs of the world.
610 Central Ave., Suite 155, Highland Park
At a Fourth of July barbecue, the subject of Jar Bar’s Nitro Cold Brew made an appearance for, like, a good 10 minutes — seriously, we talked about this coffee for 10 whole minutes. Super fans said it had a rich, creamy texture that negated the need for additional cream. They also said this brew sends you into overdrive, fast (in a good way). “It’s not an everyday coffee,” according to one expert. “But drink it when you have, like, tons to get done.” Noted.
1350 Shermer Rd., Northbrook
From one of my favorite local coffeehouses comes a delightful blend of not just coffee, not just espresso, but coffee and espresso in their aptly named Bulldog. The best part is, it’s just $2.65 for a 12-ounce cup – which, in the day and age of $6 coffee drinks being standard, comes as a relief to the wallet.
1837 Glenview Rd., Glenview
Glencoe Roast Coffee is the kind of place you go to while away the afternoon with a magazine, book or work project — because, you know, having that kind of free time and being a parent go hand in hand. In any case, the pour-over here is amazing and completely worth the wait (it takes a while). The drink reminds me that coffee is a craft. We’ve become quite accustomed to the model of get in, get out, get on our caffeinated way, but the art of good coffee is something to honor — and this little gem knows it.
700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe