In college I had a close friend that was seriously addicted to coffee. She could easily gulp down five large cups of coffee with no problem and still sleep like a baby at night. To this day I’m still convinced she had some kind of immunity towards caffeine. We would always joke that I couldn’t stand the taste of coffee and was strictly a tea drinker. As post college life became busy I started to dabble in coffee as it always seemed more readily available over tea. A cup here and there at most. Amazed at the vast world of coffee that I knew nothing about, my curiosity was peaked. It wasn’t long before I began to recognize the flavors I enjoyed. And on the contrary, the flavors that made me want to go running back to my tea and never look back. So, I started to explore even more. I bought a french press, read up on different beans, and let myself rack up a rather high monthly bill at some coffee shops around town. I tried my coffee black, with cream, a little sugar, iced, as a latte, and pretty much any other formation I could find. And soon enough I became a coffee junkie just like the rest of America. I finally understood.
Since then I’ve worked to rein it back in. Most mornings I make my own coffee. (I drink it black and always hot.) And once a week I treat myself to a latte. A reward for a busy week and job well done. I seek the best flavor and quality to get the most out of my weekly treat. I’m picky about where I make this purchase. If I’m going to fork over the $4-$6 for this steamy drink it better be the best. So where do I find the best latte treat in Chicago? C.C. Ferns.
C.C. Ferns is another one of Brendan Sodikoff’s (of Hogsalt Hospitality) delicious establishments. The coffee lounge is located just west of Ukrainian Village and due south of Humboldt Park. The space is small and intimate. Unlike some of Sodikoff’s more upscale ventures this venue has a distinct retro hipster vibe. Patterned hard wood floors and a textured tin ceiling with endearing chipped paint surround you. The wood walls are adorned with half a dozen or so framed photos and posters of Pan American Airlines. Retro cocktail glasses sit atop the vintage glass and painted gold shelving unit in the lounge area. Take in your surrounding and then step up to order. You won’t be disappointed.
They brew metropolis coffee. My favorite order is a small almond milk latte with a vanilla old-fashioned doughnut (brought to you from the Doughnut Vault, only this time without the line and available after 10am) to dip as I sip. Every brewed treat from this fine establishment reflects the perfect melding of smooth and bold flavor with the perfect dash of bitter taste at the end. The latte’s arrive hot and with a decorative foam on top. (Let’s be honest, this whole foam art on the top of lattes thing is pretty awesome. Adding more visual beauty to an already beautiful taste.) The foam stays thick and frothy until the last sip. And moreover, the temperature is perfectly drinkable upon arrival and keeps it warmth as you sip slowly. A major issue I have when I order a latte is the temperature not being accurate. Too hot and you risk burning your tongue (goodbye tasting any flavor for the next few days.) Or, you wait until the coffee cools only to find that by the time you settle on your first sip, the cup is well on its way to cool… or dare I say cold. You won’t run into this problem at C.C. Ferns. Perfect flavor and ideal temperature for the win.
Grabbing a latte for a lazy Sunday afternoon? Instead of a regular latte go for a ‘Boozy Steamer.’ A major upgrade from the questionable Irish coffee you may be recalling. My favorites are the The Benedictine Chai (benedictine is a dark french liqueur, they also add chai and ginger) and the Scotch and Honey (famous grouse, honey, and almond).
Did I mention that you can buy a cigar here too? I’ll leave the cigar review up to the cubano professionals…. that’s where my expertise (and interest) waver…
Grab your coffee to go or hang around and enjoy it in-house. The music is a combination of jazz, R&B, and soulful beats. Nothing loud or intrusive. Just enough to fill the space yet still hear your thoughts (or your neighbors conversation!) Overall the space feels quiet-great for working or reading. MacBooks, large headphones, and flat brimmed baseball hats adorn the patrons. Nike’s and clogs share equal recognition on the feet of the coffee drinkers. Proving that this hipster shop is accessible to all. So if the location and eclectic menu intimidate you, fear not. This area of town is taking off as the new Logan Square. Thank you Sodikoff for broadening Chicago’s horizon with inventive boozy steamers and brining more traffic to a great area of the city.
Oh, and remember to put a tip in the jar 😉
C.C. Ferns is located on 2806 W. Agusta Blvd. Hours 7am-3pm Mon-Fri and 8am-4pm Sat-Sun. http://www.ccferns.com