Cool and Chill Places in The West Loop

The West Loop has become kindof my second home and I get that there are some of the best restaurants there – I read Emily Belden’s “Hot Mess” (and also interviewed her on a West Loop Entrepreneur panel) and partnered with some Randolph Street restaurants. I get it – I love the shimmer and sparkle of the west loop. But sometimes, I want to be low key and just grab a good drink and be silly with my girls.

So, since I get asked this question – the question of where to go and what to do in the west loop – as a community and marketing manager for luxury coworking space, Co-Optim, I want to share with you those cool and chill places where you can unwind and get those much needed laughs with friends in the west loop.

Parlor Pizza

I’m not biased – even though Parlor Pizza regramed my cheese pull video. It seriously is always happening at Parlor Pizza- maybe because it’s right next to SoHo house or just off the ever-busy Randolph Street. I love the rooftop during the summer. If you do go, don’t order the pizza, order the pizza bread. It’s so good that me and my friend ordered it and had it delivered to a bar while watching a basketball game. It is life changing and the salads are pretty good.

Also, my friend and fellow blogger, Sany, did an insane video on Parlor Pizza covering their dessert bar – dessert tacos never seemed so appealing.

 

CH Distillery and Cocktail Bar

CH Distillery has a flight of vodka – need I say more. It’s across the street from Olgilvie Transportation Center. Fair warning, it opens at 4 pm and they have a cute patio.

The cocktails can be a little bit much – don’t order the mojito. It’s not good. I heard the Rosemary’s Baby cocktail is good. Oh, and P.S. the burger looks insane. P.S.S. they have a cocktails and humor night with stand-up comedians on September 8, 2018. You can learn more and get tickets here. 

Lone Wolf

Lone Wold is right next to Au Cheval. Good beer list and artisanal hot dogs on the menu. A fellow Chicago blogger, Blair Bitove from The Blair Necessities shared “[Lone Wolf] was a nice little bar where you can actually talk to people but still have fun.”

Blind Barber

For a cool experience  – Blind Barber is a barber shop by day and an old school bar at night. It’s still on my list to go – so if you do go, tag me in your Instagram post please. One of my favorite Chicago bloggers, Tavi from Chi At A Glance wrote a Yelp review about it – sharing that it is like a speakeasy because “Unless you know about this spot you’ll never find it. Lol. You actually have to enter the barber shop and then walk through the unmarked door once inside.”

Punch Bowl Social

Punch Bowl Social is so nice and chill. Their motto is “Here’s to going out right.” When you walk in, you feel like you are at the wrong place because it looks like a laundromat, but you go up the stairs and there’s so much to explore. Punch Bowl Social is huge – like Marco Polo huge. With karaoke bars and a bowling alley and a gigantic scrabble board – you are sure to have one of the best nights of your life. Once you get bored of one activity, there’s another. It’s perfect for a windy/cold/too hot – basically every other day in Chicago. It’s seriously The Monopoly of this year – with multiple locations throughout the nation. We were lucky to get one this spring.

El Che Bar

El Che Bar was inspired by time spent eating, drinking and traveling in Argentina and you definitely get that flavorful cool and trendy vibe from the interior to the patio. I had a few drinks there with fellow Chicago food bloggers, but honestly – you go there for the food, particularly their steak because it’s an Argentinian-style steakhouse. I wouldn’t pass over the appetizers – the braised beef and horseradish aioli empanada was delicious as were the Spanish olives and their – never discounted – buttery and grilled oysters.

 

So, these are some of the gems in Chicago’s West Loop to chill grab a drink, and just live after a long day at work. My next question is – who are you taking with you?

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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I Planned A Drake Themed Galentine’s Dinner Party In 5 Days And It Was Everything

Having dinner with girlfriends is the best. But add cake and Drake songs – it’s simply the perfect theme I could think of for hosting my first Galentine’s Day dinner in Chicago.

I love a good party (see here, here, and basically all of my Instagram stories). And the reasons why I love them is because they help you bond with people. This Galentine’s Day dinner party was no exception.

First, I’m going to walk you through how I planned the Drake Themed party in five days- from the Drake on a Cake to the location.

Then, I’ll share with you what we did at the party.

How We Got to Drake on a Cake Galentine’s Theme:

The theme was Drake on a Cake. How did we get here? It all started with Chicago Restaurant Week and God’s Plan.

I was having a late lunch, which turned into early cocktails with a few fab Chicago lifestyle and food bloggers.  Drake had just released the song, God’s Plan, and we started talking about the lyrics which led our Instagram-obsessed selves to Drake on the Cake Instagram account.

 

Nicole Triebe from Windy City Dinner Fairy at Restaurant Week. Photo by: The Brazen Gourmand

 

During the lunch, I met the infamous Nicole Triebe, Founder of  Windy City Dinner Fairy, who I had followed on Instagram, but we’d never met in person. And, I’m going to tell you, meeting in person is so important. 

The day we met for Chicago Restaurant Week was also the day I started to promote my new relationship podcast, Ok Cool. We started talking about dating stories in Chicago and we were swapping our worst date stories.

Drake + Good Lobster Rolls + Bad Dates = BFFS

 

After a few laughs, some mussels, and some good cider, I had to interview Nicole about Windy City Dinner Fairy for my blog. So, we set up a date to make a Drake on a Cake and learn more about how she started baking and cooking.

The Drake on a Cake: Making the Cake:

About a week later, what was just girl talk, turned into baking the Drake on a Cake. I started my afternoon with Nicole from Windy City Dinner Fairy with a bottle of champagne. She already had the eggs and some ingredients on the table. Without a recipe, she swirled the batter and tossed in the ingredients to make a double chocolate Drake on a Cake.

 

Baking a Cake with Windy City Dinner Fairy.

 

Meet The Girlboss Behind Windy City Dinner Fairy:

While her cake smelled sweet, her story of becoming a girl boss was about a 15-year long road. See, Nicole always knew what she was good at, but it took time to develop her skills and her clientele. She was working a full-time job as a Paralegal when she started her creative, custom dessert catering company, Windy City Dinner Fairy. She was catering with a friend and made pastries for a coffee shop. And then on her own, Nicole was hired as a personal chef for three CrossFitters. It was when she made cupcakes for a wedding that she realized that this was what she wanted to do. She switched jobs to be an Assistant Underwriter at an insurance company and still kept making cakes and food on the side. Her business had expanded throughout the Chicagoland area. After working two jobs, which she didn’t like very much, she was ready to incorporate her side hustle on her 35th birthday – December 1, 2017.

 

The cakes were cooling, and it was time to pop the champagne. After hearing her story, we brainstormed the best Drake lyrics. Ultimately, we went with “You The F*ckin Best.” Windy City Dinner Fairy then made then made a “You The F*ckin Best”  playlist as she finished icing the cake, and I finished the champagne. I knew that those weren’t just empty words on a cake – she really is the f*ckin best for quitting her job and making her side hustle her business.

 

We Chose the Drake lyrics “You The F*ckin Best” for The Galentine’s Day Cake. 

 

P.S. if you need a visual of what it was like to bake with Nicole, you can watch her in action with Glossed and Found, an online video magazine making a hydrangea cupcake bouquet for Valentine’s Day.

The Galentine’s Day Invites:

One Party Can Lead To Another if you just believe. Chicago influencers from Chicagogrammers came to the Drake on a Cake Galentine’s Day Party. 

I think the only thing to do with a cake is to have a party. So, I went to the monthly Chicagogrammer’s happy hour with 30 other Instagrammers on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Some of them had seen my Instagram stories and asked me what Drake on a Cake was.  After Chicago bloggers and influencers Alyssa Erickson from Doughscuit, Allie Barke from Alliesfashionalley, and Katie Cahnmann from Appetite_4_Adventure were interested – I decided it was for a party.

A handful of people were going to the Chicago Pizza Party like Allie Bahcall from Bahcallmemaybe, who works for Yelp and the other half had no plans –  so we choose Saturday night.

I literally met new people that night like Ratanya Bowens and said, “Hi, I’m Amanda, what are you doing Saturday night?” With the blizzard coming on Friday, I knew the more invites the merrier.

So, I had a cake. I had people. Now, I just needed a time and a place. Three days till the party.

The Place to Host a Dinner Party:

Dinner parties are my favorite thing. I realized that I’m still an aspiring cook and so I appreciate the many wonderful chefs in Chicago who introduce me to new foods and flavors.

 

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We had the Galentine’s Party at Urbanbelly in Wicker Park. We had a big table to the side with a green wall in the backdrop for the semi-private dinner party.

 

I went out the next day to a handful of restaurants in Wicker Park and talked to the managers about hosting the dinner party. All three of them were great spots – Bru Chicago, Piece Brewery and Pizza, and Urbanbelly. 

 

I knew I wanted a semi-private event space where I could set up some type of decor. I ultimately chose Urbanbelly because they had this beautiful green backdrop and a nice table space with a corner area for us to drop our coats and purses and do what girls do best – relax and talk. Plus, the manager, Elizabeth was so nice.

The Decor:

If ever there was a time for a Target Run – it’s for a party. Target has really cute decor for $1 or $3. I picked up some cards, balloons, some pens and stickers, and a few photobooth props.

 

Appetite 4 Adventure and AlliesFashionAlley were some of the Chicago bloggers at the Drake dinner party. 

 

Plus I got some champagne gum as a palate gum. It made a great conversation piece.

The Night of The Drake on a Cake Dinner Party:

Let me just say, I loved everything about this party. Urbanbelly in Wicker Park had the table reserved for us with water and chopsticks already on the table.

We all decided on which Ramen and dumplings to order – don’t forget the dumplings. They are small, but flavorful. I got the beef and cheddar and the chicken curry. They were so good! And then I ordered togarashi fries for the table. Which were perfect in between good, spicy bites of my chicken ramen.

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Last night was messy, funny, and as real as a Drake song makes me feel. My dreams came true – I threw a Drake themed dinner party for Galentines Day. We made Valentine’s Day cards from Drake lyrics and had a Drake on a Cake. I went to a few restaurants to host the party and @urbanbellychicago was wonderful and made us feel special. After ramen, some dumplings and piña coladas, the manager brought us amazing ice cream shots and pb&j ice cream – soft serve with crunchy peanut butter and huckleberry jelly that even @seriouseats recognized as some of the best ice cream in Chicago. The food was amazing! And I had never been there before. Getting a card written from Drake lyrics made us all laugh and most of all I had amazing company. Cheers to week of love and laughter 🥂

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I had never been to Urbanbelly before – but everything was good and everyone loved it. I learned that the master chef is renowned Chicago chef, Bill Kim, who has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and the StarChefs Rising Stars Award.

One of the best parts of Urbanbelly is their cocktails and desserts. Seriously these can be extras and often overlooked when having a big bowl of ramen. But, we had to try. They have house-made signature cocktails including a new pina colada inspired cocktail. I went for the cider.

Making Valentine’s Day Cards From Drake Lyrics:

After we shared dating stories and caught up on life. I had everyone put their name in Valentine’s Day bag. We all wrote out Valentine’s Day cards to each other using Drake lyrics. I think this was one of my favorite parts of the night!

 

We pulled names from the Valentine’s Day bag to write personalized notes using Drake lyrics. 

 

The best Valentine’s Day card made via Drake Lyrics was:

Katie,

Tonight was your night. Go get you some lobsters and shrimp.

You smart and you know it. I get it. I get it. You outdo those pimps.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love,

Sam

I mean Drake lyrics written as a card had us all laughing.

The next part was dessert. The manager surprised us and brought us some of Urbanbelly’s dessert to try and it was seriously amazing. If you only have room for one dessert – order the shake shot. I was confused when they put a mason jar filled with soft serve and shot glasses on the table – but taking a shot of ice cream is now one of my favorite shots. UrbanBelly’s shake shot has vanilla soft serve, Vietnamese iced coffee & chocolate crisp on top.

 

After Ramen, we took cake shots – which are just as amazing as they sound. 

 

I’ve never tasted peanut butter and jelly in ice cream form – but it was better than the sandwich. They take crunchy peanut butter and mix it with berry compote into the vanilla soft serve. Then, we also sampled the soy caramel soft serve.

Finally, it was time for the cake behind the party – Drake on a Cake. Urbanbelly cut the double chocolate cake and served us. The homemade frosting was so good!

Happy Galentine’s Day:

Our bellies were full and my heart was filled with joy. I’ve always wanted to throw something ridiculous like a Different rake on a Cake party. Celebrities have been my muse for several parties. For my 25th birthday, I threw a 1989 Taylor Swift party and we shut down the bar to make a music video to Shake it Off.

 

We finally got to eat the Drake on a Cake. 

 

So, that’s how you throw a party in five days. Hope you have a great Galentine’s Day and thank you for reading Windy City Cosmo! Remember, you’re the f*ckin best.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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A New England Taste for Chicago Restaurant Week at Oyster Bah

For this Chicago Restaurant Week – we took a trip – with our forks – to New England for some fresh seafood and nautical ambiance.

This week is what some people call “better than Christmas.” It’s Chicago Restaurant Week from January 26 – February 8, 2018. Chicago Restaurant Week is a dream for Chicago foodies because you get to eat a fixed price menu at some of the hottest and finest Chicago restaurants.

A few bloggers and I got together for a tasting at Oyster Bah (1962 N. Halsted) in Lincoln Park to catch up and eat some fresh seafood.

The food was good. The ambience was perfect. And the company made the experience.

Dig in at Oyster Bah:

Since I know you want to – let’s just dig in. I do really think that you bond over meals. While I love good sauces, fresh seafood, and a savory meal – time flew because of the conversations.

We did Oyster shots together and split a lobster roll. I loved how zesty and fresh everything was! Seriously, get the lobster roll and save room for the mussels!

Restaurant Week is a Great Way to Meetup with Friends and Talk About Your Projects:

Best of all, because we met up during the launch of my relationship podcast, Ok Cool, we started talking about our dating lives. Some of the Chicago bloggers shared our worst dating stories from Match and other places. P.S. I don’t really like Match – it took three months, and I only met up with one person.

My favorite story was about how a guy went to the bathroom during the dinner date and didn’t come back! My friend was left with the bill and oddly, his coat which he left behind. At the end of the night, she gave his coat to a homeless guy and had a few drinks with the bartender, who saw what happened.

Restaurant week is the best way to try favorite dishes from Oyster Bah for a set price. The lunch special is $22 and dinner is $33. Reservations can be made by here.

Battle of the 90s at Split-Rail:

Next on my restaurant week list is Split-Rail because – guys – they have a battle of the 90’s – Friends vs. Seinfeld.

https://instagram.com/p/BequJGulEN1/

All photos were shot by: The Brazen Gourmand

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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What’s a Typical Day for a Blogger?

So, what do bloggers do besides look amazing in photos and get facials?

One of the scariest and coolest parts about being a blogger is that you get to make your own schedule.

The thing is that it can either be a full day or a light day depending on how many brands you’re working with or events you have.

Unlike a job where you are assigned your work, as a blogger you have to create your work.

I run Windy City Cosmo, so I have to develop the content calendar, reach out to experts and entrepreneurs, interview, and write articles and then promote them and my brand.

I’m going to go through some of the aspects of blogging and then give you a one minute recap of what a typical day looks like for bloggers.

Content Creation

Content creation is one of my favorite aspects of blogging, and I’m currently looking for a full time job in that area.

There’s many ways to come up with content ideas. I look at the different areas that my blog covers – beauty/health, building relationships, food/bar/travel scene and how to grow a business. I like to find events or people to interview for each of these topics.

Usually, I look at magazines like CS magazine or TimeOut Chicago. I also receive Google Alerts. And I subscribe to publications and organizations with similar beats like the tech and entrepreneurial news from ChicagoInno, 1871, Women Tech Founders and Built in Chicago, or the global beauty and business brands and bloggers like Marie Claire and Forbes and On-Air Beauty Expert, Deepica Mutyala, as well as connecting with people in these areas like my interview with the former editor of Vogue. I also join local Chicago groups like Creative Women’s Co. which I’ve volunteered for their events (they also have a great podcast), or Ms. Tech which I’ve covered for Windy City Cosmo, and I’ve written for them.

Then, I also think about ideas or events that I would be interested in and what might be good for that time of the year. I like to think in terms of season or holidays, but’s it’s also so important to think about evergreen content – content that is relevant all year round.

Keywords and Relevance

When I think about writing an article, I have to think of what people are searching for as well. Writing for the web is kindof like filing except you want to make sure you write something engaging not just robotic. (Hint: start with the headline). There’s a system created by Google and it’s called SEO – search engine optimization. If you label your document correctly (through your title and keywords in your post), people will know it’s relevant when they search for it. It becomes more relevant when you link to other documents/articles, and even more relevant when people share it and talk about it. You can learn some more tips about SEO here. One of my favorite authors about the subject is Orbit Media.

When I write an article I think about the specific topic I’m addressing and if it will be relevant and if it is worth filing away for reference. The only caveat is if it’s timely. I’ve learned that it’s hard to compete with bigger brands when it comes to timely news – but just because you can’t break the news, you can create a voice and opinion from that news. People like Luvvie from Awesomely Luvvie have grown their audience from doing that and writing for popular websites.

Photos

Photos are an important part of blogging. This can be the main part of blogging for some bloggers. They will have photo shoots almost everyday or spend a Saturday shooting looks for the week.

Most bloggers with recommend Canva which helps you easily create pictures for your blog. For photo editing, people use different apps. I’ve enjoyed Snapseed, which I learned about from a fashion designer.

Writing a Post

Writing an article can take awhile. There’s a lot of aspects to creating content and writing can sometimes be the hardest for bloggers. The main parts of the article to focus on is the intro and the headline and having a keyword. But, also don’t neglect the conclusion and how someone would share or learn from your post. Hubspot has a great class about how to create content for different mediums. I learned about how to take one post and truly reuse the content to get more traffic.

Another overlooked part of blogging is editing. I will recommend Grammarly for editing. If you don’t have someone who can look at your work, Grammarly can be that free extra set of eyes. It’s a Chrome plug-in that you can use on WordPress or even for your emails and social media posts.

Testing Content

I’ve read a lot of tips from other bloggers and also followed them. I learned that having a theme or style whether that’s your Instagram filter or tone on your blog have helped them to grow their following. If you look at Once Upon a Dollhouse, a blog about two best friends, they are always wearing creative outfits like twin. Chicago blogger, Emma Lenhart has a similar filter in all of her Instagram filters and she talks about her process here.

Bloggers also experiment with their posts. For Instance, Macy Stucke found out that her pictures would get reposted if she was at a crosswalk. In a podcast I’ve listened to The Chris Loves Julia Podcast and Julia talks about how she would post a few different photos to figure out what her audience liked. For instance she would post a photo of a room and then she would post a photo of someone in the room to see what had more engagement on Instagram. A huge part of creating content as a blogger is testing content.

Events: Hosting or Attending

One of the best parts of blogging is meeting new people. To do this, you go to events or you create your own and invite others.

Some bloggers are know for their events like Once Upon a Dollhouse threw an amazing Friendsgiving at The Four Seasons.

A lot of bloggers simply go to events. I average anywhere from an event a week to four events a night depending on my schedule. Some of my favorite events was a staycation in Rosemont or a cocktail party with The Everygirl at Celeste or the Popculture themed real estate party.

Gaining a Following from Social Media

Another main aspect of blogging is social media. I spend about an hour to well, I really don’t want to admit how much time I spend on social media a day. I’m primarily on Instagram or Snapchat and Facebook and then I also go on LinkedIn and Twitter. Some of the main things I do on these platforms is follow bloggers like me or people I want to connect with for articles or events or brand sponsorships (so PR).

Then I also reach out to my followers and see who they are following. I spend a good chunk looking at content and using that to think of my own brand.

Another thing I use social media for is outreach. I write comments and I go to other websites and read and comment on articles. I think when I first started blogging I was so focused on my content, but now I realize three years later that caring about other people’s content and learning about your followers helps you build a more engaged brand.

How to Make a Business from Blogging:

While writing for my blog and going to events is fun, I’ve really wanted to turn my passion into a profit. I have to make blogging a business by applying for speaking opportunities and networking and working with brands for sponsorships. Other ways bloggers make money is through affiliate links, coaching bloggers in how to blog, freelancing and managing brands social media profiles.

Sometimes I join blogger groups, but I also go to a lot of events and my relationships with PR people from when I was a journalist have really helped me grow my brand. From that, I’ve met some great PR people at parties and on social media.

Making Connections Through Social Media and Email Marketing

One of the key ways to connect is either going to parties and running into the same people and also combining that with social media and email marketing. One of my tips is to find people going to the same party as you and connecting with them before the event on social media. You’ll be surprised that people look for you at the party when you follow them and drop a line. I also connect with people after a party by using the Instagram Geo filter to see who tagged photos or by using the hashtag.

Another good way to follow-up is by email. I have a few templates I use. You want to include a blurb about your blog and how you can help each other. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying – hey, I’m a blogger. I cover this beat. I’d love to know more about the brands you’re working with and how I might be able to help your clients reach their target markets.

It’s also good to see which brands are working with bloggers. You’ll notice that Chicago bloggers like Emma Lenhart and LincolnParkMin have sponsorships with Glossier.

Other sides of the blogging business include setting my rates and invoicing.

Understanding Algorithms and Social Media Rules

Another aspect of being a blogger is reading about new algorithms on Facebook or Instagram. A lot of fellow bloggers have been shadow banned which means their post won’t show up in the hashtag feeds because Instagram feels that they violated their terms of use. Chicagogrammers, a Chicago based Instagram community, has a weekly newsletter about Instagram influenced trends and regulations.

A Blogger’s Daily Life

Below is a one minute video of what my Monday schedule looks like.

There’s a lot of aspects to blogging. I don’t do all of these tasks everyday, but I do touch on them in some form or another. I know bloggers who delegate their tasks or who build a team and others like me who do everything themselves and sometimes have guest contributions.

What’s your favorite part about blogging?

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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You’re Ordering Your Coffee Wrong, 3 Tips To Change That

Have you ordered a bad cup of coffee? We all have gone to a restaurant, ordered something that didn’t taste good and then never went back cc: Yelp reviews. But maybe it wasn’t the restaurant, maybe it was us.

See, we all have different taste buds and preferences. So, when you ask a server, “what do you recommend?” it will be based on their preferences – not yours.

We sat down with Al Liu, Vice President of Coffee at Colectivo Coffee, a Milwaukee-based coffee shop opening its second location in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood (2261 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.

How to Order Coffee For Your Tastebuds:

Here are some tips to help you understand how you like your cup of coffee.

At Colectivo Coffee, they label their coffee with three indicators – RBA: Roast, Body, Acidity. We’re going to walk through all three to help you pick the right cup of coffee for you.

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The Coffee Roast:

“I like medium roasts,” I tell the barista.

Honestly, I don’t even know what that means – I guess that I am a person who doesn’t know what she likes, so she stays in the middle.

I like to think of roasts as where you end up than where you start. See, roasts indicate a few things.

So, when you say you like a light roast, you want more caffeine and more acidity in your cup of coffee.

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The Mint Matcha Latte is one of Colectivo’s most popular seasonal drink. Look for a “Cold Fashion” near New Year’s at the Logan Square location. It’s a cold brew coffee version of one of Milwaukee’s favorite cocktails.

The Coffee Body:

Next, we move on to the coffee’s body. This indicates the richness.

Al Liu compared it to milk, which ranges from Skim milk through Whole Milk. Skim milk is lighter and Whole milk is heavier and more filling.

When you sip a cup of coffee, let it sit on your tongue. How does it feel? Coffee with less body will be lighter (in terms of weight) and coffee with more body will be heavier.

At Colectivo, their Guatemalan coffee has less body, while their Brazilian coffee has a heavier body.

For coffee aficionados, acidity is described as “smooth” for lower acidity and “bright” for more acidic blends.

For me, I also noticed that this translated into the taste of the cup of coffee. The Brazilian coffee was more flavorful – I could pick up on nutty aromas. The Guatemalan coffee was lighter and when I took a sip of the Brazilian compared to the Guatemalan coffee, the Guatemala coffee was weaker to me. It didn’t taste as strong as the Brazilian blend.

The Coffee Acidity:

Interestingly enough, coffee acidity doesn’t indicate the pH balance. It’s a sensation that you feel on your tongue.

Take a sip of coffee and let it sit on your tongue. Once you’ve swallowed it, notice if there is a sensation on the back of your tongue. The stronger the sensation, the more acidic the cup of coffee.

In my coffee tasting at Colectivo, I noticed that I preferred coffee with less acidity.

 

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Al Liu, Vice President of Coffee at Colectivo Coffee, with Amanda Elliott, Founder of Windy City Cosmo, for Colectivo’s Logan Square opening.

 

Conclusion:

After sampling a few different blends, I realized that I like coffee with less acidity and a fuller body. So, while I came in asking for a medium roast, I should have ordered a darker roast.

Note that different coffee shops have different scales of roasts. So, a light roast coffee at Starbucks won’t be the same as a light roast coffee at Colectivo. Pay attention to the acidity and body of the blend, which will be a better guide.

Coffee Flavor:

The last detail to consider is flavor. Coffee’s flavor changes based on location. In Guatemala, for instance, there are three different coffee regions. In the highland regions of Guatemala, Huehuetenango coffee is grown, which has a fruity flavor.

One of the most popular blends for more than twenty years at Colectivo is the Blue Heeler, Sumatra blend.  Sumatra blends generally have a  heavier body and lower acidity, and they have spice which can range from roasted bell pepper to sweet tobacco, sometimes.

Pro Tip: If you do pick up a bag of coffee from Colectivo, they come as coffee beans. You can ask the barista to grind your coffee for you.

Colectivo Coffee Shop Opens in Logan Square:

Colectivo Coffee shop opens December 20, 2017, in Logan Square, its second location in Chicago, IL. The new cafe features an outdoor patio and year-round fire pit, operable floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and Colectivo’s signature unexpected design touches throughout, like vintage industrial mixing bowls transformed into indoor hanging planters.

Logan Square will offer a full menu of Session Roasted coffees, Colectivo Keg Co. house beers, Letterbox Fine Teas, made from scratch & delivered fresh daily Troubadour bakery items, all-day breakfast, and signature sandwiches made on slow-made bread.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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