The Tip: I received a hot tip to visit Sawada Coffee, proclaimed (by a facebook friend of my source) as “the best coffee in Chicago.” Here is a review.
First impressions: Somewhat of a skater-hipster vibe. It turned out that Sawada shares its space with Green Street Meats:
The barista didn’t know the difference between a wet and a dry cappuccino, which was not reassuring. Nor was the fact that the smallest sized serving was 8oz rather than 5 or 6 (or 5.5). Still, I ordered away, and was slightly reassured when a different barista actually made my drink, and produced the following very acceptable looking cup:
So at least the milk foaming and pouring skills seemed up to par. (The claim to fame of Sawada seems to be the green tea latte, but a cafe should stand or fall on its espresso and cappuccino.)
The taste: Hmmm. Terrible espresso shot. Probably the most accurate description was that it tasted like the coffee one gets in Germany. This is not a point in its favor.
General Ambience: Terrible music, blaring far too loudly over the bass-heavy speakers. (The sound was something like Santana meets rockabilly, but even that description makes it sound better than it was.) Even the St Matthew Passion (full volume with earbuds) wasn’t enough to mask the sound.
Verdict: Erbarm dich, mein Gott!