Just outside the city in Lake County you may come across Hansa, the Libertyville roastery that is now selling its beans and making great coffees in a warehouse across the street from the train. They also have branches in Vernon Hills and Lake Bluff as well.
The sound of great coffee is hard to miss. Roasted beans are ground fresh then pressed into a porta-filter, which is locked into a heavy-duty machine that sends out waves of espresso, some of which will be combined with steamed milk for lattes or cappuccinos. There's also pour-overs, with beans and water being weighed to the exact gram to ensure quality and consistency.
"I like it around here, I like the culture; I like everything about the suburbs, but there was one problem: there was no good coffee," said Tom Maegdlin, the co-owner of Hansa Coffee Roasters. "We spend a lot of time training our staff in espresso preparation, milk steaming, things like that. We take a more culinary approach to our drinks. So we have a seasonal menu that we change every three to four months, where we have seasonal, local products, and we incorporate them into our drinks."
It all begins with the beans which Hansa imports directly to roast them on-site to their exact specifications.
"It really gives us the ability to not only reward good work from people we know and like, but it also gives us that level of control that we really couldn't get working with larger farms," Maegdlin said.
With names like Peaberry Royale and Cafe Rosé, the beans are all for sale, as well as enough paraphernalia to tap into your inner Barista.
With all of the work that goes into roasting, grinding and making your coffee, they hope customers give an unadulterated cup a chance first before doctoring it up.
"We want to showcase that coffee and the farmer's hard work in its natural state. But occasionally people do put cream and sugar in; we can't really control that, but we really would like you to enjoy the coffee the way it's intended," he said.
You'll find the espresso drinks and the Chemex, the pour-overs, and the cold brew at all of their locations, but if you do get drip coffee - try it without cream and sugar.
In Steve's Extra Course Video, he takes a look at some of the bakery items they produce in their Vernon Hills location.
Hansa Coffee Roasters
755 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
600 Walnut Ave
720A Hawthorn Ctr.