Neighborhood shops are taking coffee more seriously than ever. We met the coffee freaks turning the city on to cultish beans, meticulous roasts and low-tech "pour-over" brewing methods-and then diagnosed them on our coffee-obsessiveness scale.
THE OBSESSIVE Kevin Ashtari, owner, Asado Coffee Co (1432 W Irving Park Rd, 773-661-6530)
THE FIX A year ago, Asado proved that a no-frills coffeehouse could source serious beans (the house drip is fair-trade from Uganda), carefully roast them (using an in-house 12-kilo gas-fired drum roaster) and beautifully brew them (via Beehouse brand dripper cones manufactured in Japan). Since then, big coffee guns such as Intelligentsia have followed suit, scrapping tumultuous (and expensive) Clover machines and jumping on board with pour-over coffee, made one cup at a time by hand.
SYMPTOMS “I would say we’re ridiculously obsessive,” says Ashtari. “Each cup here is made with love.” Indeed, the baristas’ patient, careful process—first pre-wetting the grounds, allowing the coffee to “bloom,” then pouring a slow, steady and constantly moving stream of hot water over them—is the secret to consistently flawless cups of coffee.