Overall Rating: 7.050

Address: 111 W. Jackson Blvd.
Cross Street(s): La Salle St.
City, State ZIP: Chicago, IL 60604
Neighborhood: Loop
Phone: 312.447.0000
Hours: M-F 6am-6pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 6.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 6
Brightness: 6
Crema: 7
Flavor: 6
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Lavazza
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $1.45
Last Update: 12/27/2005
First Reviewed: 04/05/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

The Lavazza chain is making an inroads in the U.S. This café opened in February 2005, and there are reportedly plans for Lavazza to open as many as 18 across the U.S. by 2006. Inside, the interior is classy - and quite true to Lavazza's birthplace: the fantastic Lavazza Caffè at Via San Tommaso 10 in Torino, Italy. Marble café table-tops, dark wood, and limited stool seating at the countertop. Using a two-group Faema E-98 President (that's very metal and boxy looking), they produce an espresso with a darker brown, mottled, foamy, and yet somewhat thin crema in Lavazza-logo IPA cups. Sadly, unlike the great espresso on Via San Tommaso, the espresso underwhelms quite a bit - particularly in its thinner body and flavor. It has a flatter taste of mellow tobacco, and it lacks the richness and full flavor I've sometimes experienced in other cafés that serve Lavazza coffee. But being something of a relative newcomer in the area, hopefully their standards will rise with time. However, a revisit eight months later indicated a slight drop in their standards, when it tasted more like a watered down woody flavor with some sweetness.