|We always dread subjecting ourselves to mall espresso. This wasn't as terrible as it could have been - and marked an improvement over its previous incarnation as Gloria Jean's Coffees - but it was still sub-par. Like a number of Gloria Jean's outlets in the Chicago area, this was recently converted over to a new, local chain in Whispers. It practically has the same stand in the middle of the mall, but now there are a handful of café tables available for seating nearby. They even seem to have kept the newer, two-group, Cora-supplied La Spaziale machine. Served by emo high school kids, the shot has a bare, balding thin medium brown crema. It's a dark, somewhat bitter cup with a touch of ash and strong pepper and tobacco. But it's a real espresso - not some filter drip coffee facsimile. Unfortunately, it's not a good one. This is why straight espresso has such a bad name in middle America. Definitely made for milk.