Bow Truss Coffee Roasters

Overall Rating: 8.150

Address: 406 N. Wells St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn W Hubbard & W Kinzie Sts.
City, State ZIP: Chicago, IL 60654
Neighborhood: River North
Phone: 312.222.1306
Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; Sa 9am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 9
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Rancilio
Coffee Rating: 8.30
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 9
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Chocolate-like
Coffee Beans: Bow Truss Coffe Roasters
Cup Manufacturer: Espresso Parts
Price: $3.00
Last Update: 04/10/2015
First Reviewed: 04/10/2015
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales

Opening in the winter of 2013, this tiny location sits beneath the Brown Line "L". It's also incredibly busy with a constantly slamming front door (they need to fix that). There's poor space planning in the interior which makes the seating much more scarce than it needs to be. For example, one exposed brick wall is covered with a large chalkboard artwork for Bow Truss -- which could be better served as counterspace. It has a dark interior with one central round table and a mismatch of stools at a counter on the other wall, a front window table, and there's a handful of chairs strewn about the place. Plus a lot of people standing. Behind the counter there's a decent amount of service space, with luggage in a shipper's net hung from a ceiling pulley above. Roasted beans for sale are on display in an upright half canoe that's split back-to-back. There are also oars beneath the wooden counter, two sleds, and a ViewMaster at the retail accessories and "coffee accoutrements" stand with slides of Vegas hotels. So there's little theme here beyond "garage sale". They offer V-60 pour-overs, batch brewed coffee, cold brew coffee, and espresso. They also adopt the language here of "take-away" versus "to-stay". Using their Foundation blend (the barista tunes a Mahlkonig grinder and the two-group Rancilio Xcelsius to it), they pull shots of a true doppio size in white Espresso Parts cups. It has a darker, textured crema and a deep, rich flavor of darker spices, herbs, and some molasses sweetness with some acid in the finish but not a major bite. Predominantly flavors of cherry and 85% dark bitter chocolate, served with sparkling water on the side. For $3.25 they offer an "alternate espresso" (Colombia Nariņo single origin on our visit). They make a very milky cappuccino: a large volume of liquid and with a scant, thinner surface of microfoam with latte art. As with many Chicago coffee shops, try to avoid the milk-based drinks and get the straight shots here for the best results.