Earlier this week I flew from Chicago O’Hare to Los Angeles and had some time before my flight to sample a couple of surprisingly-tasty coffee shops at the airport.
Great Coffee In Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
I headed to Terminal 5, the international terminal, to visit Kofe, a coffee shop featuring Intelligentsia coffee…one of my favorite coffee companies. But before I could even reach Kofe (located on the secure side past security), I noticed a coffee shop called The Goddess and Grocer located in the ticketing lobby.
It not only featured a beautiful La Marzocco coffee machine, but had “real” (ceramic) coffee cups and coffee from Lavazza. So that was my first stop.
The Goddess and Grocer
ORD Terminal 5 (International) – Ticketing Level / Pre-Security
Chicago, Illinois 60666
7:00AM – 8:00PM
Big disappointment right off the bat: the real coffee cups are apparently just for decoration. The barista refused (despite my gentle pleading and coaxing) to serve my drink in a ceramic cup. He blamed COVID-19. Indeed, I’ve sadly gotten used to drinking coffee out of a paper cup in the pandemic era, but so sad they did not use the cups sitting right in front of them.
No latte art either…but the espresso was strong and cappuccino quite satisfying. I’d say, however, the barista could use some more training. Cappuccino should not be espresso with milk foam plopped on top. A proper cappuccino blends milk and espresso.
Next, I headed through security (this is allowed even though I was traveling out of Terminal 1…I was honest and just said I wanted to get some coffee) to Kofe.
Kofe powered by Intelligentsia
ORD Terminal 5 (International) – Airside near gate M8 / Post-Security
Chicago, Illinois 60666
Open 24 Hours
If you read the Kofe O’Hare reviews on Yelp, they are simply terrible. Terrible. But I also know that Intelligentsia coffee tastes nothing like Starbucks. Some people love it (me). Some people hate it (my wife). So I had a good feeling early on that this would be great coffee.
The service was not great, much like Yelp warned. Unlike the friendly baristas you can find at Intelligentsia’s own coffee shops, this was a worker who clearly did not want to be there. She just stood there and stared at me when I approached the counter. No greeting at all. When I ordered a cappuccino, she simply said, “Large or small” which threw me for a loop because the posted menu listed only one size. I ordered a large one.
I was a bit worried to see an automatic machine, but the barista foamed the milk herself using a steaming wand and a few moments later, presented the drink to me.
It was not up to Intelligentsia standards in terms of blending, but it was clearly the Black Cat espresso that I adore. In that sense, it was comforting to know that an automatic machine cannot mess up great coffee.
I’d rate the coffee at Kofe better than the coffee at The Goddess and Grocer. But both were very good and far better alternatives to the Starbucks that litter Terminals 1-3. If you have time before your flight and want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, check out either café.
What is your favorite coffee shop in Chicago O’Hare Airport?
Appreciate this very much! ORD is my connection airport and as you know Intelligentsia is a local Chicago roaster. I do like it, but the beans are indeed expensive. A learning point for me was you can access the airside of T5 with another terminal boarding pass. I admit to hitting the various Starbuck while marching my way through ORD. Although I do like the illy Coffee served at the Polaris Lounge, that is when it open, I have access and you can convince the bartender to make you an expresso.
Question: is the train running to/from T5? While I love the coffee, not sure I would schlep over on the bus.
Good question. The train is still not operational.
Back in 2015 I flew UA ORD-HKG (I miss this UA route although CX wins @ ORD easily IMO). Prior to my flight I had a cappuccino at Tocco. I haven’t given it much thought since then but reading your article reminded me of better travel times. Upon looking that restaurant up it appears they no longer serve coffee (but still on the menu??) — I look forward to trying to find quality coffee at DEN in mid December on my way to MUC.
I’ll have an extended layover here in February, but my greatest hope is for Tortas Frontera to reopen in the United terminal!
Indeed! Sadly, still closed in both UA and AA terminals.
It is sincerely hoped that owners will not use COVID as the pretence for foisting these ghastly take-away cups on us permanently. One can imagine it’s a cheaper option than real cups.
Same cup policy in Australia right now or are they still using real cups?
I’m not sure. I’ve been doing only takeaway for 6 months. Previously I would sit down and read the papers for an hour, over 2 coffees, or chat with a friend. Now I don’t do that as they’re restricted by social distancing requirements in respect of the number of guests on the premises: so I don’t want to take space for $10-15 that could earn them $50 or more through people eating. In any case it’s been closed for ‘dine-in’ for most of the last 6 months.
Terminal 5 at ORD is a complete disaster. Once a gem, it has fallen into shambles and quite disappointing from an amenity standpoint, especially if you have a late-night flight (after 8pm) out of there. Southwest will be flying from there next year, and I just don’t know how they’ll fit in an already congested terminal – especially with their volume of pax. It’s a mess and to be avoided at all costs. Just my 2-cents.
‘The Goddess &’ has a bunch of locations downtown.
so sad we cannot get real cups and dishes even tho the virus is killed via the dishwasher temperature..till cheaper for all of the service industry to just dump the food on plastc or cardboard!!!