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?