Chicago coffee connoisseurs now have a new place to congregate in Wicker Park. Buzz: Killer Espresso, which opened January 13, 2010 at 1644 N. Damen Avenue, is the latest entry into the city’s up-and-coming coffee culture.
Owned by brothers Stefan and Julian Hersh, who are also professional musicians and the owners of Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins in Chicago, Buzz: Killer Espresso is run by managing partner Agnes Otworowski and barista trainer extraordinaire James Liu (formerly of Intelligentsia, and having worked guest stints in the kitchens of Blackbird, Avec, Green Zebra and Le Colonial). The binding force between the partners in Buzz: Killer Espresso is a lifelong passion for excellence in coffee.
Each cup, from carefully crafted espresso drinks to drip coffee and teas, is individualized and served with precision at Buzz: Killer Espresso. The cafe features small-batch, single-origin beans on a rotating guest basis from artisan roasters from across the country, including the house roast MadCap Coffee, a hot, new direct-sourcing micro-roaster from Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is the Buzz mission to continue to elevate coffee to the culinary status of specialty cheeses, microbrewed beers and fine wines.
A top-flight team of baristas, who craft beverages with the reverence of fine musicians creating stunning performances of masterworks, is essential to the Buzz operation. The baristas specialize in “latte art,” summoning everything from sweet hearts to stunning swirls out of nothing but froth. Buzz: Killer Espresso will quickly become an important part of Chicago’s coffee community by hosting regular barista challenges, in which experienced coffee slingers compete for top latte art honors. Buzz will also welcome guest roasters, coffee and tea tastings and educational classes in the near future.
The menu at Buzz: Killer Espresso offers espresso drinks such as macchiato, cappuccino, Americano, latte and mocha ($2.50-$4), as well as drip coffee (market price), hot chocolate and chai ($3.25-$3.50), and organic, fair-trade teas from Milwaukee-based company Rishi Tea ($2.50). The teas served at Buzz, including botanicals, black, green, white, rooibos and pu-erh teas, are each served according to their optimal temperature. Housemade chocolate, vanilla and caramel syrups are used in the luscious lattes, and pastries come courtesy of the renowned La Farine Bakery located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.
The laid-back, eccentric atmosphere at Buzz fits its artsy Wicker Park neighborhood. The cafe hums with hip indie music and is decorated with photos of favorite coffee shops from across the globe. An eclectic collection of old radios fills the cafe’s comfortable back room.
Free WiFi is offered for guests for the first 30-minutes, with a nominal fee thereafter. A sidewalk cafe will be available seasonally.
Buzz: Killer Espresso is open weekdays 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. To find out what the specialty brews are each day, become a fan of Buzz: Killer Espresso on Facebook.
Buzz: Killer Espresso
1644 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
Coming soon: www.buzzkillerespresso.com