Rating cafes around LFA


Photo by Jessie Ji

Two employees are chatting as they make coffee at Hansas Café.

Esti Rosenblatt and Jesse Ji, Photo Editors

Tala Coffee

The sweet smell of cinnamon will drive you to make the fifteenth trip from LFA to Tala Coffee, which transformed from a Highwood’s old fire station into a modern and trendy space for social and study hours as well as the quick pick-up of drinks and treats. Tala’s interior is minimalistic with exposed brick, large potted plants, wood tables, and steel chairs. With a hot, appetizing drink in hands, homework on the table, and soft-indie music playing, Tala Coffee is a very cozy space. 

Tala’s drinks are just as nice and “put together” as their environment. Served in huge white mugs, their coffees are strong, chais are rich, and their lattes are doused in specialty syrups: lavender, bourbon vanilla, caramel, and honey. You will be compelled to take home a brew or syrup if not a “Tala” sweatshirt, water bottle, or coffee cup.

Tala’s price-point matches that of any posh cafe in the area. $3.00 for an espresso or a hot chocolate, and $4.00 for a latte, matcha, or pour over. 

Tala becomes a cozy getaway especially in the upcoming winter months. 



The Hometown Coffee rave has expanded beyond Glencoe, to Winnetka and soon  Lake Forest. 

Hometown is the brunch destination for North Shore families and friends on the weekend. Hometown Coffee has everything from bagels, lox, and hot coffees to amazing harvest kale salads and daily-mix smoothies. An afterschool trip to Glencoe and back seems like a lot, but for those living south of the Academy, Hometown Coffee is a great pitstop on your way home. Their food is great and the space is nice but in terms of working environment, Hometown tends to be busy, louder and more socially oriented than other coffee shops. 

Hometown Coffee might not be the perfect place for quiet studying, but is a great shop when looking for a fun environment with great food.


Madame Zuzu’s

             Madame Zuzu’s is a unique, plant-based tea shop in Highland Park, whose owner, Billy Corgan, is a musician and the founder of band The Smashing Pumpkins. It is not surprising that he incorporated music as a big factor to the environment: walls lined with art by world class photographers and filled with retro photos and records, adding a special individuality to the shop. Artsiness is presented persistently in this shop with a stage provided for local musicians and bands to perform every Sunday night. 

       In terms of food and drinks, the menu changes every six weeks with updates. Some of their best dishes include their Meatball Sub sandwich, Nancy Avocado toast, and Niçoise Salad. 

      Madame Zuzu’s greatly expands the concept of traditional coffee shops to a place where people can freely explore anything—a side-shop of a variety of items such as classic corded telephone, vinyl records, vintage photographs, and holiday-themed mugs; fun activities such as photo booth rental, card games, and chess sets offered to customers—coffee is no longer everything of this shop but a part that fills Madame Zuzu’s a distinctive place with art, relaxation, and high productivity. 


Hansas Lake Bluff

Hansas Coffee Roasters, a cozy coffee shop in Lake Bluff, has a special emphasis on its classic and original coffee and a knitted tie with the local art donation. 

As a roaster, it pursues the taste of classic coffee with seasonal specials every few months. Right now, Blueberry Muffin Latte is a winter season specialty coffee. 

Entering Hansas, its inner wooden walls, shelves, and tables make this place nice, tranquil, and private. Compared to other coffee shops, Hansas’s slightly later closing hours—6 p.m. every day—allows people to relax and hang out after work or school. 

A sense of community is also a feature of Hansas. It cooperates with art donation organizations by presenting works of local artists on its wall surrounding the coffee shop. Currently, there is a wall exhibiting students; photography artworks featuring the Chicago Botanic Garden from a nearby high school