Let's face it, life without coffee is like a margarita without tequila. Plain. Boring. And absolutely unbearable.

I have devoted eight years of my life to the furthering of coffee throughout the world. Specifically Starbucks coffee. I was a brand loyalist for three years before becoming a barista at my local Starbucks. Fast forward to Spring 2014, I am finishing up three years of work with Starbucks and it is time for my first real-life, big-boy job. Hello Grainger. But what was I going to do about my addiction? It's foolish for me to try convincing you that after three years of working for Starbucks I didn't develop a dependency. I did. A very bad one. But at the end of the day, I didn't have the money. So, slowly but surely I began cutting coffee out of my life. Oh, the tragedy.

I vowed to myself that I would give up on coffee.

Enter: Hansa Coffee Roasters.

Hansa Coffee Roasters

Libertyville has been home to two different coffee shops for as long as I can remember - Starbucks and Caribou. Two large coffee chains have held a monopoly on suburbanite's caffeine intake. Until April 2013 when Hansa first opened its doors at 755 North Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville, IL. This coffee shop could not have come at a better time. With a rise is more specialty coffee roasters, Hansa has followed in the footsteps of Intelligentsia and Stumptown. People who live in the suburbs no longer have to go down into the city to experience "city coffee."

Hansa

The feel of the shop is very much West Coast - small, independent, focused on the product. That is what I found to be so refreshing about Hansa - they are a coffee shop and they don't try to do something else. They aren't playing with frozen blended beverages and endless amounts of pastries. They offer coffee and espresso beverages. When I look for a coffee shop, I want to be able to find a place where the people are passionate about what they do and the product that they serve to their customers. The times that I have been to Hansa (not enough in my opinion), I have no doubt that the owners and employees enjoy providing people with an amazing cup of coffee.

Hansa Interior

I cannot stress how amazing it is that I now live in the city for one reason and one reason only - Hansa would be taking all of my money out of my bank account. I am sorry Starbucks, but it's very difficult for me to say that your coffee is better than Hansa's, because it isn't. If I were still living in Libertyville, I can assure you that I would be a regular at Hansa.

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In writing this blog I have come up with a Hansa wish-list:

  1. Get a tour of their roasting facilities, learn a little more about the equipment and what goes into roasting a batch of coffee. Perhaps a follow-up blog post to follow?
  2. Learn how to make latte art (Starbucks - please step up your game and teach your baristas this trick).
  3. Their pour-overs have only furthered my want for a Chemex and a Buono Water Kettle.

Hansa Coffee Roasters = 9/10 SMAK Approval Points