Farooq’s coffee adventures: Café Integral
19 E. Ohio St.
The ambiance of Café Integral reminds me of one thing: smooth jazz. I don’t really know how else to put it. It’s nestled in the Freehand Hotel, so it doesn’t offer your traditional coffee shop seating. Rather, dark leather couches, elegant and bold wooden tables and benches, fluffy pillows, shaded lamps, and a feeling of warmth and comfort. It’s got a lot of one-on-one seating arrangements that provide the perfect space to catch up with someone and facilitate some great conversation. As it’s a part of the Freehand Hotel, the seating abundant but a little spaced out. The more you explore, the more you’ll find.
Café Inegral serves some incredibly smooth, bold and rich coffee from Nicaragua that leans a little more on the medium roast side; not too light so you don’t have that tangy aftertaste from the acidity, but not bold so there’s no bitter aftershock when you take a sip. You can taste the quality of the beans, and that quality is reflected in the lattes, espressos and more.
I didn’t get a chance to check out the food while I was here so I won’t review what they have to eat, but from the looks of what people were ordering, it looked pretty solid.
Café Integral is like smooth jazz in the form of a coffee shop. The entire space is set up to make you feel warm and classy. It’s a few minutes from the Magnificent Mile, so it’s a nice stop when you’re out shopping or exploring downtown, especially when this cold weather begins to hit us hard.
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Farooq Chaudhry is a junior studying sociology and economics. He’s interested in social issues, basketball, and religion. In his free time he loves to read, visit coffee shops, and spend time with his cat, Simba. He hopes to one day work in urban economic development or public policy in Chicago.