Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, November 29

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Drink Mon Apr 13 2009

Big Vision, Cozy Coffee Shop

Ipsento is a quality coffee shop. That is their goal. That is what they effuse. I stopped into Ipsento on a rainy night with my friend Leah. I had come here once before last summer and had a pleasant enough experience. But after reading on their website that ownership has changed as of April 4th and they intend to give all profits back to the community, I was intrigued.

This living room-esque coffee shop is soul stroking. The d├ęcor is mostly found and second-hand objects giving the small space a feeling of familiarity. When you walk in the front door you are greeted with a coffee-roasting machine. That is because the new owners, the Coffee Ambassadors, are a direct-trade coffee roaster, which is actually a step above fair trade coffee. After talking with the barista I learned that their vision goes far beyond just supplying direct trade coffee to Bucktown residents. They want to be a place of community, sustainability and mutual learning. The vision is formidable. But some may argue that a vision is not enough. To that I say, have their soy chai latte! This chai latte is by far the best I've had in Chicago. I rejoiced after the first sip, literally yelling about how wonderful it was across the quaint coffee shop to the next customer at the counter. My friend had a sip and concurred that there was something unique in my mug. Soon after, I realized it tasted like a cup of campfire and all the good sentiments that go along with a campfire. It was one of those drinks that after the second sip I was already sad thinking about the last.

Currently, Ipsento is in its budding elementary stages. Run by a group of young people they welcome the input of community members. This place breathes creativity, tasty flavors and community engagement. Come spring, they hope to be serving mostly local foods from farmer's markets. Stay tuned. I believe this is the beginning of something beautiful.

Ipsento Coffee House, 2035 N. Western Ave., 773.517.4123

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Dave / April 26, 2009 9:21 AM

Thank you for this review. It's exciting to see other people grasp our vision for quality and ethical business practices.

J Taylor / September 30, 2010 4:10 PM

Hey, we've updated quite a bit since the original review. Come on by sometime and check out the expansion. Cheers!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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