Coffee, 98.75 percent water and only 1.25 percent coffee bean particles that dissolve in water while brewing. So why does it taste so different when you brew it at home versus getting it at a coffee shop? What about the difference between good shops and bad? Simply put, science. Brewing quality coffee is a delicate process. Good coffee is dependent on three things: the bean, the roast, and the brew. This week, I gave Elmhurst’s newest coffee shop a shot. Gloria Jeans is now located where Elijah’s used to be, on 1st street. The interior of the shop was honestly a disappointment, almost identical to Elijah’s. The store got a minor renovation which is too bad. I always enjoy seeing what new ownership can bring to both the aesthetics and coffee quality.
The cup of coffee I had was just alright. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it wasn’t the worst, and it was expensive. When trying out new coffee shops, I almost always order a medium latte. I do this because it is what I order most often and allows me to get a good idea of the quality of the product compared to other shops.
When we start masking coffee with syrups, caramels, and mochas, we are hiding the beautiful natural flavor of the coffee. The latte itself seemed to be made correctly, two shots of espresso, mostly milk, and a creamy foam head. However, it seemed bland. The latte itself tasted solely of milk when I was really looking for the coffee flavor to shine.
The saving grace of the latte was how caffeinated it seemed to be. Although this leads me to believe that Gloria Jean’s might be using cheap beans. Typically Robusta coffees are lower in quality, taste, and price, but much higher in caffeine content. This is the hallmark move of a coffee shop that cares mostly about their profit margin.
All in all, I give Gloria Jean’s a solid C. The shop itself is a reminder of the loss of Elijah’s, the coffee left much to be desired, and I was the only customer in the shop. The sole employee did not know what to recommend me because he hadn’t tried most of the menu, but I was able to get my caffeine fix. The recipe for a good cup of coffee: fresh Arabica beans, a good roast, and a proper brew.