Oromo Cafe – Chicago, Illinois

Written By: author image Simon Ritchie
author image Simon Ritchie

Today the CoffeeOtter team is in Chicago, Illinois to meet Cenk Duman of Oromo Cafe.

We chat about how he went from working in Starbucks to setting up his own independent coffee shop, his love for traditional Turkish coffee, and why Ethiopia is a dream destination to visit one day.


Cenk, tell us more about yourself and your journey in coffee

I’m the co-founder and VP of Oromo Cafe, working alongside my father Ed, the other co-founder and President of Oromo Cafe. At 18 years old I got a job at Starbucks, which I excelled in.

After I turned 21 I got a serving job in which I excelled as well. It only made sense to start our own business, as the money my dad promised to spend on College was instead spent on starting up Oromo Cafe in 2017.

Oromo Cafe Chicago coffee

So Oromo Cafe – what’s your place like?

We’re based in Lincoln Square, Chicago, and have a franchise location in Bucktown. Our experience brings Culture Conscious Coffee through authentic Turkish coffee made in hot sand, and drinks inspired from all over the world, all meshed together with organic milk, nuts, and superfoods.

Our goal is to make everybody who walks in the doors feel loved and welcome, and I think our success thus far proves that we are succeeding in doing that exactly!

You love making Turkish Coffee…how do you make the perfect cup?

Turkish Coffee is so easy to make at home, but to learn all our secrets, you’ll have to join us at one of our in-store Turkish Coffee seminars which we host every few months.

Oromo Cafe Chicago green coffee

How do you make great coffee at home?

To be quite honest, I brew instant coffee at home! I live only 5 minutes away from my shop, so if I really need a quick pick me up, I just need to boil some hot water.

Making Turkish coffee is the perfect easy at-home method, as all you need is a Cezve (Jez-Veh), or a Turkish coffee pot, and some Turkish coffee (which is the finest ground coffee of them all!).

What other Chicago coffee shops are worth a visit beyond Oromo Cafe?

I would recommend going to our Bucktown location, as it’s a great way to experience Oromo Cafe in a different space!

Oromo Cafe Chicago, Red coffee

What’s the best coffee shop you’ve ever visited?

I went to a small coffee shop in Istanbul a few years ago which happened to be set up in a big market area by the Blue Mosque. It was a big ornate copper coffee cart with hot sand in the middle, some decorative stools and low tables, and the best melt-in-your-mouth Turkish delight I’ve ever had. It was an amazing experience and I haven’t been able to find that shop again since!

Which coffee shops worldwide are on your bucket list?

I’d love to experience coffee culture in Ethiopia, as our name Oromo Cafe pays homage to the birthplace of coffee; Oromia.

Oromo Cafe Chicago Cenk Duman

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our CoffeeOtter readers?

The best part about selling coffee is having the opportunity to have an impact on hundreds of people every day. Using that experience of ordering your coffee at the register is a perfect time to make someone’s day. That’s the most rewarding part of it all.

Where can people find Oromo Cafe?

We’re at 4703 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Thanks so much, Cenk. We can’t wait to visit you at Oromo Cafe again soon!

author avatar
Simon Ritchie Editor