Town Crier intern Shiva Zokaei has a background as a barista, and you may have seen her coffee slinging or sipping around town. Below she describes four specialty drinks to seek out this summer – three of which you can order in downtown Los Altos and one worth asking for from your favorite barista.
Affogato: Espresso with substance
An affogato is an ice-cream-based espresso drink that introduces notes of nuttiness and vanilla as it melds with the creamy bitterness of an espresso shot. This dessert drink is an essential culmination to a downtown stroll, before you affogato go!
Order the affogato from Red Berry Coffee Bar for Dad to impress him with your exquisite taste – the Italian coffee-based dessert is for coffee lovers in search of a new take on familiar flavors. Red Berry offers a unique approach to the affogato by incorporating pecans, which give the dessert/drink a sense of depth while filling you up with savory substance.
If you’re looking for a luxuriously creamy dessert that is sweet and smooth on the tongue but also leaves you feeling fulfilled and satisfied, Red Berry’s affogato is the drink for you.
London Fog: Secret menu
Searching for a coffee-like cup of joy without the joe? Look no further than the London Fog. Often omitted from menus, this secret order is a common barista favorite.
The Earl Grey tea-based cafe au lait resembles a latte without the strong coffee flavor, and you get that long-lasting caffeine boost without the coffee jitters. A cafe au lait traditionally combines hot, black coffee with steamed milk, providing a headier caffeine dose than the espresso shot traditionally used in lattes. The Earl Grey black tea used in the London Fog gives a lighter flavor without being overpoweringly bitter.
The London Fog is the ideal option for coffee lovers looking to wean themselves off of caffeine in a nonrestricting way. For a light wash of flavor in latte form, head to your favorite local coffee shop and ask if they’ll make you a treat.
Cold brew: Boba-style flavors
If you have a love affair with salted brown sugar milk tea and you’re looking for a kick-start to your day, Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew is the cup for you.
The flavored cold brew is the perfect way to satisfy midday office sugar cravings, with enough caffeine to outlast any subsequent crash. A cold brew also outlasts a latte when it comes to staying alert through the afternoon hours after you’ve finished your drink.
Starbucks’ salted caramel variation makes me think of chocolate caramel candies – it balances savory and sweet flavors for a mature effect. It has been one of my pre-gym favorites this summer, and I look forward to seeing similar drinks, like a Salted Dark Chocolate Mocha, from Starbucks in the future.
Black Tie: Heat quencher
If you’ve been on the hunt for a heat-beating cup of coffee, look no further than Peet’s Coffee’s Black Tie.
This iced cold brew derives from Peet’s Baridi Blend, an aromatic mix of beans that brew a bold and juicy body with thirst-quenching traits. Originally harvested in East Africa, the beans offer a neutral flavor that avoids the sourness of lighter blends and the saccharinity of darker blends while offering a competitive level of caffeine.
The Baridi Blend features notes of citrus flower, blackberry syrup and cocoa finish. Served as a Black Tie, the cold brew version also includes a hint of chicory, offering a sense of sweetness with a hazelnut-like depth. The drizzle of condensed milk adds that brighter, sweeter flavor. You can opt out of the float of half-and-half that is mixed into the cold brew blend if you want to really taste the coffee – customize at will.
A Black Tie particularly complements a dog-walking adventure at the park to escape the summer heat. I learned to make it as a barista at downtown Los Altos’ Peet’s location, and it’s been my go-to for years.
Email coffee questions, suggestions and requests for future column topics to Zokaei at firstname.lastname@example.org.