this kid, he gets it

This weekend I had a coffee from a café I hadn’t tried before. Some of the staff looked pretty young. I would think the guy who took my order and made my drink wasn’t older than 15 or 16.

He seemed quite serious and deliberate as he went about his business. When he was done he paused for a second, then grabbed his phone to take a picture of the drink. Very endearing.

This is the finished product:

It tasted pretty good, too!

Well done, young man. May you have a long and joyful barista journey ahead of you.

another something special

I was in line at The Coffee Bar in DC today when I noticed a new addition to the signature drinks menu on the board. And the drink was boosted by the fun letter board.

Now is the point at which I admit I snuck a look at my phone to figure out what yuzu is. Finding it to be a citrus fruit with a tart and sour taste and a touch of sweetness, I figured I’d continue expanding my horizons at least be able to get a post out of the experience, and ordered one.

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let’s try something special for a change

It’s not hard to find unique coffee beverages, most every café comes up with hot and cold drinks matching coffee with various flavors. I’ve never been one to get flavored syrup in my drinks, and other than the capuorange, I usually give the special creations a pass in favor of old reliables.

I stopped by The Coffee Bar‘s Shaw location recently, and while waiting for my turn at the register took a gander at the menu board.

Hey, look, signature drinks.

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ice ice baby

I stopped by D’Light Café this week for another capuorange. Since it was a warm day I tried it iced. Still an odd concoction, different this time not just for the temp but also because the OJ wasn’t steamed. Probably not for everyone but I liked it. Next time I’ll ask for a smaller size as it was a lot of orange juice for one serving.

slava Ukraini!

well that’s a first

My drink of choice is a bit of a bastardization of a standard beverage, so it’s not unusual to find myself in a detailed conversation with the person at the register and/or the barista of what it is I’m looking for. How that plays out is often a good clue of where to set my expectations on a first-time visit to a cafe.

Sometimes the drink I end up with shows that I probably wasn’t clear enough. Phrases like “traditional macchiato,” “a little bit of milk,” and “not too much foam” can mean very different things to different people.

Today I visited a cafe I’ve been to before, and my request for a “macchiato with an extra double shot” didn’t phase the barista.

I was given something that I haven’t ended up with before:

bottom to top: macchiato; ‘extra’ double shot of espresso

Game changer

Sorry I’ve been silent for so long. No special reason, just been busy.

On a recent trip to Oregon I was visiting one of Coava Coffee‘s Portland cafés, and while waiting for my drink I noticed a display of instant coffee. I’ve been aware of the effort the last few years to make high quality coffee available in instant form, but hadn’t tried it yet. Probably too biased against freeze dried coffee, including memories of having Nescafé as the only option far too often. Figured I’d give it a try, so I grabbed a box.

Verdict: spectacular. Coava and their partner Swift Cup Coffee have managed to keep the great flavor you expect from craft coffee. It’s also the easiest way to get your fix, even more so than the single serve coffee bags from Counter Culture and others – no need for steeping time, no bag to dispose of. A real game changer if, like me, you don’t have many (or any) good coffee options near work. They also make decaf offerings, for all you latent Sanka fans out there.

Swift Cup, from Lancaster, PA, produces instant coffee for a number of specialty roasters in addition to Coava, including their own label. So if you see instant from a roaster you trust, shake off any freeze dried crystals prejudices and give it a try. You can also buy Coava’s instant from their website, sold in boxes of six for $16-$17, or in bulk pouches which deliver 25 servings for around $40.

Capuorange, the Update

Following up on my recent report about finding a unique beverage combining orange juice and espresso, I returned to D Light Café and ordered another Capuorange, this time to go. Being able to linger at the counter gave me a line of sight to how the drink is made.

The barista made a shot of espresso, poured it into a cup…… and then poured orange juice into a milk pitcher and steamed it with the espresso machine’s steam wand. Once the o.j. was hot and frothy, it was poured into the espresso. The ratio looked to be something like 10:1 juice to coffee.

Now things made a little more sense. Cuporange as in a cappuccino, with the milk replaced by orange juice. I hadn’t thought things through and assumed the juice was warmed on a cooktop or in a microwave. And I hadn’t realized just how much more juice there was than espresso.

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stepping outside the comfort zone

We went out for brunch this morning to D Light Café and Bakery, a new place we had read about which looked promising. It was indeed a delight (no pun intended), everything was delicious and the owners and their staff couldn’t have been nicer.

This bit in the article caught my eye:

And then there’s the Capuorange, a double shot of espresso mixed with orange juice. “It sounds strange,” admits Vira, who says the unusual wake-up concoction has earned a dedicated following.

Well that’s…. different. Sounded like it could be really interesting, really disgusting, or anywhere in between. The description brought back an unhappy childhood memory of the time I got the brilliant idea that if my orange juice and my bowl of Cheerios each tasted good, they would taste even better together! Spoiler: they did not. At all.

Past experience be damned, I figured I had to find out how this combination tasted.

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