Everyone has their daily coffee or tea rituals. It’s easy to cling to these soothing habits like a baby clutching her favorite leaky sippy cup. As the weather heats up, however, it can feel nice to shed old routines by adding new flavors, colors and ice to your drink order.
For several years, Thatcher’s Coffee (104 Grand Blvd., Suite 100; 360-258-0571) has offered Vanilla Rose Lattes in the spring and summer. To make this drink, vanilla syrup is infused with organic rose petals. The syrup adds a slight floral flavor and pink tinge to this espresso-based drink.
The drink is finished with a sprinkle of crushed dried rose petals on top, giving the drinker a whiff of flowers before taking that first sip.
“People are intrigued with the rose flavor, but sometimes unsure,” said Thatcher’s owner Jamie Erdman.
It’s more common in Vancouver to see the chocolate notes in coffee accentuated, but coffee also has floral notes. The hint of rose and the flowery fragrance of the ground petals sprinkled on top are well balanced with the espresso in this rose-colored latte.
A dash of spice
The Great North (602 N. Devine Road; 360-217-9005) offers a horchata cold brew. For this drink, cold brew concentrate is added to horchata that’s housemade with rice, cinnamon, almonds, vanilla, star anise and demerara sugar. It’s a nice mix of bitter and creamy, with a dash of spice from the cinnamon and star anise, and just a bit of sweetness from the sugar and vanilla.
Star anise is an unusual addition to horchata.
“We started with just sweetening with our housemade simple syrup, but I thought it needed just a little something more to add some depth to the drink,” said Dayna Salomón, Great North’s manager. “We always like to keep things in house, so I looked at our lineup of syrups to see if we could use something we already had on hand that could add some dimension. A touch of our housemade star anise syrup provided the perfect complement to the existing recipe.”
After developing the horchata, Salomón found that mixing it with a concentrate of Coava cold brew made the drink really shine.
Compass Coffee (817 Washington St.; 888-723-2007) recently released a summer drink menu with three new iced beverages. The Easy Breezy is an iced Americano topped with a cloud of sweet and salty foam. The foam is made by whipping heavy cream, whole milk and Compass’ own vanilla syrup sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. The result is an irresistible mix of sweet and salty — a coffee shop version of a chocolate-covered pretzel filled with caramel.
Andrew Chumbley, Compass’ specialty program director, creates all the seasonal beverages. The Easy Breezy is based on a drink he had at Maru Coffee in Los Angeles. When he returned home from that trip, he experimented with different ingredients to recreate the slightly sweet foam that inspired the Easy Breezy. After a few attempts, Chumbley struck the right mix of ingredients.
Many other places add foam to cold brew, but Chumbley wanted to layer it on top of an Americano because it has a richer coffee flavor than cold brew and amply counters the heavy presence of the sweet foam on top. He recommends giving the drink a few good swirls before sipping.
The current list of summer drinks will remain on the menu at Compass until Sept. 1, but Chumbley intends to add a few surprise drinks over the summer using produce and flowers from the Vancouver Farmers Market. He will post information about the drinks and when they will be available on Compass Coffee’s Instagram site (@compasscoffee).
For Pride Month, Dandelion Teahouse (109 W. Seventh St.; 360-718-7642) added a special line of rainbow-colored teas. The most striking is blue tea made with butterfly pea tea and lemon juice. The tea gets its sapphire color from dried butterfly pea flowers. Adding lemon juice turns the drink purple and adds flavor; without it, butterfly pea tea has a vegetable-like taste. This drink and the other colored drinks, including the popular orange drink made with iced orange passion fruit jasmine tea, will remain on the menu after Pride Month (aka June).
Tea drinks at Dandelion don’t come sweetened so that customers can taste the subtle flavors of the tea. Sweetener is available and added to whatever level the customer desires.
Sharetea (7902 N.E. Sixth Ave.; 360-719-2302) has a number of refreshing iced drinks all year long. Signature mojitos (lime, mango, peach or strawberry) provide a nice respite on a hot summer day. This summer, my favorite is Sharetea’s Hawaii Fruit Tea with Aiyu Jelly. It’s made with green tea, orange syrup and grapefruit.
The pieces of grapefruit at the bottom, along with the aiyu jelly, add nice texture to this citrusy drink. The aiyu comes in thick, long strands that swirl around in the drink and slide on the tongue. Aiyu jelly is made from the seeds of the creeping fig plant. These seeds contain pectin, which creates a gel when submerged in cold water, pressed and rubbed.
Hopefully, this list whets your curiosity and encourages you to try some of the new concoctions that local businesses are pouring over ice this summer.