Coffee & Tea

8 Creative Ways to Caffeinate with Local Concoctions

Switch up your daily coffee routine.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton

A refreshing coffee soda from Cafe Zamora.

Let’s face it: sometimes we get tired of our own cooking, and our own coffee-making is no different. But with ingredients ranging from salted coconut cream to housemade caramel with cordyceps mushrooms, these out-of-the-ordinary coffee drinks offer a welcome break during a day of working from home, or a rejuvenating start to a weekend morning.  

1. Coffee Soda at Cafe Zamora

Owner Hector Mejia Zamora of Cafe Zamora pours a frothy coffee soda.

If you thought cold brew was refreshing, try this: a shot of espresso made using dark roasted coffee from owner Hector Zamora's family farm in Guatemala, made bubbly with a generous amount of Topo Chico. It's then sweetened with cane sugar, flavored with vanilla syrup, and topped with a float of cream. The result is reminiscent of an adult root beer float: creamy, effervescent, with a hint of floral flavor from the vanilla, all balanced with a full-bodied bitterness free coffee. 3713 SE Gladstone St, 

2. Carmela Soprano Latte at Best Friend Cafe & Juice Bar

This Sopranos-inspired latte combines espresso, housemade coconut sugar caramel, your choice of almond, hemp, coconut, or housemade oat milk, and ... cordyceps mushrooms? Yup. Pretty much everything on the menu at Best Friend has some kind of superfood in it, and this latte is no exception. “Cordyceps mushrooms are good for increasing energy, managing stress (all mushrooms are adaptogens) and supporting and boosting your immune system,” says owner Margaux Muller. Things we could use in our lives right now. 2832 SE Gladstone St,

3. True Mexican Mocha at La Perlita

La Perlita's signature drink is made with espresso pulled from Mexican coffee beans, then jazzed up with quality chocolate, and sprinkled with cacao nibs and a dusting of freeze-dried raspberries for color. Cafe de olla syrup, made with orange peel, cinnamon, and star anise, flavors the drink with warm, fragrant spices. 721 NW 9th Ave. 

4. Salted Coconut Vietnamese Iced Coffee at Berlu Bakery 

By now, you’ve probably heard about the pandan honeycomb cake at Berlu Bakery, but have you heard about the sleeper hit, the Vietnamese iced coffee? This drink subs out the typical sweetened condensed milk for coconut cream, which is slightly more salty than sweet. It’s surprisingly refreshing, and pairs well with the bakery’s not-too-sweet desserts. 605 SE Belmont St., 

5. Custom Sneaker Latte at Deadstock Coffee 

There’s no drink menu on display at Deadstock Coffee, but talk to the baristas and get a custom latte of your liking, or get one of the signature drinks like the Lebronald Palmer (a blend of coffee, sweet tea, and lemonade), the Steph Curry (a triple shot white chocolate mocha), or the smooth and seductive Luther Vandross lavender mocha. No matter which drink you choose, you can get it topped with one of the sneaker-themed shop’s dozens of sneaker stencils—mostly Nikes and Jordans, with the occasional Reebok or Adidas thrown in. If you’re lucky, there might even be a stencil that matches your shoes. 408 NW Couch St., 

6. Kedai Susu at Kopi Coffee 

Also known as the “lemongrass latte,” this drink is made with two freshly pulled shots of the shop’s own Matahari espresso, a custom blend of beans from Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. It’s topped with the milk of your choice and flavored with housemade sweetened condensed coconut milk, infused with fragrant lemongrass and lime leaves. 2327 E Burnside St,

7. Midnight Oil at Never Coffee

Why eat your licorice when you could drink it instead? The first of Never Coffee’s signature lattes, the Midnight Oil was inspired by Scandinavian licorice, made with sweet fennel seeds, star anise, and black licorice. 4243 SE Belmont St and 537 SW 12th Ave,

8. Egyptian Coffee at Tōv 

There are creative lattes galore at this Egyptian coffee shop housed in a double-decker bus, ranging from the signature Mint Thing (a blend of cold brew and mint that’s also available canned) to the Winey Mocha (a mocha with a hint of wine). But if you feel like sitting at one of the bus’s socially distanced outdoor tables, you can try the for-here only Egyptian coffee: finely ground coffee brewed in a kanaka with a hint of cardamom, unfiltered and always served without milk. Adding sugar, however, is permitted. Best of all, it comes with a piece of baklava made by owner Joe Nazir’s mother. 3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd,

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