Oh, there’s something about the gray skies and rain that invariably bring me back to Seattle. Although the Emerald City isn’t always so moody, much of the year does indeed sprinkle rain and boast soft, overcast days. So when Dallas gives me a hint of home, I’m reminded of Seattle’s other staple: coffee.
More often than not, I am a drip or pour-over kind of gal. A nice cortado is about as fancy as I tend to get. And when I really need a pick-me-up, I’ll order both: oat milk cortado with a drip coffee chaser, bonus points if it’s a floral- or citrus-tinged light roast. When, or if, I’m feeling more adventurous, I let the barista tell me what to order. Here’s where to find a few hot drinks that you don’t see on every cafe menu.
The Dallas coffee chainlet (with a newly minted outpost in Raleigh, by the way) has a seasonally rotating menu of drinks to match the weather. In spring or summer, iced espresso tonics with house-made juniper syrup is my personal go-to. During the colder months, however, I’ve been sipping on senior coffee manager Jeremiah Jensen’s creation: the Joy Luck Club latte. Szechuan peppercorn, honey, and mocha combine to make a not-too-sweet latte with a gentle kick of spice. The last step—a good spritz of orange blossom water—adds lovely aromatics. The typical tingling affects of the pepper will linger as you sip this latte.
At this Oak Cliff coffehouse, both the cafe de olla and cajeta macchiato pay homage to Mexico’s coffee drinking culture. The former is comprised of house-brewed coffee (a small farm-sourced bean from Mexico, roasted fresh in Dallas) that’s infused with spice and piloncillo. The latter uses caramelized goat’s milk to sweeten espresso and a spot of milk. Come for the single-origin coffee, stay for the chilaquiles and coffee cocktails at brunch. This cafe is small but mighty in its offerings and flavors.
Those susceptible to early childhood nostalgia—I’m talking Saturday morning cartoons with a trusty bowl of cereal—would appreciate this Oak Cliff shop’s honeycomb latte. It’s like drinking a caffeinated version of Honey Comb cereal (honey-vanilla latte with honeycomb topping), and it’ll have you crying, “Me want honeycomb!” just like whatever that marsupial mascot said in those cereal commercials in the ’90s.
In the Bishop Arts District, the barista-whizzes behind the bar aren’t afraid to have a little fun. Case in point: Everything Nice. They take fresh-brewed Novel Coffee Roasters and sweeten it with scratch-made bourbon-pecan syrup, add hand-shaken whipped cream plus a little nutmeg. You will enter cozy mode instantly.
If you really want to try something you don’t often see elsewhere, order the bicerin. It means “little cup” in Piedmont dialect (deriving from the more standard Italian word for cup, bicchiere, for any linguistic nerds out there) and consists of a rich, not-too-sweet chocolate melted under hot espresso and topped with a little whipped cream. It’s bliss in a little cup.