10 Coolest Coffee Drinks (and Where to Find Them)
Coffee shops and upstarts are creating a whole new slew of innovative styles that are sure to change the way you look at your morning cup of joe. From cafes dispensing on-tap nitro to online companies shipping canisters of cold brew, these caffeine purveyors are on the cutting edge.
Coffee Kombucha at Revive Kombucha
Considering that kombucha is a fermented, slightly fizzy black or green tea (feverishly embraced in healthy lifestyle circles, thanks to its purported benefits to one's immune system and gut), you might be surprised to find it on a coffee-centric list. Yet Revive Kombucha is known for using organic, fair-trade and non-GMO-certified ingredients of all sorts in its line of bottled beverages such as the fruity and earthy Mocha Java blend, in which the beans prove compelling companions to live kombucha cultures.
Barrel-Aged and Hopped Coffee at Dark Matter
Coffee was historically transported overseas on ships, packed in old salt or pickle barrels. Savvy companies like Dark Matter are bringing the concept of barrel aging into the 21st century by storing small batches of beans in vessels from Knob Creek, Koval, Remy Martin and Goose Island, and allowing them to take on the flavor nuances of whiskey, bourbon, cognac and beer. Speaking of beer, the Chicago innovators are also applying that beverage's traditional brewing process to coffee, alternately inoculating fermentation tanks with saison yeast (which lends characteristics of bubblegum, banana or clove) and with Citra hops, adding a juicy, fruity quality to the beans.
Sparkling Coffee at Upruit
The genesis of Upruit was this question: What if coffee could be refreshing, and serve to hydrate and replenish? The result was canned cold brew that packs a beyond-caffeine kick — in the form of electrolytes and antioxidants — thanks to the addition of fresh fruit, spices and herbs. It comes in flavors such as Ginger Hibiscus, Mint Grapefruit and Meyer Lemonade.
Coffee Kegs at Joyride
Think about begging your boss to do away with the pedestrian 12-cup drip machine and invest in a coffee kegerator for the office instead. In addition to supplying high-end cafes throughout San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York, Joyride provides the same service for work spaces: cold-steeping fresh, locally roasted beans for 16 hours before sealing the smooth, chocolate-rich elixir into 20-liter kegs with a 90-day shelf life. You can even opt for draft lines filled with fizzy, foamy nitro, a cold brew infused with nitrogen gas for a taste that' s reminiscent of stout. Imagine the increase in workplace productivity when everybody is fueled by a potent caffeine boost!
Toddy at One More Cup
No, we're not advising you to jump-start your day with whiskey ... not that there's anything wrong with that. Toddy is the name of both a buyable brewing system and an extraction method in which cold water is used instead of hot, to produce slow-steeped, concentrated coffee that's approximately 60 to 70 percent less acidic than your average quick-and-dirty cup of joe. And while you can order your toddy straight at Kansas City's forward-thinking One More Cup, why not shake up your routine with the turbo-charged Cali-Cola instead? It's a shot of toddy cut with sugar-sweetened Mexican Coke and lightened with a hint of cream or vanilla simple syrup.
Cascara at 44 North Coffee
Possibly the hottest new option on the market for the sustainably minded set, cascara is the discarded outer husk of the coffee fruit, which has traditionally been harvested just for the beans. Yet when dried and pressed, the "cherry" also makes a tasty, antioxidant-rich libation that's essentially a caffeinated herbal tea with hibiscus, rosehip and tamarind notes. And while cascara served straight up can reliably be found on the menu at 44 North Coffee in Deer Isle, Maine, the women-owned cafe is serious about showcasing the diversity of the eco-friendly product, partnering with mixologists and kombucha makers to create a diverse roster of drinks.
Portable Pour-Over Vietnamese Coffee at Copper Cow
This certainly isn't your average instant coffee. The ingenious kits at Copper Cow consist of single-serving pour-over bags packed with grounds sourced from sustainable, organic farms in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Simply squeeze one over the included, sweetened condensed milk packets (free of artificial flavors or preservatives) and you've whipped up a Southeast Asian sipper in seconds in the comfort of your home — or, thanks to its consummate portability, just about anywhere else you can think of.
NOLA Coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee
You can inject a bit of French Quarter flair into your everyday routine, thanks to international success story Blue Bottle, which sells its New Orleans-style iced coffee (infused with bracingly bitter chicory root and blended with organic cane sugar) in adorable old-fashioned milk cartons. Just swap your morning doughnut, bagel or Danish for a beignet dusted with powdered sugar.
Cold-Brew Concentrate at Kohana Coffee
It's awesome enough that you can skip the cafe crush and get a cold-brew fix at home, thanks to this line of cans (in flavors such as Island Latte, Tahitian Vanilla and Volcanic Black) and organic concentrates (choose from Original, Toasted Coconut or French Roast). But what sets Kohana Coffee apart from the pack is that it's the only such company that procures its beans exclusively from female farmers. The beans are also cultivated, processed, and exported and imported by women. What's more, Kohana is committed to further supporting its supplier-partners by providing them with coffee seedlings and microfinancing, along with leadership training opportunities. We'll raise a cup to that.
Mushroom Coffee at Four Sigmatic
Many of us view coffee as a necessary evil, something we consume in order to start our mornings and maintain energy throughout the day. But when combined with highly functional mushrooms, it essentially qualifies as a drinkable superfood. Four Sigmatic is all about preaching the magic of medicinal mushrooms — such as nutrient-dense chaga, immune system-bolstering reishi, brain-activating lion's mane and heart-healthy cordyceps — that are combined with 100 percent Arabica beans in increments of 500 milligrams per serving. The coffee is sold in tins and in ready-to-brew packets for at-home use.