As a girl who is relatively unadventurous with her morning caffeine, I often ignore anything that isn’t your basic latte. But, in the spirit of trying new things and stepping outside my usual coffee cup, I will embark on a perilous quest around UBC. I begin my skeptical journey by dipping my toe into the world of specialty drinks. Ode to the latte, a drink of unmatched simplicity and jiggly foam — how I will miss thee.
Loafe's London Fog
Loafe is packed, but I manage to squeeze myself into a seat by the window and delicately cradle the London Fog in my cold hands. It’s a rainy day, making it the perfect time to try a drink named after London’s chilly, damp weather. The first sniff of the frothy top is vaguely reminiscent of fruit loops. It’s very sweet, more like a less flavourful version of a chai latte than any kind of tea I’ve ever tasted. The tea bag bobbing inside the milky beverage seems to be the only indication that the London Fog is connected to the UK. In fact, further research reveals that the Fog was originally made in Vancouver, making its title particularly suspicious. In fact, it makes me wonder what British tea snobs would think of such a concoction. I can hardly picture Queen Victoria chugging down a London Fog every morning. However, the more I sip, the more I see the comfort warm milk might bring a Fog devotee.
The Boulevard's Iced Vietnamese Latte
The cool morning air is already starting to sizzle away with the coming summer heat. Ordering an Iced Vietnamese Latte, I sit myself at one of the Boulevard’s many tables and prepare to feel refreshed. I am not disappointed. Although it’s a tad sweeter than I’d prefer, this drink makes it work. It’s a bit like an iced mocha without the chocolate, while simultaneously leaning more towards a Thai iced tea. The more I drink, the more this fancy coffee grows on me. It’s delicious, with a creamy yet light flavour that I can’t quite pin down.
Blue Chip Café's Voodoo
Right before I begin the bus ride back to Seattle, I scurry over to the Nest’s Blue Chip Café to try their concoction called Voodoo. With four shots of espresso and a flurry of condensed milk, this intensely caffeinated drink is either the perfect kick start to your day, or the beginning of a massive stomachache. Instead of smelling like the fresh beignets of New Orleans, this cup of Voodoo magic smells like pure espresso and the sour aftertaste of milk. Feeling faintly pessimistic and a little nervous, I take a small sip. My reaction can not be put into elegant words, the coffee is earth-shatteringly strong. The drink is wildly bitter and yet it still manages to be sickeningly sweet all at once. While the Vietnamese coffee at the Boulevard may have had a similar set of ingredients, the Voodoo’s exaggerated and clashing flavours are not pleasant to the tastebuds.
Finally finished with my foray into the unknown world of coffee options, I can safely say that not all fancy beverages are terrible. The Iced Vietnamese Latte from the Boulevard shines through as not only a near perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness, but also as a refreshing beverage that remains a much needed remedy to the summer heat.