Thursday, September 27, 2012

Portland’s Pumpkin Spice Season by Jacqui B.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Personally, one of the only things I look forward to about summer ending is that it’s socially acceptable to order pumpkin spice lattes and other similar drinks. Going to a cozy coffee shop to get a warm drink can now be a comfort that I can count on. And once our weather catches up with the actual time of year, everyone in our city will most likely be rushing to do the same.

I’m not really wanting the chilly, rainy season to hurry up, but it’s always good to be prepared to make the most out of fall as we can, so let me review some of the best places to get a warm fall drink for you:

Starbucks and Peet’s are, of course, always good if you want something simple and reliable to go. On the subject of pumpkin spice lattes, though, their drinks are a bit different from each other. Starbucks’ latte is sweeter with a strong coffee taste at the same time, while Peet’s latte has a more noticeable spice, which overshadows the typical coffee taste a bit more than Starbuck’s. I personally prefer the one from Peet’s.

Portland's Cacao.
Most people wouldn’t consider satisfying their fall drink craving at New Seasons, but it holds its own pretty well against the two big franchises. It’s also convenient for OESians, being down the street from the campus. Around October the coffee counter will announce their fall drinks specials on the black chalk-board hanging above it, and usually some sort of pumpkin spice drink is written there. What’s great about New Seasons is that it gives the friendly, less chaotic ordering experience that you wouldn’t get at Starbucks or Peet’s, and so, depending on the barista, you can work that fact to your advantage: ask them to make a crazy-customized drink and they will probably do it. Example: a chai, pumpkin spice latte with soy milk. It’s delicious.

However, if you just want a unique, cozy place to get a comfort drink on the weekend, and happen to be downtown, I would recommend going to Cacao. It’s a chocolatier, and so their options are limited to chocolate drinks and plain lattes. Their drinking chocolates and mocha’s are just a little too good, though. In the fall/winter I would say the most popular drink is the dark chocolate cinnamon drinking chocolate, which is basically like a gourmet, reversed hot chocolate, like you added milk to your chocolate instead of chocolate to your milk- it’s that rich. They only come in a kiddie-cup size, but you won’t want any more. The 13th Ave. location is also a good place for sitting and enjoying the warmth of a coffee shop, or catching up on some homework while eating and/or drinking amazing fair-trade chocolate on a rainy fall day in Portland. 

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