Ah, September. The season of Autumnal drinks is upon us. Without fail on the first of the month, the summer drinks are done away with and the Pumpkin Spice mix comes out. So, does any of it taste like anything? Is it all consumer culture bollox to want products that taste like the weather? We sent our Caffeine Correspondent (me) to find out. Here are my eagerly anticipated opinions that everyone wants on drinks that are intentionally anything other than Pumpkin Spiced lattes, for balance.
The ‘Bonfire Spiced’ Cold Brew (and Hot Chocolate) – Costa
For this number I was expecting a spiciness; cinnamon with a twist. Popping candy maybe. But snap, crackle and pop this did not. Reader, it tasted like the ashes of a late good drink were scattered onto cold cream. To be fair, it was like a bonfire in that it tasted like dirt. With hard crystallised sugar, the whisper of seasoning and a mouthful of cream, it tasted odd; like milk that’s been sweetened into preservation. Just because you can cold brew, doesn’t mean you should. You cannot add literally anything to any food or drink and slap a seasonal name on it to make it so. Insert any clip of Jeff Goldblum in Jurrasic Park.
Boyfriend had the Hot Chocolate version and that was great, so fair dos. The barista was lovely and this was in no way her fault.
The ‘Blue Latte’ – Insomnia
Made with ‘Oat Drink’, this one’s for my vegans and people who like plants. This one took some adventuring; the first Insomnia I went to were out of ‘blue’. Not one to waste a trip, I asked the barista what the blue was while I was there. She mentioned something about insects and then I’m nearly 100% sure she asked me if I knew butterfly piss. I said that I did not, and she said the blue is similar to that, ‘like a tea’. Sound.
I now know that the blue comes from live blue algae. This photo is unfiltered and only sharpened to show you what it actually looks like. Aside from the toxic clumps at the bottom that come with every powdered tea drink, this tasted like porridge and was the only drink out of all our contestants that made me feel comforted and that it was good for my insides like a lovely blue hug. Also, you’re drinking the galaxy. Though titled ‘Latte’, there’s no coffee in it like its matcha and turmeric cousins.
The ‘Blackberry Hot Chocolate’ – Also Insomnia, I live near one.
This was immense. I got it made with skimmed milk (because let’s not lose our fucking minds) and it tasted just as class. This ditty features whipped cream and mini marshmallows as standard. It’s often hard to taste the special guest flavour in something as mild as a latte or hot chocolate, so the chocolate definitely enhanced the berry flavour, but it was giving me subtle Black Forest vibes. Very subtle, think seventh-generation German. Think the Black Forest Gateau you’d get in Centra to bring to someone’s Communion with glacé cherries on top. Forgive the inaccurate comparison, I don’t know how parties work but you know exactly what cake I’m on about.
Bottom line, let people enjoy things. Trend hype might not be your ‘cup of tea’, but if anything we should be questioning where it’s coming from and not the people partaking in it. Don’t blame people for having notions because Apérol Spritz tastes nice and is actually now accessible. Also, stop slagging people who ask for slimline tonic.