Specialty espresso at Drum Coffee 

What you're drinking: One of the classic Italian-style espresso shots at Drum Coffee, where the phrase "unicorn frappuccino" does not exist (though Drum owner and Fitz and the Tantrums drummer John Wicks did start his barista career at Starbucks.)

Where to start: We tried the "noisette," which features a type of espresso called a "ristretto"—essentially a short shot of espresso extracted with less water than a normal espresso, yielding a richer brew. The noisette is finished with a touch of foamed half & half. Barista Alison Morgan describes the appeal: "It has a certain coffee sweetness, there are no sour or bright notes to it, so it's very sweet and creamy."

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KATE WHITTLE
  • photo by Kate Whittle

What if I want a giant frappuccino though? Drum Coffee won't be the place to find it. Most of the menu is devoted to specialties like the noisette or the piccolo, a style of latte that also starts with a ristretto shot. Morgan says the cafe owes a lot to Wicks' experience trying out coffee shops while on tour. "This cafe is trying to bring people back to the roots of coffee and focus more on the Italian tradition," she says.

Off-menu: Morgan and her coworkers take turns making artful specialty drinks like the recent "Cafe Lima Rosa," a cold-brew coffee topped with lime-rosewater simple syrup and soda water. The rosewater "adds a roundness to the sweet, so you've got the lime tartness and it finishes on a sweet and smooth note," Morgan says. If it's not listed on the menu, just ask a barista—if a one-off special is popular enough, they keep the ingredients on hand in case customers come asking for it.

Where to find it: Drum Coffee, 600 South Ave. W., is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

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