Coffee in the Capital

I’ll admit, I love my Starbucks card. I love seeing the stars add up in the little cup on my app, and racking up enough points for a free drink. I’m a total sucker for Starbucks’ tweets about its Pumpkin Spice Latte, and I made sure the Starbucks on Brady Street was my first stop after work the day the drink made its soft debut this year.

I also strongly believe in finding the coffee shops that make each city buzz. I get a quiet, caffeinated thrill when I sit down to read in a local coffee shop. Places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts may be comforting because they’re familiar and consistent, but if you have even the slightest hint of wanderlust, it’s so fun ordering a brew that you won’t be able to replicate at home.

I’ve had a crazy fall, traveling to Washington, D.C., Michigan and California all within a one-month span. When I kicked off the month of travel with a trip to D.C., I asked my friends on Facebook ahead of time for recommendations of where to grab coffee. The responses swiftly poured in. I made plans with a college friend who had moved there after graduation to meet up for a cup at La Colombe.

If you’re unfamiliar with La Colombe, the coffee roaster is actually headquartered in Philadelphia, and its cafés are limited to just five cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.

It was nearly 90 degrees when I visited D.C. this September, so I knew I needed an ice-cold drink when I arrived. I just didn’t know what kind. So, I asked the barista what to order, and without missing a beat, he told me to try the signature Draft Latte, which basically is a latte on tap. It was fantastic! I especially loved the texture of the drink. It was so smooth.

I couldn’t have such a great drink and just leave it behind. I had to do some research, so I dug through the archives of La Colombe’s blog. For anyone wondering what the deal with the draft latte is all about, here it goes in a nutshell:

“Draft Latte is our newest creation, and it’s the first of its kind: a creamy coffee-milk drink that is served on tap. It’s naturally sweet, with no sugar-added, and it pours out cold and frothy. It’s the ultimate iced latte, complete with a head of delicious microfoam.” – Draft Latte: Defined, posted on August 6, 2015.

Courtesy of La Colombe Coffee Roasters

The best part of discovering such a fantastic drink hundreds of miles from home was also learning that I could get canned Draft Lattes just a few miles from home. It turns out La Colombe, spurred on by the success of the Draft Latte, invented a canned version. It not only ships, but is also available in more than two dozen Milwaukee-area grocery stores, including multiple Targets, Pick N Saves and Meijers. And it doesn’t hurt to know that I don’t need to take a flight to visit a café again; I can just stop  by one of five locations the next time I visit Chicago. For a list of all the La Colombe cafés, click here.

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