By Sara Knight
Special to DGO
It’s that time of year again. Order up a latte, spiced with pumpkin, laced with cinnamon, topped with cream, garnished with mint and shot through with a hundred million calories of syrupy, sugary goodness. Grab a grandé and get your fix. But where should the good caffeine-craving people of Durango go to indulge their seasonal senses? Where IS the best Pumpkin Spiced Latte or Peppermint Mocha or candy-capped, liquid crack in town? Well, we’ve sipped our way across the city and found some answers. Hi, I’d like your most ridiculously-seasonal coffee beverage, please:
Durango Coffee Co.
Understated is one word that comes to mind when the drinker sets lips upon this particularly enjoyable joe. This is not some over-sugared seasonal syrup drowned in cream and disguised as coffee. This maple mixture is subtle, like the change in the air when it’s finally winter.
This is the pecan pie to your Thanksgiving coma. Yes, it does taste like coffee. If that’s a problem, then consider ordering a flavored milk instead. Yes, it tastes like maple, and not in a guzzling-the-syrup-right-out-of-the-bottle kind of way, but rather a perfectly-drizzled-pancake kind of way.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
The pumpkin spice latte doesn’t have its own hashtag for nothing (#PSL). It’s the “Christmas Story” of coffee drinks, a familiar, unobjectionable staple of holiday indulgences.
With nutmeg, cinnamon, whipped cream on top, this pleasant perk has all the spice and goodness of pumpkin pie without the questionable texture. What more could it possibly need? Espresso? Genius! The best of morning and the best of fall have cozied up in a cup and created an adorable, dimpled child who could charm the Grinch and save the day.
This is a fail-proof, likeable and undeniably autumn experience It’s pumpkin spice latte time. #PSL omg lol jk.
Caramel Brulée Latte
No real coffee-lover in her right mind would actually admit to liking this concoction. This one’s the holiday pop playlist buried among otherwise respectable music choices. This is the cavity-causing, sugar buzzing, is-there-actually-coffee-in-this-thing, guilty pleasure.
The first sips are fluffy mouthfuls of whipped cream with crunchy brulée crumbles. Then, every swig and slurp that follows is a spoonful of caramel helping the sugar go down. In a go-cup, this could almost pass for coffee if no one catches the scent of wafting caramel.
If the actual taste of coffee sends the drinker into fits of disgusted facial spasms, then here’s a syrupy solution ideal for any oversized sweater day.
Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
This magical mixture is snow, falling soft and light at the end of a day of shredding. Thanksgiving has passed and winter is in full swing.
This minty, milky mingling leaves the lightest of tinglings on the sipper’s lips. It’s not a shout and holler like a candy cane’s red on white. It’s more of a snowflake that falls on a cheek. This beautiful beverage thaws through the cold and coats it in a cozy mocha comforter lined with a coffee-infused kick.
If mint drops on mochas and coffee with mittens are a few of one’s favorite things, then this wonder will soothe any ski-induced aches and pains.
Honey Hazelnut Latte with Cinnamon
When everyone is pumpkined out and peppermint’s lost its pep, this delight will still be wooing our winter-weary palates.
Here’s a balanced brew with cinnamon front and center and a honey co-star. The coffee and hazelnut play supporting roles and bring the Nutcracker home. All set on a stage of velvety foam so soft it’ll prompt a standing O.
While not quite the holiday classic everyone knows and loves, this creation will leave any espresso enthusiast smiling like it’s Christmas morning.