Those who know me best...
would describe me as a purist. Whether it’s my taste in coffee, cars, or most things in my life. Simple is usually better. I also am not a sweet drink person, but it’s the season for pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha. So I decided to grab a couple of La Colombe’s seasonal draft lattes and do a quick write up on my thoughts. For one because I have no idea what "cold pressed espresso" is, and how do you can and maintain "frothed milk".
Let’s start with the prolific Pumpkin Spice Latte, otherwise referred to as the P.S.L. Upon first sip I was sort of taken aback by its surprising lack of spice, sweetness, coffee, and pumpkin flavor. If you had handed me that in a glass I would’ve thought it was a lightly sweetened iced steamer. The coffee flavor was very mild, if not indistinguishable. Also the texture was surprisingly thick. Not in foamed milk sort of way, almost in a heavy cream sort of way. On its own it's not something I'd drink, but poured over a little ice it might make for a nice treat. If you're looking for coffee flavor, I'd look elsewhere though.
The Peppermint Mocha is another Holiday season staple. I must say its one that I remember fondly in my days prior to working in coffee. Starbuck's made one that was more of a dessert than anything else, I loved it. La Colombe's version isn't half bad. It's still a little thick for my taste, but the presence of dark chocolate makes that a bit more palatable for me. The mint isn't overpowering, but present. Coffee flavors again aren't really there up front, but the aftertaste has a distinct coffee flavor and lingering bitterness from the dark chocolate. Which is what I'd prefer in a drink like this anyway.
In the end I'm not running out the door to pick up more of these lattes, but they were worth a try. The Peppermint Mocha actually has some promise, and maybe would make a nice base for a holiday cocktail with some Baileys. I do feel like my aversion to ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees and sweet drinks sort of set these products up for failure. So if you're in a hurry and need a taste of the season I'd say why not pick one of these lattes up. They're far from specialty, but they're by no means undrinkable. I found these at my local Trader Joe's, but I'm sure you can find them at most grocery establishments.