Because it was such a beautiful sunny summer day in San Luis Obispo my Mom and I decided to walk to breakfast and coffee. However, by the time we got to Scout on Garden Street we were craving something more refreshing than a latte, which is how we ventured into their amazing iced tea list. White tea is the lowest caffeine content of teas, but the amazing flavors that come along with white teas make it worth it (unless you need your caffeine fix) to order over one of the stronger alternatives. Due to my love of coconut, I ordered the iced White Coconut Tea. All of Scouts iced teas go through a 24 hour cold brew process, where they take tea leaves and put them in 64 ounce mason jars, adding in cold filtered water and letting it seep with all the water touching all the tea for 24 hours. They then strain out all the leaves, which creates the concentrate that they then dilute with more cold filtered water. Their white tea impressed me with having actual coconut pieces mixed in, rather than simply flavoring the drink with a coconut syrup. The White Coconut Creme tea by the Art of Tea is made up of tender white peony tea leaves blended with safflower, coconut bits and creamy essence of coconut. The way they lay the tea pieces out is part of what makes this blend so special: the tea was rolled with the coconut to infuse the flavor naturally. The tea leaves smell strongly of coconut, while the actual drink has just the right amount coconut flavor, perfect for slow sipping while enjoying great conversation. You put the tea with the coconut and drink it all up!
Today I took my mother on her first Top Dog experience, as well as taking myself out to Morro Bay again for the first time as a college graduate. Although I know I love Top Dog’s SiD, the Iced Soy Mango Chai just sounded too good to resist. On their menu the mango chai is simply described as “Yum!” Sweet with obvious mango flavor, but not too sweet that you feel like you’re drinking a sugary drink. They give it the mango flavor in the iced drinks by pouring a little Mango Torani Syrup on top, then they mix it in with the rest, while for the hot they steam in the mango syrup with the milk. The double brewed chai by My Chai in Oregon is made with organic spices and is still one of my favorite chias to date. The chai is the perfect compliment, with all the spices making it sugar and spice and everything nice. Together these flavor combinations of mango and chai are surprisingly irresistable after the first sip. You get hooked so fast that, before you know it, you’ve finished and all that’s left is ice! It goes down incredibly smoothly, with the small granular bits of spice dancing on your tongue.
In the spirit of checking things off my SLO Bucket List, Rebecca and I ventured to the last San Luis Obispo coffee shop I had to visit before I graduated: West End Espresso & Tea at the end of Higuera. With the large windows making up half of the walls, this particular SLOcal coffee shop has a different vibe than the rest. I like it.
As the first coffee house in downtown San Luis Obispo, they have welcomed coffee and tea lovers such as myself for over 30 years with the sounds and smells of tantalizing brews.
Good (but also not that surprising) news: they have two different non-dairy alternatives, soy and almond milk!
Espresso Nuovoq is a rich blend of Central, South American, and Indonesian beans roasted to a deep dark brown. These oily beans have lots of oil in them (interesting?), which makes the espresso amazingly strong. In addition to strong flavor, these beans produce a complex full-bodied brew with a thick rich crema. Apparently West End Espresso is known for having really strong espresso. If interested, you can even buy any of their whole beans to take home for yourself.
I went with my favorite; dirty chai with soy. Matt the barista recommended it the hot; how could I resist? They use Big Chai, which is a liquid concentrate sweet chai with vanilla flavoring. One of my favorite chais I’ve tried thus far: full of flavor.
They start by adding it the chai, then they cut it with milk instead of water (which is what Starbucks does, but they aren’t about that). The proportion was about half milk & half with the chai. If I wanted to have even MORE caffeine, they also have a dirty hippy, which is iced coffee, chai, and espresso. They called my drink out as a “Soy Chai Charger” which was new. It felt very light with a generous helping of the foam, which I was excited about simply because of the uniqueness of the frothy goodness on top. The foam actually tasted with chai and is a dark tan color. The dirty chai itself was incredibly smooth, with both the espresso and chai overpowering the soy in a delightful tongue-tickling way.