Bay Area coffee lovers, head out to Oakland immediately. Mr. Espresso is collaborating with Bay Area chef Michael Woods to craft a signature beverage for their gorgeous flagship location The Caffè for a limited time. “The Bussdown” is a toasted marshmallow candied yam latte, named after Woods’ innovative concept kitchen, offering an elevated dining experience, delivered to your door. “Chef Michael Woods has created a latte that tells the story of the African diaspora, just as he does with his innovative Bussdown menu,” says The Caffè’s co-owner and Mr. Espresso Vice President Luigi Di Ruocco.

chef michael woods via ig

Chef Michael Woods got his start staging at 2-3 star Michelin star restaurants, and cooking for award-winning area restaurants such as Zuni Cafe, Delfina, Sobra Mesa, Plum, and Gather. He’s now the owner of & Grits, Bussdown Delivery, and Too Much Sauce. “He brings fine dining technique to Pan African Soul food,” Di Ruocco explains, “and you taste it in this balanced spiced and heated drink, mellowed by marshmallow cream.”

“We start by roasting whole sweet potatoes, then combine with dark brown sugar to create a purée,” says Di Ruocco. Adding allspice, berbere, cinnamon, and cayenne sourced from the local Oaktown Spice Shop, the purée takes on a complexity while still letting the espresso shine through. “I can still taste the coffee,” a customer noted.

To build the drink, baristas pull an espresso shot over the candied purée, stir to combine, and top it with steamed milk. “We top off the candied yam latte with a dollop of house-made, toasted marshmallow cream,” Di Ruocco adds.

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mr espresso yam latte
The Caffè (via SprudgeMaps)

The drink is an entry in The Caffè’s ambitious chef collaboration series, celebrating local chefs like Woods to create truly inventive signature drinks. “We approached [Chef Michael Woods] about collaborating with us for The Caffè’s Chef Series,” Di Ruocco explains, “this was the idea he brought to the table. Chef Mike and I worked together to develop the final recipe.”

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Over at The Caffè, The Bussdown latte ($6.50) is turning heads and the response has been overwhelming. “It’s delicious! It’s the best yam drink I’ve had! Flavor is there. It’s not too sweet but sweet enough, and has spice yet you can still taste the coffee,” said one customer, while another added, “This drink is AMAZING! I don’t live downtown, but, damnit, I’m gonna try to make it at least one more time.”

On social media, customers sing the beverages praises—on Instagram, a customer reported, “Had it last week— super delish. The spice is what makes it!” while another added, “Delicious! I am definitely going back.”

Folks who haven’t had the opportunity to try it have a few days left before it’s gone. “The Bussdown” Toasted Marshmallow Candied Yam Latte’s last day is this Saturday, March 23rd.

Visit The Caffè in Oakland, California at 1120 Broadway. Follow The Caffè @thecaffeoak and Mr. Espresso @mrespressooak on Instagram. For more, visit their official website.

On The Menu is an exploration of the best, most beautiful, most delicious and thought provoking original signature drinks on cafe menus worldwide. Presented by DONA Teas & Tisanes.