We're heading into a strange summer in North America as political and public health crises begin to crash into the warm rhythms of mother nature, like waves upon the shore of the beach we fantasize about in a reverie of some future time free of racial injustice, police violence, climate disaster, and terrifying disease. Without setting aside the work we must do around the world to bring us closer to a better reality, the fact of the matter is—we need those small breaks from the current reality, and sometimes—if we're lucky enough to have the resources right now—we need treats to go with them.
In the spirit of treating oneself to a cool-coffee-style break as the summer heats up, we offer this list of fancy drinks you can enjoy while working from home, sheltering in place, facilitating an online summer camp, or marching in the streets. Cheers.
We've long been impressed by Stumptown's deep and enthusiastic commitment to cold coffee beverages, whether on draft in their cafes or the grab and go bottles that overflow their cold cases and delight grocery shelves. Among their newer offerings is a collaboration with Oatly, which if you didn't know tastes fantastic in cold coffee drinks. This variety pack of shelf-stable cold brew and Oatly oat milk comes with six cartons: two each of original, chocolate, and horchata. Watch that caffeine intake as these babies are a little too easy to drink.
Billed as “the world's first perfectly calibrated” canned coffee, this new startup from coffee entrepreneur Kal Freese packs a punch of plant-based adaptogens meant to optimize your ready-to-drink coffee trip for a cool, delicious ride. Try it in black, oat milk latte, or macadamia latte. Or splurge for a mixed six pack! It's gonna be a long summer.
If you're making your own cold brew at home on the regular, you've probably noticed some coffees lose dimension and character when prepared low and slow. Indianapolis roasters Circadian kept that in mind when crafting their low-acidity, sweet-finishing cold brew blend. The roaster placed third in the Coffee Fest 2019 National Cold Brew competition—so you should definitely trust them.
Those who know it know it well: the syrupy, chicory-liquory taste of Blue Bottle Coffee's famous New Orleans-style cold brew. If you can't make it to a Blue Bottle near you, you can bring the taste right home with a whole bean or ground coffee kit, along with your own milk and sugar. Unfortunately, most of us will have to completely clean house and redecorate to complete the in-store experience—but won't it be worth it?
BrightLand Coffee Co. Cold Brew (Philadelphia Only)
Gary Lambert's Bright Land raises the bar for Philly cold brew with his impeccably stylish, tempting black cold brew and CBD-infused cold brew offerings. Though he primarily brews for wholesale to local businesses, Gary also supplies retail at select Philadelphia outlets, farmers markets, and special events. We love these beautiful bottles so much, we may need to take a road trip.
Don't call this cold brew—it's only been here for a few minutes! Verve's flash brew canned coffee launched earlier this year, the fruit of much cold-coffee tech innovation. It comes in original, a rotating single origin, and Swiss Water processed decaf versions, and promises the full range of hot-brewed flavor and nuance—served up just like revenge. Cold.
Slingshot is the O.G. on the grab-n-go specialty cold brew block and with good reason. Their cold brew concentrate has been on the scene since 2012, ever evolving with the needs of cold-coffee drinkers nationwide. Their latest joint is a line of coffee sodas inspired by the owners' coffee bar experience and the creativity of coffee competition. The soda comes in cute li'l 8oz cans in your choice of black cherry or citrus vanilla cream.
Prefer your coffee soda a little more on the traditional side? Atlanta newcomer Bat, bat Soda offers black coffee hot brewed, flash chilled, and delightfully carbonated. Order in quantities from 4 to 240 and never be left unrefreshed and undercaffeinated again.
Okay, these aren't caffeinated at all, and have very little to do with coffee, but we couldn't resist Dona Chai's line of colorful, delightful sodas as a summer menu suggestion. Liven up your socially distanced backyard hangouts with a pink peppercorn lemon, turmeric honeybush, or juniper lime soda.
Look—just because it's Canada doesn't mean folks don't need summer refreshment. It does get hot there, trust us. For those north of the border, we point to Toronto's Pilot Coffee Roasters for another coffee-adjacent botanical refreshment in the form of canned sparkling cascara tea. Your choice of flavo(u)rs: pomegranate, blood orange, or original offer a fizzy & lightly sweetened (with a twist of lime) take on this oft-discarded part of the coffee fruit. Sorry, delivery to Canada only (and limited home delivery within The Six).
Liz Clayton is the associate editor at Sprudge Media Network and is based in New York City. Read more Liz Clayton on Sprudge.