Truth be told I am not much of a latte drinker. My preferences lean more towards the double espresso. For me adding milk in any form to coffee detracts from the true experience. However, this time of year we seem to find a nice assortment of holiday flavored lattes; egg nog, pumpkin pie, gingerbread, and of course peppermint. Tempting to say the least!
We decided to celebrate the holiday season by sampling some of the finely flavored lattes from various Sarasota coffee spots. Here is what we found so far:
- Panini Press: An up and coming spot with an emphasis on quality ingredients, professional barista training, and quality service. We sampled the pumpkin pie and gingerbread latte’s. Layers of subtle flavors come together to form the right balance between coffee, steamed milk, and sweet flavor. Served with a dallop of real whipped cream, lightly dusted with cinnamon, and served in a tall clear glass; a nice touch. Very good, a SRQ Reviews thumbs up!
- Starbucks: Once considered the “gold standard” of coffee drinks, Starbucks has seen its share of competition and perhaps has become to mainstream. The Sarasota market is no exception. I had the gingerbread latte. I must admit, I am partial to Starbucks regular coffee and espresso. However the latte was disappointing; lacking true flavor and served with too much whipped cream. Even though the real whipped cream was a nice touch, it was too much and actually overpowered the drink. Disappointing.
- Pastry Art Bakery Cafe: Locally known for having the best coffee (voted Best Coffee by SRQ Magazine’s Best of the Best April, 2009) all of the beans used in the coffee are roasted in Sarasota. Our choice, the pumpkin latte. Even though we ordered the small size (12 oz.,) it was served in a large coffe mud. With a very nice balance of steamed milk and coffee, the fresh roasted flavor was apparent. However the pumpkin flavor was slight and there was no whipped cream or cinnamon. However one could add cinnamon on their own. Good but not great; would recommend.
We would like to know your thoughts and opinions on Sarasota’s coffee spots. We are truly interested in your thoughts and opinions. We will continue to explore, taste, and recommend. We look forward to hearing from you.
PS. For all you non-coffee drinkers out there, here is a link to a recent blog post on Peet’s Holiday tea. Enjoy.