Coffee has been the “life juice” for many people across the years, and between TikTok trends, Starbuck drink hacks, and everyone wanting to create their own signature drink at their shop, ordering coffee has become quite the art form.
Being purists at The Chocolate Season, we like to honor the coffee craft by keeping our core traditional drinks, well, traditional. So we’ve created a cliff notes version of what each foundational drink is so you can feel a little more confident maneuvering the ins and outs of everyone’s favorite java joint.
Espresso: A full-flavored, concentrated form of coffee that is served in “shots”. It’s made by forcing pressurized hot water through very finely ground coffee beans using an espresso machine. The result is a liquid stronger than coffee topped with crema, a brown foam formed when air bubbles combine with the soluble oils of fine-ground coffee and sits on top of a properly pulled shot of espresso.
At TCS, we dial in our machines every day since beans can change based on age, roast level and humidity.
There’s an art form to pulling the perfect shot based on volume, extraction time, up- dosing the basket, tamping strength and water pressure...but just know we dial in to make sure the beans’ flavor is balanced and produces a great start, middle and finish to your tasting experience. Pro tip- if you go to a cafe where you see portafilters already pre-dosed with grounds...run. Beans start to lose their flavor as soon as they are ground.
Macchiato: A 2 oz shot topped with a dollop of foam (ours are served with a cookie) That’s it. No caramel, no vanilla, no “shaken not stirred” nonsense from some of the big chains. It literally translates to “marked” or “stained”, so ours is espresso marked with foam. If you want to get fancy...you can order a Latte Macchiato, which would mean you’re “marking” your milk (latte) with espresso...so it’s a tall drink primarily composed of milk with a just a 1/2 shot of espresso on top. But I looked far and wide....and nowhere could I find the word macchiato translating to “caramel drink”. So. Thank you franchised coffee establishments for confusing all of us into thinking an apple can be called an orange. Just because they’re both fruit does not mean they are the same thing. (Ok, off my soap box).
Americano: Legend has it that this drink was created in Italy during WWII when the American troops had to adapt to intense flavor of Italian espresso. Since they didn’t their daily brew, and couldn’t stomach that little demitasse jolt of caffeine, they started diluting it with hot water to mimic the drip coffee they were used to. So that’s exactly what an Americano is, a double shot of espresso diluted by hot water. Pro tip- make sure your barista fills your cup with hot water first, and then pours that beautiful shot on top, so it doesn’t disrupt the crema your shot (should) have, which will help create a fuller flavor and longer aftertaste than traditional drip.
All-Nighter: This is the big brother of the Americano, offered referred to as a Red Eye, this features a base of drip coffee instead of hot water, which is then accented by a double shot of espresso
Drip Coffee: Potentially imagined in the 19th century in France, this method was created by putting ground coffee in a container situated between two chambers of a pot, with heated water in the top chamber. Over the years the process was refined, and by 1974 half of the 10 million coffeemakers sold in the US were electric drip. The Chocolate Season loves using a local roaster, Hardy Coffee Co in Omaha for our beans used not only in our drip selection but also our espresso and cold brew. We feature one type of drip coffee a day, and based on water temp, type of grind, volume in the basket and roast level of the bean, we aim to produce a quality, approachable cup of coffee for everyone every time. Pro tip- we offer Iced Daily Brew in 32 oz bottles so that you won’t have to water down your hot coffee with ice!
Cold Brew: The coffee of the moment, cold brew has a cult following at this point. Using a coarse grind, you steep them in water for 12-24 hours, which results in a smoother, less acidic flavor profile. Reasoning behind this is that cool water doesn’t bring about the chemical changes that produce acidity and bitter flavor that is often associated with hot coffee. After straining out the ground, this coffee concentrate can then be diluted with water or choice of milk and even accented by your favorite latte syrup. At TCS, our cold brew is exceptionally smooth and well-balanced and has become quite popular in our 32 oz concentrate bottle for home use! Pro tip- for those hot coffee lovers (Hello Mike, my brother-in-law) you can still enjoy the benefits of a less acidic beverage and smoother flavor profile with the concentrate, but just heat it and cut with hot water or a simmered milk of choice.