Coffee Shops and Coffee Drinks

We all need a little something to get through the day.

Seasonal beverages come and go inside your local coffee shops. Holidays at Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, include the festive smell of eggnog lattes or pumpkin spice lattes and customers continue to find classic espresso-based drinks on our coffee menu.

The espresso drinks you find at our coffee shops range from classic espresso drinks to festive espresso drinks depending upon the season.

Let’s take a closer look at the espresso drinks you find on our menu.  For the most part, coffee drinks that you find at a coffee shop can be split between three categories: drip coffee-based, espresso-based, and non-coffee beverages. We offer two drinks that are based on the usage of drip coffee, your classic cup of drip coffee and a café au lait.  The café au lait is a classic French coffee made with brewed coffee rather than espresso which is then combined with equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk.  It is often compared to a softer version of a latte. The café au lait pairs nicely as a warming drink with breakfast or are usually consumed as a dessert beverage.


Cafe au Lait 

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The vast majority of coffee drinks that you’ll find in any coffee shop in general start with an espresso shot. While the caffeine level may stay the same in all espresso-based drinks, the cost of an espresso shot is less expensive than other espresso drinks on the menu. If you ever need a fast pick me up on your way to work a quick espresso shot will get you there in no time. Take a look at the crema on this shot at our San Rafael cafe, this is why our customers are so loyal, and constantly spreading the word about our coffee to their friends and family.


espresso shot Weaver's Coffee & Tea

Espresso Shot at Weaver's Coffee & Tea

Combining this simple espresso shot with various other elements leads to the creation of the majority of the espresso drinks a customer will find on a coffee shop menu.

One of the classic espresso drinks found at all specialty coffee shops would be an americano. The americano is simply a combination of a single shot of espresso added to the top of a cup of hot water. The americano is the perfect drink for a coffee drinker looking to maintain the strong taste of espresso rather than that of a traditional cup of coffee. While many customers add milk and sugar to an americano as they would a cup of coffee, drinking it black allows consumers to get the intense flavor profile from the espresso shot. By pulling the shot on top of the americano rather than pouring the water on top of the already pulled espresso, our barista is able to maintain the crema found on the top layer of an espresso shot rather than diluting it.



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Another popular drink in coffee shops is the macchiato. Unlike the other espresso drinks, this espresso drink varies widely based on the coffee shop.  The traditional macchiato is a pulled espresso shot in a small espresso cup mixed with a little bit of steamed milk and topped with foamed milk. This vastly contrasts to what the large chain coffee shops such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean serve as a version of a macchiato, which is a massive sugary drink covered with caramel and whip cream, which I would consider to be nearly the opposite of the traditional macchiato. I’ve found myself having to explain to many a customer what a macchiato really is, due to companies like Starbucks creating their own version of a macchiato beverage which in fact is nothing like a true macchiato.



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If you go to a coffee shop and they aren’t selling a latte as an espresso drink, odds are you aren’t in a real coffee shop. One of the most popular drinks on the menu at any given coffee shop, a latte, also known as a café latte, is a shot of espresso topped with steam milk. The steamed milk for a latte shouldn’t be too frothy but rather steamed just enough for a light layer of foam to rest on the top. This foam is what most customers tend to see Baristas use as the basis for their latte art creations. If the steamed milk that the Barista pulls is either too frothy or too milky, they are unable to create latte art on top of your coffee drink.  Customers usually request shots of flavors such as caramel, or vanilla to their drink to customize it based on their own personal preference to flavor.  

During the holidays, adding flavors like pumpkin or peppermint will turn your everyday cup of coffee into a seasonal beverage. We find ourselves using eggnog as a substitute for milk in late December turning our holiday lattes into quite a festive treat. If you end up adding chocolate or white chocolate to the beverage it would no longer be a latte, but a mocha.


mocha espresso drink

 Photo Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine 

If you’re looking to add your favorite type of sweet to your favorite espresso coffee drink, then look no further because a mocha is the perfect espresso drink for you. I for one think that the addition of chocolate to any food or drink is definitely a plus. Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth? A mocha’s base, similar to a latte is a pulled espresso shot. The only difference being is that the shot is poured over a Ghirardelli chocolate powder and then mixed into the chocolate powder to make a sweet and warming caffeinated treat. This is then combined with steam milk being poured over the top to create the mocha. The drink itself can be altered by using white chocolate rather than classic dark chocolate. Don’t hesitate to try this sweet treat next time you’re making your own drink or trying to spice up a latte at one of our Weaver’s Coffee & Tea cafes.  If you’re looking for even more decadence, then add whipped cream on top because the world is always better with whipped cream.

When it comes to classic espresso drinks it would be a mistake not to mention the cappuccino. Like the latte, a cappuccino has both an espresso shot and steamed milk. However, the part where the two diverge is the amount of foam added to a cappuccino. Rather than focusing on steaming the milk, a barista when making a cappuccino aims for the top layer to be of a foamy consistency at the top of the drink and then fading into a more milky consistency as the beverage is consumed. I personally enjoy the foam on a cappuccino as the frothy nature of the beverage changes the texture and flavor of the drink subtly enough to differentiate it from a latte.

Espresso drinks like a mocha can be altered to be more like a cappuccino by simply foaming the milk more to change the consistency. The classification of the drink is based on the amount of foam and texture of the milk rather than the contents or flavors inside the drink.



Espresso Drinks at Weaver's Coffee & Tea

We have the non-coffee drinker in mind, and for those looking to take a chance at something that isn’t a coffee-based drink, reach for a healthy tea. Teas such as our Jade Pearl Jasmine Tea along with our Pomegranate Green Tea prove to be fitting for any occasion.

Another option available to customers is our delicious matcha green tea latte. The delightful taste of green tea matcha combined with the smooth finish of the milk in the latte force coffee snobs to take a second look, especially when you make the matcha latte with beautiful culinary matcha from family tea farms in Shizuoka, Japan.  It took us nine years to find the matcha we use for our drinks, and it is truly delicious.


Matcha Latte

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While each coffee shop may put their own distinct touch on the coffees, teas and espresso drinks they offer their customers, all beverages, for the most part, have certain distinctions that allow them to be classified as a latte, cappuccino, or americano, etc. It is from these basic foundations that allow coffee shops or customers to modify the coffee drinks to their own personal preferences.

We pride ourselves in making our customers the best cup of coffee, our culture is about quality, consistency, and kindness. Whether it be a drip cup of coffee, an espresso-based drink, or one of our artisan teas, each cup made for you by our hard-working coffee roasters and prepared for you by one of our baristas has been designed to make you smile.  Thank you for reading our blog.