The summer drink roundup you’ve been waiting for
Words and Photography by Casey Medlin
The heat waves are here, and few things are more relieving than an ice-cold beverage. Fortunately, our 2022 Best of Chapel Hill coffee shop winners are offering perfect pick-me-ups, guaranteed to quench your thirst even on the most sweltering days.
Honey Rosemary Iced Latte, $5.75
‘A mini vacation in a cup’
First on our list is the oh-so-restorative honey rosemary iced latte from Gray Squirrel Coffee Company. This brew features a shot of espresso, your milk of choice and the cafe’s housemade honey rosemary syrup. Its flavor profile bursts with subtle earthy flavors while still being light and cool for a scorching hot day.
“With just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of herbal aroma, this iced latte transports you right out of the Carolina heat to a breezy Mediterranean hillside,” Gray Squirrel marketing coordinator Sarah Persing says. “It’s a mini vacation in a cup.”
Ginger Soda Sparkling Cold Brew, $5.50
Matcha Lemonade, $6
Packing a ‘double punch’
The earthy matcha paired with the acidic fresh-squeezed lemonade is nothing short of drool worthy. Its bitter-sweet balance evokes a sigh of relief with our 90-degree heat.
On the other hand, the cold brew’s “fruit-forward flavor profile” paired with Q Ginger Beer offers another kind of experience. One sip sends gingery zings to the tip of your tongue, creeping down the back of your throat with fresh fruity notes. That sensation leaves you craving more.
The vision behind these two drinks was to “both be refreshing, but also grab your attention,” owner Scott Conary says.
Lavender Vanilla Iced Latte; $4.50
If frolicking in a flower field was a drink
Shake up your go-to coffee order and experience this seasonal thirst-quencher at the Carolina Coffee Shop, North Carolina’s oldest eatery. Inspired by spring, this subtly sweet drink features splashes of vanilla to mellow out the lavender’s flowery edge.
“A lot of people will come in and get vanilla, caramel, hazelnut – and they don’t think of lavender,” says CCS event manager Olivia Robertson. “If you’re wanting to try something different, it might just become your new favorite flavor.”
Iced Pour Over; $4
Notes of raspberry and tangy cherry from first sip to last
Open Eye Cafe offers a truly unique sip with its iced pour over. This brew is crafted from a specific coffee varietal sourced from Carrboro Coffee Roasters’ farmer partner, Anabella Meneses, from Santa Felisa Estate in Guatemala.
The beans contain a “very interesting flavor profile genetically that we bring out in the roast and then bring out in the brew – really tangy fruits, very sweet,” says Scott, who is also the owner of Open Eye in addition to Caffe Driade.
Open Eye only has one 69-kilogram bag of this unique coffee, so this limited-time treat is only available while supplies last.
Try the iced twist on the traditional hot favorite while you can. It will be a “very nice experience that lends itself to being both interesting and refreshing,” Scott adds.