Coffee’s third (and now fourth) wave has inspired baristas to keep exploring new territory when it comes to coffee creations. Cold brew has become a household name; nitro coffee, the hottest trend of 2015, has also proven to have staying power. Today’s highly creative coffee scientists are touting the newest caffeinated trend—coffee soda.
DIY Coffee Soda
Like many coffee drinks, you can make coffee soda in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t require any special equipment—just a few easy ingredients and tools you probably already have around the house. It’s not just a combination of coffee and soda—the addition of citrus is a crucial twist.
Coffee Soda’s Predecessor: The Manhattan Special
Surprisingly, a drink that’s trending in 2017 has been around in some form since the late 1800s. A bottled concoction of espresso and seltzer known as Manhattan Special, invented by an Italian immigrant named Michael Garavuso, was ubiquitous in Italian neighborhoods of Brooklyn as early as 1895. Now in its third century and making a comeback online, a 2008 New York Times article called it “a hand grenade of caffeine and sugar.” The company still operates out of the Williamsburg warehouse where it started.
When Coffee Met Soda
As you might expect, it’s the chemical reaction that makes coffee and soda such a great mix. Coffee is essentially bitter, where soda is sweet.
Baristas are rising to the coffee soda challenge. One “beverage chef” who holds top honors in this field is Mark Daumen, creator of the Durham Coffee Soda, named for the Durham Hotel in Durham, NC. Daumen starts with a syrup of cold-brew coffee, vanilla, and sugar that he calls “magic sauce." Like others before him, he quickly saw the need for a splash of citrus. After the first few attempts, which were pronounced “flat,” he added the crucial missing ingredient—a thin curl of fresh lemon peel. While it was added to balance out the low acidity of his cold brew, it serves the dual purpose of providing decoration.
Once again, coffee proves itself as versatile in cold drinks as in hot ones. Just in time for summer, coffee soda is the newest caffeinated trend to hit your local coffee shop. Coffee and soda may be unlikely bedfellows, but they’re quickly becoming hot for summer.