It seems almost impossible to travel around Baton Rouge without noticing a new restaurant. While all the new restaurants are welcomed additions, let’s not overlook Baton Rouge’s wave of new coffee offerings that have been increasing just as steadily. They’re offering new beverages to shake you out of your mundane, but admittedly delicious, cappuccino/latte routine.
We’ve done a bit of the leg work for you and rounded up three of these beverages, but they are by no means the only unique way to get your caffeine fix in town.
The Roosevelt from Magpie Cafe
Images: Sean Gasser
If you’re looking for a new way to meet your daily caffeine quota (and then, some), look no further than Magpie’s original creation. “The Roosevelt.” Aptly named after the president who was said to consume a gallon of coffee or more each day, the Roosevelt combines multiple brewing methods into one smooth, ultra-caffeinated cocktail. Magpie utilizes coffee beans from the storied Chicago- based Intelligentsia roaster to make both the cold brew and the espresso that goes into the Roosevelt. That’s right: cold brew and espresso. Two ounces of cold brew are combined with a double shot of espresso, which is given additional body by a small amount of milk and is lightly sweetened with agave syrup. The beverage is then shaken, which produces a frothy finish when the drink is poured over ice. The result is amazingly cohesive and smooth enough that you won’t notice you finished until you begin to wonder why you suddenly believe you could beat Usain Bolt in a foot race. By utilizing both espresso and cold brew, the Roosevelt showcases different nuances that are coaxed out of the coffee bean through the different brewing methods. When combined, you get a wholly unique flavor profile that one can only expect from the cafe that has consistently raised the city’s coffee standards since it opened its first location.
Vietnamese Coffee from District Donuts
In addition to offering some of the most creative donuts and sliders in town, recently opened District Donuts in Towne Center also puts their own spin on the popular coffee style you may have enjoyed at your favorite local Vietnamese restaurant. Vietnamese coffee preparation involves a hot water method which utilizes a perforated metal filter called a ‘phin.’ Traditionally, the filter sits over an ice-filled serving cup. As water is poured into the filter containing the ground coffee, the finished brew drips into the cup below. Traditional Vietnamese coffee calls for a dark roasted bean, resulting in a deep, rich chocolaty brew. The richness is balanced by sweetened condensed milk, which is combined with the coffee and served over ice. In lieu of the traditional hot brewed method, District Donuts uses their house cold brew concentrate made from Portland-based Roaster Stumptown’s Hair Bender blend, which they supplement with the addition of chicory. Chicory adds a depth and peppery quality to the brew that already contains chocolate and toffee tones from the unique blend, resulting in a rich coffee that is less acidic than its traditional hot-brewed counterpart, but benefits equally well from sweetened condensed milk. District Donuts uses a ratio somewhere between 2.5 parts cold brew to 1.5 parts sweetened condensed milk for this drink, which is perfectly diluted when served over soft-crushed ice.
The Oji Dip from French Truck Coffee
New Orleans-based French Truck Coffee opened its Baton Rouge outlet in August of this year on Government Street. While the cafe’s signature blue and yellow color scheme is sure to grab your immediate attention, one of the four peculiar looking devices perched on the shop’s coffee bar warrants your closer inspection. Those devices are referred to as “oji” cold water drip coffee makers. The brewing method originated in Japan and has gained popularity in the US with the country’s expanding interest in cold brew coffee. However, anyone familiar with traditional cold brewed coffee methodology may confuse these 3-tiered glass instruments with something more akin to a laboratory experiment than a cold brew device. Traditional cold brew is made by combining relatively coarse ground coffee with cold water and allowing it to sit over a long period before extracting the concentrated brew by draining it through a filter; oji drip instead involves a dripby- drip extraction process. Fresh ground coffee is topped with a filter and placed into the center tier of the oji. Water is poured over the filter and percolates into the grounds below until they are saturated. 3000 milliliters of water are then poured into the glass container on the top tier of the oji and a corresponding 3000 milliliter empty vessel is placed onto the bottom tier. The top container releases a single drop of water every two seconds onto the already saturated grounds, resulting in a drop of finished coffee in the vessel below. The finished product is a brew that many argue retains the individual nuances and aromatics of the particular coffee bean better than traditional cold-brew methods. French Truck exclusively utilizes single-origin beans for their oji offerings and, at least until they begin roasting in-house in the near future, rotate, their offerings depending on their New Orleans supplier.