I live in what food policy experts call a pour-over desert, meaning I live in a part of town that lacks a high-quality independent coffee shop where I can indulge in carefully crafted caffeinated concoctions.
And since I've been working from home since March, and don't have regular walkable access to my favorite downtown coffee shops, I've come to rely on Starbucks, the only decent coffee purveyor that's near my home. More specifically, I've come to rely on one particular item on the Starbucks menu: nitro cold brew with sweet cream.
I've rhapsodized about nitro cold brew before. The gist is that coffee shops charge kegs of cold brew with nitrogen and pour it from a tap, like beer. Served with no additives, it has a smooth texture and a creamy head. My favorite local nitro cold brew remains the exceptional one served by Kahwa, which can bring you back from the dead on a hot day.
But for now, at least, the days of me skipping out of the office for a stroll over to Kahwa are gone, so I've been lining up at the Starbucks drive-through and ordering 16-ounce cups of the mega-chain's nitro. (I'm using drive-throughs a lot these days.)
Starbucks serves it black, but I'm not as enamored of the plain variety as I am of the stuff served at local shops. However, when the Green Monster adds in a subtle splash of sweetened cream? Hallelujah.
It's slightly sweet, but not sugary, and the milkiness doesn't dilute the flavor of the coffee too much. I wouldn't want it as part of my morning routine, but it's a perfect early afternoon treat to pick up on your way home after a socially distant sun session at the beach. Like most moments of joy these days, it disappears too quickly.