It’s always a good day when Shift Coffee rolls out a new specialty drink menu. The shop prides itself on devotion to the craft of coffee, so it’s no wonder that their specialty menu reflects that dedication. Each drink is created by a different barista, showcasing the staff’s diverse tastes and talents. Surprisingly, none of the drinks on the spring menu use espresso – in fact, all of them are served over ice. Normally, taking this tack to a coffee menu would be borderline absurd, but for a shop that demonstrates consistent excellence in espresso-based drinks, a seasonal menu featuring teas, cold brews, and fresh fruits only solidifies Shift’s reputation for innovation.
Oh, and in case you have any dietary restrictions: all these seasonal drinks are vegan (with the exception of the Orange Honey Chai, but Shift happily substitutes simple syrup for the local honey if desired).
This fizzy treat is the brainchild of barista Sadie, who was reading the benefits of ginger one day and uttered aloud with a Texas twang, "It's just good on ya!" The invigorating spice of fresh ginger root, jammy sweet of black currant simple syrup, and sour lemon juice all vie for the attention of your palate without any single flavor overwhelming it. This tonic will make you feel just as good as it tastes.
Drink it when: those springtime allergies start to kick your butt.
The Day Man began as a signature beverage for Eli, Shift’s Head of Quality Control, to use in the United States Barista Championship. Both this drink and its counterpart, the Night Man, use a special 48-hour cold brew recipe for the base of the beverages. In the case of the Day Man, the smooth, mellow cold brew anchors the fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and sorghum (from Babe's, y'all) to create the perfect pick-me-up. You'll feel like a champion of the sun in no time.
Drink it when: you must become the master of karate and friendship for everyone.
From the mind of barista Ramon cometh the Night Man: the best soda fountain alternative you'll ever taste. Simple but effective, the Night Man combines the aforementioned 48-hour cold brew with Topo Chico and house-made vanilla simple syrup. The resulting mixture is smooth, chocolatey, and sweet without the cloying sugariness of an oversaturated soda pop.
Drink it when: you want to share the night with your bros.
Orange Honey Chai
General manager Chase contributes this last drink to the menu: a simple-yet-effective twist on a southern sweet tea. The subtle spice of Bhakti Chai blends perfectly with raw, unfiltered, local honey from McKinney to form a tasty brew that is somehow both warming and refreshing. As an added bonus, the Orange Honey Chai comes garnished with an orange wedge. Squeeze it in for an extra pop of citrus or straight-up eat it – the choice is yours.
Drink it when: you’re not sure if it’s going to be hot or cold outside, but you need a dependable beverage either way.
Barista Autumn knew what she was doing when she named this little gem. Seriously, who doesn’t want to walk up to the bar and say, “Gimme some Purple Drank!”? They start with a simple syrup made from a black cherry/black currant reduction, mix it with a hibiscus, rose hips, and cascara (the leftover husk of a coffee cherry) tea, then top it all off with carbonated mineral water. The layered look is nice, but the drink tastes best after it’s stirred vigorously. The resulting beverage is bubbly, fruity, and light – sure to be a favorite long into the hotter months to come.
Drink it when: you want to drown your sorrows over the amazing amount of talent we’ve lost this year. Pur-ple drank, pu-ur-ple drank.
Which one of Shift’s newest beverages is your favorite? Tag your pictures with #thedentonite on Instagram and Twitter and let us know what delicious concoctions you’re drinking!
Visit Shift Coffee at 519 S. Locust Street in Denton, Texas. The are open Monday - Friday from 6 am - 7 pm, and Saturday - Sunday from 7 am - 7 pm.
Photos by Anthony Najera