Top 5 Iced Drinks to Beat the Heat

Here are our picks for the top 5 iced drinks to keep you cool this summer.

The days are long, the sun is out, and everyone is looking for a way to beat the heat. It must be mid-summer. One sure-fire way to cool down on a hot day is with a delicious iced beverage. Here are our picks for the top 5 iced drinks to keep you cool this summer.

Italian Soda

Made with soda water, flavored syrup, and the optional cream and whipped cream, Italian sodas are more than just a good way to stay cool. These delicious handmade sodas are a work of art. The swirls of brightly colored flavor mixed with crystal clear soda water and fluffy white cream bring to mind something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Whether you’re in the mood for the sweet-but-tart zing of raspberry, or more of a creamy vanilla vibe, Italian sodas will always be a great choice.

Iced Ovaline Latte

The Ovaltine latte is a Top Pot specialty. We’ve been mixing up a combination of espresso and milk combined with Ovaltine’s delicious chocolate malt powder for years. Although it’s a regular drink for many of our customers, it’s sometimes over-looked as an iced drink.

Pro tip: Try it blended for an even cooler drink!

Sproda

Ah, the sproda. This popular drink can raise a few eyebrows due to its interesting name. Part espresso, part soda, the sproda is a carbonated beverage with espresso. It follows the same basic principles as an Italian soda. Carbonated water and espresso are a must, but flavored syrup, cream, and whipped cream are definitely suggested. As one customer said to me after his first taste of the sproda, “that is weird and amazing.”

Smoothies

It goes without saying that smoothies are always a great choice for summer. With endless flavor combinations and a base of healthy fruits and vegetables, what’s not to love? Any flavors can work well for a tasty smoothie, but you can really add bang for your buck by adding ground flax seeds, avocado, or even coconut oil to your drink. These additional ingredients will keep you feeling full even longer.

Cold Brew

When it comes to the perfect iced drink, nothing hits the spot quite like cold brewed coffee. Brewed in cold water for 12 hours, this thirst-quenching drink is packed with caffeine and will get your day started off on the right foot.

Pro tip: If you have a sweet tooth, add a little condensed milk to your cold brew to liven things up!

What’s your favorite iced drink for a summer day? Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Spotlight: 5th Avenue Cafe

5th Avenue: our flagship cafe.

Top Pot’s second café is located on 5th Avenue in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This densely populated urban area is filled with old-school charm. Brick buildings line the street, while the sleek, silver monorail, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, glides overhead. Just a few blocks from the Space Needle, the 5th Avenue café is a place where famous guests, excited tourists, and neighborhood regulars come to mingle.

Beautiful two-story greenhouse windows allow passersby to observe the old-school interior, complete with Top Pot’s signature bookshelves, a 1960s-style television, and a balcony seating area. It’s a beautiful, large café and it’s a staple of Seattle’s downtown.

The roastery for all 20 Top Pot locations is housed at this location. This is where all of our coffee beans and cold brew coffee is produced. It’s amazing how much hard work and dedication the men and women of the roastery have put into their work. Whether you’re sipping a latte on top of Queen Anne hill in one of our first locations, or grabbing a quick drip coffee at our newest café, Sky House in Dallas, you’re tasting the same great quality coffee.

Tourist Hot Spot

The 5th Avenue location is conveniently close to many of Seattle’s great tourist destinations. After enjoying our doughnuts and coffee, visitors can take the 10-minute walk to the Seattle Center. There they can take a trip to the top of the Space Needle, visit the International Fountain, or spend an afternoon in the EMP/SFM, otherwise known as the “Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum.”

This nonprofit museum features exhibits focused on pop culture and music both nationally and internationally. Their most recent exhibits have included a Star Trek retrospective, an in-depth Hello Kitty display, and, of course, several rooms devoted to our hometown hero, Jimi Hendrix.

If you choose to set your feet walking south, you’ll arrive at Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Yup, that’s the place where they throw the fish. There is also fresh food from over 85 local farmers as well as various artistic wares from the 225 local artists that can be found along the market’s 9 acres.

Local Favorite/Famous Hang Out

But it’s not just tourists who love our Belltown store. It’s also a neighborhood place. With its extensive seating and retro vibe, it’s a great place to meet with a friend or five. Knitting clubs, tech workers check-ins, and senior meet-ups all take place on a weekly basis. Not to mention, it’s a great place to take the family on a Sunday morning.

Even the famous crowd gets in on the action. Over the years Top Pot 5th Avenue has been visited by many familiar faces: Conan O’Brien, Joel McHale, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Philip Seymour Hoffman have all come to visit. But nothing quite beat then time when this guy showed up.

President Obama Top Pot Doughnuts
President Barack Obama at Top Pot 5th Avenue

That’s right, we were lucky enough to be visited by President Barack Obama. It was an incredible experience (yeah, that’s me hiding back there on the left). He greeted everyone, shook our hands and generally made us all smile. And yes, he tried a doughnut (it was the glazed pumpkin old-fashioned) and pronounced it “addictive.”

The Inside Scoop

It’s not only our customers who love the 5th Avenue location. We’re also big fans of it as well. Founder, Mark Klebeck was one of the main forces behind the build and design of the café.

When I asked him what was his favorite part of the creation and build of the 5th Avenue location, he had this to say:

“The downtown 5th avenue café is unique in that it was built slowly and carefully thought out in design. The entire space is covered in birch wood, terrazzo and was designed to match the late 1940’s structure. It is special for me because my wife and I got married inside on the stairs two weeks before it opened to the public.

“My favorite thing about the build out was working side-by-side with my brother Michael from start to finish. We took our time and carefully incorporated design as we went along.”

Our flagship store is a hustling, bustling place filled with excited customers, delicious doughnuts, and robust coffee. The line can get a little crazy from time to time, but there’s no denying it’s a lot of fun. In fact, this quote from Clara, a 5th Avenue staff member, pretty much sums it up:

“It’s a fast-paced environment that can go from zero to jam packed in seconds. Most days there are customers waiting before we even open the door. It can be hard work, but when you get into the rhythm it transforms into a doughnut-slinging dance party.”

Have you visited our flagship location? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Reasons to Bring Your Work to a Coffee Shop

“I usually bring what I’m working on to coffee shops because, with as many puns as you can imagine are intended, it helps the bundle of ideas in my head percolate and drip by drip their way to life.” –– Tom Robbins

This post was written by Josh Zinn.

J.K. Rowling does it. So did Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Heck, even unabashed tea-drinkers like Stephen King have, most certainly, done it from time to time. All across the world, in fact, people are doing it right now and, in all probability, you have too. Whether it’s the next Great American Novel being wrought out or a clever spin on tomorrow’s investment report, there’s no denying coffee shops have long served as a prime location for folks to get their creative juices flowing and hungers––not to mention caffeine fixes––satiated.

Why is this? What is it about the environment of our neighborhood coffee purveyors that directs our minds to a level of productivity which our offices and cubicles cannot? Is there something in the water? Perhaps in the doughnuts and assorted pastries we nibble on? Or is it simply a combination of comfort, familiarity, and delight that can only come from a place many consider to be their home away from home?

In addition to whichever reasons works for you, here are five more reasons coffee shops are fantastic places to bring work to and to get work done.

  1. Community: Coffee shops have become the modern-day town meeting hall. Where else can you count on seeing friends and neighbors on a daily basis, taking a break from their busy lives? Maybe you’re working on your thesis and need a little bit of friendly inspiration and encouragement to finish those last few pages? Maybe you’re in need of a babysitter so you can go out and celebrate having finally finished those last few pages? Chances are you’ll be able to find both––and a little friendly gossip––at the coffee shop.
  1. Caffeine: Yeah, it’s a need. Don’t deny it and don’t deny your overworked brain the pleasure (and relief) it provides too. When the day is looking dark, you need to wake up, and even your yawns are yawning, that triple-Americano you just ordered will work better than any buzzing alarm clock––just try not to hit its snooze button.
  1. Fewer Distractions: Sure, your neighbors are here, and you’re getting the 411 on what’s happening in the community garden, but chances are your boss or professor isn’t and that can often make a HUGE difference when you need to finish something without someone gawking over your shoulder. Bringing your work to the coffee shop still shows you’re getting out of bed and getting things done, but, gosh darn it, you’re doing it on your terms and with a coffee by your side.
  1. Ambiance: There’s something to be said for the sound of coffee grinding and the hiss of milk steaming. Take a hint from Goldilocks: When the din of TV or radio is too much to bear and the sound of silence is something best left to Simon and Garfunkel, the lulling, dulcimer tones of the coffee shop can provide just the right amount of background noise to get your mind a’movin’.
  1. Delicious Food: Let’s face it, sometimes we all need a treat––especially when we’re knee-deep in a project and have no clue where to go or what to say next. Though by no means a scientific study, I’d wager to say there’s a direct correlation between the smile that comes from that first bite of an old-fashioned doughnut and the congratulations you receive at the office for a job well done. Coffee shops stock themselves with all the tasty things we aren’t likely to find in the break room and you, me, and we are all the better for it.

Needless to say, there are a myriad of reasons why coffee shops have long been trusted with not only our bellies, but our brains too. Did you recognize some of your own here? If not, what are some of your favorite reasons for working on stuff in a coffee shop?

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have an essay to write and a cappuccino to sip.