Each year, as the leaves turn yellow and red, we embark on a quest to find the best warm seasonal drinks in Sonoma County. Also known as the “Holiday Drink Smackdown,” our list includes a selection of sippers from popular local cafes. Each brings unique elements to the cup, from delicious homemade syrups to adorable latte art.
While flavor is our focus, cozy cafe ambiance and particularly good-looking drinks contributed to a higher rating.
Big River Coffee Co., Pumpkin Chocolate Chai latte, rating: 10/10
Big River Coffee’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chai latte tastes like dessert in a cup. It’s rare to find a drink that combines chocolate and pumpkin, and adding chai spices to the mix makes it even better. With the perfect combination of spiciness and sweetness, the latte consists of your milk of choice, chai concentrate and Big River’s mocha powder. It’s the perfect drink for someone in search of something a little different than coffee. $4.50-$5.25. 3345 Industrial Drive, Suite 18, Santa Rosa. For more information, visit bigrivercoffee.co.
Crook’s Coffee, Maple Pecan latte, rating: 10/10
Move over pumpkin spice. Maple is the new fall flavor (at least it is for us). Crook’s Coffee’s maple pecan latte combines sweet and nutty flavors into a smooth and rich drink you don’t want to miss this season. $4.50-$6.25. 404C Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. For more information, visit crookscoffee.com.
Cotati Coffee Co., Brown Butter Bourbon Caramel mocha, rating: 9/10
In a little nook of Cotati, you’ll find the star mocha in town. Cotati Coffee’s Brown Butter Bourbon Caramel mocha is a seasonal drink that’s perfect for chilly weather because of its warm, round flavor profile. Made with Thanksgiving Roast Coffee, brown butter bourbon syrup, caramel syrup and Ghirardelli chocolate powder, this organic mocha goes down smooth as silk. $5-$6. 8225 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati. For more information, call 707-992-0005.
Brew Coffee and Beer House, Maple Cinnamon latte, rating: 8.5/10
Inspired by a pancake breakfast, Brew’s Maple Cinnamon latte is made with homemade maple cinnamon syrup and topped with cinnamon for extra spice. If breakfast were a latte, it would be this drink. It’s easy to enjoy, and the maple and cinnamon flavors hold their own alongside the espresso. $4.70-$6.30. 555 Healdsburg Ave., Santa Rosa. For more information, go to brewcoffeeandbeer.com.
Petaluma Coffee & Tea Co., Brown Sugar Cinnamon latte, rating: 8/10
Get toasty with Petaluma Coffee & Tea Co.’s Brown Sugar Cinnamon latte. Made with fair-trade espresso beans, this latte is cheerful and tasty. It’s simple in the best way, with a few carefully selected ingredients. The espresso’s boldness shines through to create a superb sweet sip, topped with a dainty leaf made of milk foam. $4.50. 212 Second St. Petaluma. For more information, call 707-763-2727.
Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, Pumpkin latte, rating: 8/10
Taylor Lane brews their Pumpkin latte using their own beans, and they clearly know what they’re doing. Their housemade organic pumpkin syrup tastes as fresh as it sounds. It’s not too sweet, but the flavor mirrors the perfect pumpkin pie. 6790 McKinley St., Suite 170, Sebastopol. $5.50-$6.75. For more information, go to taylorlane.com.
Honey Badger Coffee House, Maple Sage latte, rating: 7.5/10
Coffee with a kick. The flavor of maple pairs nicely with the herbal touch of sage, which makes this latte from Honey Badger so special. The combination is unexpected but refreshing, with the maple creating warmth and the sage coming in like a breath of fresh air. $4.50-$6.50. 101 Golf Course Drive, Suite A3, Rohnert Park. For more information, call 707-585-6185.
You can reach intern Lonnie Hayes at email@example.com.