What’s the fastest way to warm up during a Tahoe winter getaway? Yes, you can stay indoors and crank up the heat. But it’s so much more fun to stay outside, bundle up and sip something toasty.
Whether you prefer a hot drink of the chocolate variety or a jolt of caffeine in your mug, here are four of Tahoe’s best espresso and hot chocolate cafes, plus drink recommendations to heat up your bones.
You won’t find better service or espresso in North Tahoe. Master roaster Carl Straub roasts organic, premium Italian-blend coffee beans every Saturday morning so it’s fresh for you all weekend. In addition to offering espresso shots and classic espresso drinks, the friendly and talented baristas will enchant you with 12-ounce seasonal lattes using housemade ingredients. Frequent cupping events and coffee and doughnut pairings add to the singular vibe at this eco-chic cafe.
The drink: OK, make that three. The wintry Peppermint Basil Mocha ( $4.75) is infused with housemade peppermint basil syrup, dark chocolate and a powdered, candy cane garnish. Want something sweeter? The Almond Maple Latte ( $4.40), made with Shady Farms organic maple syrup, sea salt and brown sugar, will do the trick. Lastly, the affogato-like Marocchino ( $4-$5.50), with Nutella, gelato, espresso, whipped cream and cocoa powder, is famous in these parts.
Details: Open daily at 10120 Jibboom St., Suite 101, Truckee; http://coffeebar.com.
Revive Coffee &Wine
Open since 2016 inside South Lake Tahoe’s former Picchetti Winery building, this homey cafe offers drip, espresso, pour-over and nitro coffee selections, in addition to specialty seasonal lattes, local wines and craft beers. Play a round of chess by the stone fireplace in the cozy main room or bundle up and enjoy the tranquil Revive Garden out back. You can also gather around the wine-barrel fire pits located on the front lawn.
The drink: You want the Maple Sage Latte ( $3.75, 12 ounces; $4.50, 16 ounces), a slightly savory, easy-sipping coffee drink made with spiced maple-sage syrup. Require chocolate? Try either the Dark or White Mocha, a smooth blend of espresso with rich dark or white chocolate ( $3.75, $4.50). Either is perfect with Baked Brie ( $10) served with nuts, berries, jam and crackers.
Details: Open daily at 3135 Harrison Ave., South Lake Tahoe; www.revivecoffeewine.com.
Clyde’s Coffee Roasting Company
This bunk house-style coffee shop — totally Tahoe-chic — has been open less than six months and is already experiencing hefty lines out the door and around the corner. There are several reasons for this: Owners Marlo and Craig Quillin roast their coffee beans onsite once a week, and the alluring aroma wafts its way down Kingsbury Grade Road. They offer a selection of traditional and seasonal espresso drinks as well as fresh pastries from Paul Schat’s Bakery in Carson City. The Quillins’ 16-year-old son (and the cafe’s namesake) works behind the counter with a smile.
The drink: Clyde’s wins the award for best cup of joe. The fresh brew ( $2.50-$3) is rich and perfectly balanced without a hint of acid. We also loved the creamy hot cocoa ( $2.75-$3.75), which is made with the Quillins’ secret chocolate blend. Did we mention the latte art? On slow days, ask your barista to draw you a grizzly bear.
Details: Open daily at 292 Kingsbury Grade Road, Suite 33, Stateline, Nevada.
Coffee Shop at Edgewood
This stylish coffee bar is located on the lobby level of the expansive, new Edgewood resort. They serve hot cocoa, smoothies, Rishi teas, juices and espresso drinks made with Seattle’s Caffe Vita Roasting Company coffees. They also offer some delightful baked goods, including Cookie Dough Cupcakes and Pumpkin Muffins. Grab one of each and take a seat on one of the Moroccan-style woven-rope poufs with the morning paper.
The drink: We loved the traditional hot chocolate ( $3.75 for 12 ounces), which is made with the bar’s proprietary chocolate blend and served nice and warm with whipped cream. But if you’ve never had Caffe Vita, you should tuck into the Caramel Macchiato ( $5.50) to experience that balance of robust coffee and sweet, gooey caramel.
Details: Open daily inside the Lodge at Edgewood, 100 Lake Parkway, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. www.edgewoodtahoe.com
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