Innovative Summer Café Drinks

Quench your thirst with breezy, refreshing beverages from Coffee Project New York, Cocoa Cinnamon, and more.


Featured photo by Jonas Jacobsson via Unsplash

Summer is here, and that means it’s time for summer beverages! Once temperatures start to rise, most of our minds jump to cold brew, the typical seasonal go-to. But there are so many other ways to bring light, breezy, and colorful summer vibes to your café menu! We’re thinking lots of citrus, fresh herbs, coconut water, and plays on texture. Here are some of our favorite innovative summer drinks, created by cafés we already know and love.

An iced drink in a tall can-shaped glass with mint sprig. Around the drink yuzu fruits and mints leaves are arranged.
Coffee Project N.Y.’s Yuzu Jolt, is available until fall. Photo courtesy of Coffee Project New York.

Coffee Project New York: Yuzu Jolt

It’s no secret that we’re fans of everything the folks at Coffee Project New York do—and their summer special, the Yuzu Jolt, is no exception. Available all season long, the beverage is a mixture of yuzu juice concentrate, simple syrup, and the café’s house iced coffee, garnished with fresh mint. Refreshing and breezy, it’s the ultimate summer drink.

A short can glass with a dark iced drink is surrounded by blueberries spilling from two baskets.
Cocoa Cinnamon’s Blueberry Espresso Tonic, made with house-made blueberry syrup. Photo courtesy of Cocoa Cinnamon.

Cocoa Cinnamon: Blueberry Espresso Tonic

Cold and sparkling, the espresso tonic is the quintessential summer beverage—and Durham, N.C.’s Cocoa Cinnamon is taking it to the next level by adding their house-made blueberry syrup, made with berries sourced locally from Bahama Bluebs. Bright, fizzy, and fruity, with just the right amount of sweetness, the Blueberry Espresso Tonic is a great twist on a crowd favorite.

A close up of a milky iced coffee drink with mint sprigs on top.
Mandarin Coffee Stand’s seasonal special uses both coconut water and coconut cream for a creamy yet light beverage. Photo courtesy of Mandarin Coffee Stand.

Mandarin Coffee Stand: Iced Sea Salt Coconut Latte

What says “summer” more than coconut? Los Angeles-based Mandarin Coffee Stand recently announced its beverage for the season—a latte made with coconut cream, coconut water, single-origin Ethiopian espresso, a pinch of pink sea salt, and a touch of raw sugar. The combination of coconut water and coconut cream creates a beautiful, balanced texture—creamy and rich, yet still light and refreshing.

An iced drink in a plastic cup with lid and a Teofilo sticker. The drink is light brown with a light greenish cold foam floating on top.
Cold brew topped with pandan cold foam at Teofilo Coffee Company. Photo courtesy of Teofilo Coffee Company.

Teofilo Coffee Company: Barako Cold Brew with Pandan Foam

Teofilo Coffee Company specializes in single-origin coffee sourced from the Philippines, and they’re known for incorporating classic Filipino flavors like ube and pandan into their drinks. Their summer special is a beautiful fusion of kapeng barako—one of the most sought-after Philippine coffee varieties—and pandan, which adds a lovely herbaceous aroma and a subtle, vanilla-like sweetness.

Through their innovative summer drinks, these cafés are showing that you don’t have to limit yourself when it comes to seasonal beverages, and that there’s always something new that you can do with familiar ingredients.


Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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