~ The buzz is building for Madison's first Caffeine Crawl, & we're talking shop with the route stops ~
What would you recommend ordering for first-time customers? One of our most popular teas is our Masala Chai, which we offer in loose leaf tea bags and as a micro-brewed concentrate that needs only to be paired one-to-one with the milk of your choice. Masala Chai, or “mixed spice tea,” is a rich spiced tea latte traditional to South Asia. Masala Chai is to India as apple pie is to the US – everyone’s grandmother has a secret recipe that is better than all others. We source and curate the finest teas, herbs and spices at peak season, which are chopped, crushed or ground to release their essential characters, and combined in micro-batch blends to harmonize for flavor complexity. Paired with any type of milk, hot or cold, we’re sure that our secret recipe is grandmother approved.
What's one of the most unique or interesting things about your company? Since 1997, Rishi Tea has led the industry in sourcing organic teas and exotic botanicals of extraordinary character. This mission carries us around the globe every year at peak seasons to work and taste side-by-side with growers in the fields. Discovering the many hidden gems of their traditional cultures inspires our blends and invigorates our passion for the culinary arts. We are firm believers in the many faces of tea – not only as a beverage but as a base for mixology, baking and savory culinary applications. In fact, we have an on-staff chef at Rishi who is daily building our repertoire of recipes that incorporate our fine teas and botanicals. Much as we enjoy drinking tea all day, we also enjoy being the test kitchen for her creations.
What's coming up that you are excited about? We debuted Turmeric Ginger Chai Concentrate in 2016 as an extension to our tea concentrate line. This organic, naturally caffeine-free botanical elixir draws inspiration from Ayurvedic herbalists, and is micro-brewed into a versatile concentrate format to tap into the creativity of modern baristas and mixologists alike. The recent re-discovery and surging popularity of turmeric root has everyone from yoga instructors to wellness coaches praising the natural healing properties of the plant. Turmeric Ginger Chai Concentrate appeals to organic, healthy lifestyle shoppers who appreciate simple, transparent ingredients lists. With this concentrate, we expect to find inspiring new recipes at every turn - from "golden milk" style chais to refreshing turmeric tonics and even cocktails - our “Milwaukee Mule” has been the hit at culinary festivals throughout the US this year.
~ Heather Torrey, Marketing Communications Manager
What would you recommend ordering for first-time customers? Depends what you like, we locally roast our own coffee and espresso so its extremely fresh. If you like something sweeter and unique I would go for a Honey Lavender Latte or one of our Seasonal Drinks - The Darcy Effect is quite lovely. The Affagato Brillo is a perfect mix of Alcohol, espresso and locally-made ice cream. For Tea drinkers, a nice Rishi Turmeric Ginger tea or Iced blueberry tea. For lunch I would get the Pulled Pork Quesadilla.
What's one of the most unique or interesting things about Barriques? Not only do we serve your favorite caffeinated drinks of coffee and tea, we also offer wine by the glass, alcoholic coffee drinks and beer on tap.
What's coming up that you are excited about? In August our Featured drink is a Salted caramel Frappe, breakfast quiches are new to our menu, and our brewed coffee of the month for August is one of our favorites - Kenya Top Cup!
~ Randi Simon, Operations Manager
What would you recommend ordering for first-time customers? For first timers to Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, we recommend the Sea Salt Caramels! These are far and away our best selling item. We take our signature soft caramel, cover it in single origin Colombian dark chocolate and finish with sprinkle of grey sea salt to create the perfect sweet and salty treat.
What's one of the most unique or interesting things about Gail Ambrosius? We specialize in creating unique and exciting truffle pairings using single origin dark chocolate sourced by Gail herself. Some of our offerings include: lemongrass ginger, cinnamon-cayenne, shiitake mushroom, and locally produced Just Coffee espresso!
What's coming up that you are excited about? We are very excited to be moving into a larger location next spring! On the Caffeine Crawl you will notice a building going up directly across the street from our current location - that will be the future home of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. We love our little shop but it is just that, little! Our new space will be about 1500 sq feet larger than our current shop; this extra space will allow for a more spacious retail area, a much expanded kitchen, three walk-in coolers, and an employee break room (that doesn't double as a storage area). Our target opening is May 1st, 2017.
~ Isaac May, General Manager
What would you recommend ordering for first-time customers? Definitely our Nitro Cold Press, it’s the best in the city! If you are an espresso drinker, a double shot of the Anodyne Mind Tonic Espresso is a beautiful flavor experience as well!
What's one of the most unique or interesting things about Crescendo? Crescendo is a true Mom and Pop shop! Our 1 year old can even be found cruising around the tables and greeting customers. We are huge coffee nerds and are passionate about customer experience, so it feels like you are walking into our living room.
What's coming up that you are excited about? This summer, we started serving Calliope Ice cream and man, oh man, it is a match made in heaven. We are currently serving Lemon Lavender Affogatos and Graham Cracker Nitro Floats. I will always be excited about this.
~ Cait Sirianni, Owner & Manager
What would you recommend ordering for first-time customers? We are serving a cold brew spritzer right now that's quite refreshing. It's cold brew coffee and demerara simple syrup, topped with seltzer water.
What's one of the most unique or interesting things about your company? Our cafe is in a shared space with Ritual Barbers and we've designed the cafe side as a bar instead of a more traditional counter setup. We're trying to bypass the more transactional feel of many cafés and create a space where customers can sit and chat with the barista or other customers in a more relaxed setting. We also use the shared space to host musical performances and other events.
What's coming up that you are excited about? We've just submitted the paperwork and fees to get our liquor license in partnership with Ritual Barbers. We're excited to extend our hours on the weekends, have more live music and performances as well as serve some coffee cocktails we've been working on in addition to our takes on some classics.
~ Daniel Finkelstein, Owner/Operator
Part 2 coming soon . . .