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Simple to Extremely Complex - Where Does Your Coffee Order Fall?

Up until the past few years most coffee drink orders have been fairly simple with no more than a pump or two of flavored syrups, a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce, and either milk or one of a handful of milk substitutes. Topping with whipped cream was about as far as anything went. Today, you can order a coffee drink that has everything AND the kitchen sink added to it. In the meantime, the pandemic has been keeping everyone stuck at home adding to their desire to head back out into the world for some semblance of normalcy.

complex coffee drinks

Living vicariously through strangers on the internet has become a common pastime and grabbing a coffee hasn't escaped the voyeuristic treatment. In the interest of getting to viral video or image status, some social media types are pulling out all the stops. A simple cup of coffee no longer seems to satisfy those at home. Coffee orders are getting progressively more intricate.

A simple, well-brewed cup of coffee or a full-flavored iced coffee or a chilling frappuccino isn't nearly visually appealing enough to catch someone's attention while scrolling through Instagram and TikTok. Drinks need to be in fancy mugs and topped with all kinds of whipped creams, syrups, and sprinkles just to get the attention the poster is craving.

This has led to several off-menu drinks being created by baristas as well as a plethora of overly complex drinks being requested by customers. This trend is likely attributable to the recent fancy drinks certain coffee shops have advertised in the past. The sparkly Unicorn and Mermaid Frappuccinos have opened a door for more drinks to follow suit. Drinks based on characters from movies like Nightmare Before Christmas and Elf have also added to the ideas informing some of these drink orders. Bright colors and mouth-puckering flavors have taught customers that, whatever they feel they need to do to gain attention is fair play.

We've all seen the viral pictures of coffee drinks with up to 30 requested ingredients (with some drinks not even fitting into a cup!). Though the baristas may be occasionally brought to tears of frustration with these intricate drinks, the coffee shop doubled down on its stance that the customer is welcome to create as fancy a drink as their heart can come up with.

Where do you fall along the fancy coffee spectrum? Personally, if I'm not enjoying a simple decaf iced chai latte, my choice is a decaf iced raspberry mocha. I've tried the Unicorn (not my cup of tea) and I've tried the caramel ribbon crunch (yummy!) but that's about it. I prefer to stay on the side of simplicity.

If you order more complex coffees, is that something you only do when going to the café or would you make the same intricate coffees at home? With all the flavoring syrups available and your opportunity to have complete control over the whipped cream and the toppings and mix-ins, have you experimented at home? For some recipes that you can try, head over to our recipe pages and have fun!

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