For most baristas, signature beverages are the provenance of barista competitions, often destined for judges to inspect, rather than customers to enjoy. Bobak Roshan has a pretty freewheeling approach when it comes to sig drinks at Demitasse, his growing specialty coffee company, with branches in Little Tokyo and Santa Monica and more locations in the works.
Demitasse generally features a drink for a few months before making a switch. In the past, Demitasse has served a date latte, ginger latte, orange thyme cardamom latte, rosemary maple latte, and pistachio rose latte. “We’ve also had some random drinks or barista sig drinks that are totally off the wall,” Roshan said. “For example I used to bring in a cold smoker and smoke milk and make a smoked milk and maple syrup latte. Other baristas have done some pretty crazy things, too.” The latest beverage to make the cut isn’t so wild, which may be why I found the Black Sesame Lemongrass Latte ($5) so enjoyable. Roshan takes nutty black sesame paste, thins it out with water and adds simple syrup, lemongrass extract, a double shot of Demitasse brand espresso, and rich Straus Family Creamery whole milk. I enjoyed the drink, which didn’t even need cold-smoked milk to make it hum.