Imagine this: you're scrolling through Instagram and you come across a photo of food that makes your mouth water, your mind wander, and your stomach hunger.
Well, that's pretty much my life.
When I'm not posting on my own page, I'm scrolling for inspo, and sometimes that inspo takes me to try some unusual foods and things to do -- yolo, right?
Anyways, that's where today's blog post is headed: another food review! Well, drink, actually.
There's a seriously hidden cafe in Tampa harboring a secret drink perfect for your inner goth.
Chocolate Pi cafe, which can only be described as an Instagrammer's heaven on earth, has an array of delicious menu items to please any palate, but their coffee creations are undoubtedly among their best sellers.
Aptly named The Brushed Suede, their charcoal glitter latte is what caught my eye and sent me on a mission to try this spot out.
The glitter latte sensation has been taking over social media by storm, from rainbow unicorn lattes with cotton candy and other unicorn-like toppings to the complete opposite like this minimalist black brushed suede one, I knew I had to try it.
But that's not all: they also have a strawberry latte topped with dried strawberry bits and rainbow sprinkles, and I wasn't going to leave without sampling that too.
So I made it my goal last weekend to pack up the BF and meet up with a couple friends for a coffee date.
The cafe is located in a northern Tampa neighborhood, and it's super easy to miss. I happened to recognize the area only because it was right next to Ichicoro, a popular ramen eatery, but otherwise the cafe was unsuspectingly tucked away and would never have stood out unless to me from the outside.
Parking wasn't bad, but we didn't go at prime time either. There is a very small free parking lot next to the cafe for customers, but I know it fills up quickly. There is on street parking around the local neighborhoods, so be prepared to walk if needed.
The inside of the cafe was homey and chic. Dimly lit and carefully decorated with antiques, it had far more character and personality than any of your local Starbucks.
While the decor was enticing, the highlight was definitely the display cases full of colorful desserts including full cakes, cookies, and pastries.
We ordered a pastry and one of each macaron to pair with what we came for. The macarons were $2.50 each, and each of the lattes were $5.
We took a seat and admired the unusual surroundings, patiently awaiting our drinks.
The cafe wasn't overly busy, but there was a steady stream of customers coming in and out; some who had ordered cakes, and others who were there to do what we did.
Seating was plentiful and well distanced, which was great because there was no option to eat outside as it was raining.
After what seemed like forever -- more realistically about 5 minutes -- our coffees were served.
Ever so delicately we walked them back to the table, sure not to spill a drop before we could take photos.
The glitter of the black suede sparkled brightly under the lights as we carefully arranged them for a quick photoshoot before digging in. It was like the place was modeled for Instagrammers in mind because everything about it -- from the food to the decor -- was perfectly photogenic.
But enough about the looks, here's my review of the taste: I sampled the strawberry latte first.
It was notably larger than the suede, and it had a tasteful hint of strawberry. It wasn't bitter, but it also wasn't as sweet as I would have assumed a strawberry latte would be, nor did it have a strong coffee flavor. The overall taste was OK -- but nothing to really write home about. I think the appeal was more about the latte art than the actual flavor itself. That being said, I would definitely have another.
I moved on to the black suede, and I'm not sure if my tastebuds were biased after trying the strawberry one first, but the drink also only had a hint of it's main ingredient, charcoal, and I think this flavor would be an acquired taste for many. Again, the drink was not very sweet, but it's certainly not your average, cheap run-of-the-mill Dunkin Donuts syrup-flavored coffee. Overall it wasn't bad, just interesting and unusual. Again I'm going to say that personally, the appeal for me here was the presentation.
Portion sizes were on the smaller side, but appropriate for the price, presentation, and ingredients.
While neither of the drinks were really what I expected in taste, out of the two, I preferred the strawberry latte because it gave me a "strawberry and cream" vibe, but the charcoal one really stole the show in appearance.
If I can give any word of advice before you try Chocolate Pi's specialty lattes: go with an open mind and no expectations on taste (you can have all the expectations on presentation, though.) It's likely not going to be like what you're used to getting at Starbucks, but it's also not something Starbucks could match up to quality-wise.
It's a trade off, and one definitely worth making. Plus, it'll totally make all your coworkers jealous when you show up to the office with a sparkling latte.
Even if coffee isn't a highlight for you, this secret spot is totally worth checking out when you feel the need for adventure and a sugar rush.