Raus Coffee will debut its newest iced espresso drink, the Roman Navel, at the opening of the Westport Farmers’ Market on May 23. The new drink was inspired by a trip to Seattle’s Café Vita, where Raus Coffee founder Donny Raus became smitten with the Medici, an espresso-based chocolate and orange drink. The success of the flavor combination compelled him to recreate it using his own approach. The Roman Navel is the third product in Raus’s award-winning espresso product line.
Donny and I met recently at the soon-to-open Steam Coffee Bar in Westport, so he could give me a sample of this newest obsession. So I had a baseline, I also grabbed his other two iced espresso-based drinks, the Roman Kiss and (my old personal stand-by) the Cold Roman.
I tend toward coffee purity. An espresso (or macchiato if I’m feeling a hint of cream) is my ideal method of caffeine delivery. But by the summer, iced coffee creeps its way into my rotation and although I’ve tried cold brew method for iced coffee, I rarely get my act together and almost always order one out. This is where I have come to know Raus Coffee all too well.
The Cold Roman is the purist’s answer for iced coffee (many often add cream, or a bit more sweetener to taste). It’s also been my go-to treat each time I visit the Westport Farmers Market. A Cold Roman in hand is the perfect side-kick for perusing the summer market. Shake it with some cream and pour it over ice to “activate” it, as Raus is fond of demonstrating, and the drink gets a nice frothy finish, going from iced coffee to another level altogether.
The base of the Roman Navel is Raus’s combination of espresso, raw sugar and what he refers to as “a proprietry blend of natural ingredients.” From there, a scant amount of cocoa, vanilla and orange essence is added to elevate the drink just short of guilty pleasure.
The sweetest and smoothest of the three, the Roman Kiss is a combination of espresso and more than a hint of hazelnut and chocolate, thanks to the addition of Nutella. I like it, but it is no Roman Navel. For you hazelnut fans out there, this could be your jam.
Thanks to a certain Seattle-based coffee bar chain, we are all familiar with 20-syllable coffee drinks. Raus’s Cold Roman, Roman Navel and even the Roman Kiss steer clear of that cloying territory, and strike a perfect balance of quality roasted espresso beans and natural ingredients. Explaining his target market and unique approach, Donny shared these words of wisdom for his flagship beverage and its newer brethren: "For indulgence seeking caffeine drinkers, Cold Roman is a smooth and delicious treat. The Cold Roman's unique roasting combined with all natural ingredients results in its signature taste."
Raus Coffee and Raus bottled espresso drinks are available at wilton village market, walter stewart market, the pantry on the post road, palmers in darien and Westport Gamrers Market. For more information visit http://www.rauscoffee.com/.