unicorn frappucino

There was plenty about 2017 to keep us lying awake at night, but thankfully some of what caused those sleepless nights was delicious (if sometimes a little extra) coffee drinks, fads, and occasionally wacky new products. Before we make the resolution to cut down on caffeine and whipped cream (and give up after a week and a half), let’s look back on some of what was tasty and trendy in coffee—and not coffee—the past 12 months.

Wine Coffee

melot wine-infused coffee

Uncommon Goods

Let’s face it, 2017 has been pretty rough on just about everybody, what with the natural disasters, the political disasters, the Hollywood disasters, the death of Tom Petty—we could all use a drink right about now. Maybe other years it won’t be appropriate to wake up with a glass of Merlot, but for the next couple of weeks, all bets are off. Wine-infused coffee made something of a splash this year, and if 2018 doesn’t shape up we may have to hit the harder stuff come January. Vodka cappuccino, anyone?

Draft Lattes

We can put a man on the moon, and we can put a latte in a can. Well, we can’t, but Philadelphia-based roaster La Colombe can, and there’s no sign of slowing down this can-can extrava-can-za. During the autumn, the company released a pumpkin-spice version of its classic chilled ready-to-drink treat, and now they’ve rolled out a festive peppermint mocha in addition to original and vanilla, and an “extra coffee” version that puts a bit of extra bang into your favorite breakfast bev.

Coffee Lemonade, aka the Laura Palmer

Laura Palmer coffee lemonade

The Nut-Free Vegan

The “Twin Peaks” revival did more than glue millions of pie-obsessed fans to their Netflix accounts—it also inspired some damn fine coffee drinks, including the “Laura Palmer” that started popping up on menus at cafés all over. A twist on the half-lemonade-half-iced-tea drink favored by golf star Arnold Palmer, the Laura Palmer naturally had to include coffee—and it’s not nearly as weird as you’d think. (Or as weird as the show.)

The $601 Coffee

Esmeralda Geisha, worl's most expensive coffee

The Coffee Academics

Expensive coffee is barely news anymore, but when coffee is this expensive, it turns heads all over the world. This past summer, a coffee called Geisha from the Panamanian farm Hacienda La Esmeralda sold at auction for $601 USD per pound green, or unroasted. (For reference, most coffees sell for between $3–$6 green.) The lot was a special natural process, meaning the coffee fruit was allowed to completely dry on the beans before they were removed, and it was reputed to taste like lychee fruit, fresh flowers, and peach. Hong Kong roaster The Coffee Academics offered a very small batch of this coffee—marketed as “the Best and Most Expensive Coffee in the World”—for sale at what was the USD equivalent of about $63 for 15 grams. (That’s barely enough to make one standard 10-ounce cup of coffee, by the way.) Better start saving up for next year!

Unicorn Frappuccino

homemade unicorn frappucino

Cheeky Kitchen

Not to burst any glitter bubbles or anything, but the coffee in this drink is just as fictitious as the creature it’s named for—there’s none whatsoever in the ingredients. That said, it did cause a Millennial stampede at Starbucks, a company which—like every other coffee brand on earth—has been trying for years to lure younger people into the lines and into a latte addiction. Though the limited edition beverage was only available in spring, you can make your own version (sans coffee, of course—unless you want to get truly wild) at home. Added bonus: No need to tip, and the barista won’t totally mispronounce your name!

Charcoal Latte

detox charcoal latte

Catching Seeds

Another no-coffee coffee trend was the deep dark gothy goodness known as a “charcoal latte,” a drink that combines warm steamed milk or nondairy milk with activated charcoal and a bit of  sweetener for a “detoxifying cleanse” that hopefully takes more junk out of the body than it puts in. Perfect for sitting in a darkened room, listening to sad music, and telling people that you drink black on the outside because black is how you feel on the inside.

Check out what we’ll be sipping in 2018 too.

Header image courtesy of Cheeky Kitchen.

Erin Meister (you can just call her "Meister") is both a longtime journalist and a coffee professional with nearly two decades' experience. She has written about food, coffee, film, travel, music, culture, and celebrity for The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Rachael Ray Every Day, Saveur.com, Time Out NY, Chickpea Magazine, Food & Wine's FWx.com, BUST magazine, Barista Magazine, and more. She is the author of the brand-new book "New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History (The History Press, 2017)".
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