Dish List: Roasting Water

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Courtesy of Kyle Weik

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for innovative new ways of eating. Whether it’s a café I stumble upon through Tumblr or by word of mouth, experimenting with eateries is one of my favorite pastimes. But recently, I’ve been stuck in a drought of inspiration: outings to Tastea just aren’t cutting it anymore. Luckily, my sister was scrolling through Instagram this past week and showed me a picture that ended my search. My new target? Roasting Water.

Nestled on the corner of Westminster Boulevard lies Roasting Water, a coffee and tea shop that is the newest hotspot for hip pictures and social media posts. As I walked into the shop with my mom and sister, I noticed two things: the line and the size of the shop. If you’re looking to grab a drink and sit down, this might not be your best choice, as most customers take their drinks to-go. Despite being stuck in the doorway of the shop, the cashier kept it moving, which gave me time to sift through their menu, which has an assortment of fruit teas, coffees and smoothies.

Aside from the elaborate menu, the decor of the shop commanded my attention. Vintage wooden shelves lined with a multitude of teas adorned the walls and dozens of coffee mugs with quirky graphics and designs hung from wooden pegs on the entire right side of the wall. A string of lightbulbs spanned from one end of the shop to the next, illuminating the wired birdcages filled with flowers that hung from the ceiling. Customers occupied velvet chairs and placed their drinks on round tables that were strategically placed throughout the store in an effort to utilize the small space.

In the end, I decided on the Café Sua Da, their own take on Vietnamese iced coffee, while my sister settled for their Hot Passion, an iced passion fruit tea with basil seeds, kumquats, orange slices and an add on of honey aloe, and my mom picked the Mocha Café, a combination of espresso and mocha with a layer of sea salt foam.

Once my name was called, I walked up to the counter to claim my drink and  immediately understood why so many people were drawn to this shop. All three drinks were packaged in glass bottles with cork tops to prevent spillage. “Roasting Water” was stamped onto the side of the bottle in flowery handwriting along with their logo. The back of the bottle also had a satirical nutrition facts label whose amount of calories says, “Who’s Counting?” and a snarky “Tell your friends to get their own” in parentheses underneath servings per container.  Not only do they serve the drinks in bottles, but they allow you to take them home without extra charge. They even provide you with sturdy bags if you order more than two drinks.

The attention to detail was a huge bonus for me, but I was skeptical as to whether the quality of their products would measure up to the aesthetic appeal. I uncorked my drink and took a sip. I was not disappointed. The Café Sua Da wasn’t watered down like Vietnamese coffees I’ve had in the past; its full-bodied flavor was in perfect balance with the condensed milk and even had some sea salt foam that I wasn’t expecting, adding another layer of richness. The Hot Passion was a refreshing departure from my coffee, as it wasn’t too sweet and had underlying notes of citrus and passionfruit. The basil seeds were an unusual but welcomed texture as was the honey aloe, although the overall quality of the tea lacked a strong flavor. The Mocha Café had a little too much chocolate for my taste, but it was still a solid choice for those who appreciate bold caffeinated drinks that will give you an afternoon pick-me-up.

In addition to serving quality beverages, Roasting Water is an active user of social media. Upon posting a picture to Instagram and tagging them, my sister immediately got a like and comment from Roasting Water’s profile. They also frequently hold giveaways for their customers if they post a picture and tag the shop, the most recent prize being Beats by Dre.

While I do acknowledge that this place is an Instagram trap for young people, their dedication to producing tasty drinks as well as their commitment to customer service and engagement all add to the appeal of Roasting Water that legitimizes it as an inspiring new take on coffee and tea.