There’s nothing like finding a hidden gem in an unfamiliar city that makes you feel right at home. At Jet City Espresso in Tampa, you literally are at home – the cozy coffee house is tucked into a corner of owner Jessica Glover’s home in Hyde Park.
Named one of Tampa’s Top 10 most interesting coffee shops by the Tampa Tribune, Jet City offers specialty coffee, tea, smoothies and homemade paleo treats. Guest seating is available in the form of a petite table for two inside and a collection of wooden benches and chairs on the outdoor porch.
Almond milk, apparently, is nearly impossible to foam, which must be why Starbucks doesn’t offer it. I presented a challenge, then, by ordering the “Almond Joy” latte – espresso, steamed milk, almond extract, coconut syrup and chocolate – with almond milk.
The latte was the foamiest I’d ever had; the barista even had to double-check to make sure she hadn’t used regular milk by mistake. The sweeteners were all-natural and not overwhelming. The result was that with every sip of chocolate I could also taste an rich undertone of espresso. Without a doubt the best coffee drink I’ve ever had.
Jet City is known amongst locals for its signature brew, the “Cafe Borgia”: espresso, steamed milk, a drizzle of honey, orange zest and a pinch of nutmeg. On my return to the coffee house, I ordered the drink with almond milk (the unending struggle of a lactose intolerant food critic). I found myself feeling sad, however, when the much admired latte came without any hint of foam. A crushing blow, since now my appetite for foamy almond milk had been whetted.
The sugar-and-spice combo had a depth of flavor, though. And after all, the shop couldn’t have earned a reputation for nothing. So I watched through squinty eyes as my mom sipped a Cafe Borgia with whole milk and a mass of foam. Her parents were dairy farmers, so she swears that I get the lactose intolerance from somewhere on my (chef) dad’s side.