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what: Shakerato

where: Piecewise Coffee Co., 2001 State St., Cayce

price: $3

contact: 803-594-2106, facebook.com/piecewisecoffee

Quality espresso drinks are a hallmark of any third-wave coffee shop worth it’s weight in beans. I sipped an excellent cortado on my first visit to Piecewise Coffee Co. during its soft opening, confirming that the Cayce newcomer can pull a damn fine shot. Searching for something out-of-the-box my second time around, I asked owner Stanton Scoma for a specialty drink suggestion. He hipped me to the Shakerato, an espresso and agave syrup cocktail he and his staff were working on perfecting for their full menu rollout. As a sucker for all things both espresso and agave, I gladly heeded his recommendation.

The Shakerato’s construction begins with a double shot of espresso, brewed using beans from Irmo-based roaster Loveland Coffee. The coffee and a small amount of organic blue agave syrup are then mixed up on ice in a cocktail shaker before being strained into a weighty bar-style double shot glass. The resulting chilled concoction pours a deep black-brown with a finger thick foam on top, looking more akin to a pint of Guinness than a delicate espresso shot.

As someone who typically drinks their coffee black, I worried the sweetness of the syrup might be off-putting. My fears were allayed at first taste. The creamy mouthfeel and the fruity notes of the agave blended beautifully with the rich, deeply roasted espresso flavor, with just enough sweetness up front to temper any discernible bitterness. The Shakerato has the frothy body of a milk-based espresso drink, with a pleasant, velvety texture, though it’s entirely vegan, which is a huge plus for any dairy-free caffeine fiends. The creamy head remained intact throughout the duration of the drink, making the last sip delightfully light and airy.

At only $3, Piecewise’s Shakerato delivers the espresso goods for considerably less money than the fanciest lattes out there, with no compromises on flavor or creativity. The shop celebrated its grand opening earlier this week and has extended its hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday), soso it’s even easier to try this fantastic coffee creation. 

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