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Black Cat Coffee: Barista Throwdown

Black Cat Coffee House made itself known to us over a year ago when the Sunday morning waiting line a few doors down at breakfast hotspot Over Easy spilled out through the front doors. While at the end of the long line of groggy eyed breakfast warriors, we were smack dab in front of Black Cat's doors, the inviting cat on the logo, along with wafting scent of coffee, beckoned entry.

See also:Black Cat Coffee House (Meow!) Open for Business

The Black Cat's drink menu hosts a usual mix of coffee and tea beverages, Italian sodas, smoothies and the like. We asked the two baristas on the clock, Patrick Hall and Amanda Martin, to make us one drink that they thoroughly enjoy preparing. The results: An icy sweet blended combo and a fruity, refreshing iced tea.

Patrick whipped up the Blended Coffee option on the menu of ice blended drinks, adding chocolate, mixing it's gooey goodness with coffee, milk and ice for one of those sinful creations that make us frustrated when someone in front of us orders one while we just want to grab a plain old cup of hot java. But we secretly covet them for their sheer decadent deliciousness. He topped the drink with whipped cream and then used some artful and strategic moves to zip chocolate through the inside of the cup, creating a spidery shadow around the drink.

Perhaps a little less sinful but no less refreshing was Amanda's iced tea. After brewing a cup using both blackberry and pomegranate grains, she added the same flavors in syrup form, as well as some honey that she'd dissolved in hot water. Though those syrups can be icky sweet and overwhelming, she used just enough to enhance the more subtle flavors achieved from steeping the grains. She is a fan of experimentation and likes to see what can be done with teas since creating coffee concoctions is something that universally gets a lot of play. The Black Cat allows guests to pick their tea grain(s) for hot or iced choices and are happy to take requests for add-ins.

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The spot's menu also helps satisfy hunger pangs with a healthy list of sandwiches and pastries.

A couple facts about baristas Patrick Hall and Amanda Martin:

1.Patrick is an Arcadia High sophomore who is thinking about ASU, Oregon State or UCLA for the ultimate college experience. 2. Amanda is a high school grad who also works at an animal grooming shop and is planning a potential career as a vet tech. 3. Patrick gets jazzed about any activity he can do on a board; skateboarding, snowboarding and the like. 4.Amanda gets her outdoors fix with some hiking and camping trips.

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