Coffees, teas, smoothies and snacks are featured at Espresso by the Book, a quaint little coffee shop located in the north corner of the Gardner's Books' building. This coffee house is tastefully done with exposed vents on the ceiling and bricks and stone walls, which add a warmth about the place.
Espresso by the Book is small; only a few tables are available for relaxing with a good read and a good beverage.
I was here for lunch recently, and while the drink menu is plentiful, the snack selection for this midday meal was simple: sandwiches included Turkey & Swiss, Ham & Cheddar or Turkey, Ham, & Swiss and, with a bag of potato chips and a 16-oz. drink, the price is right at $2.99.
I ordered the Turkey, Ham and Swiss which came with a choice of mustard or mayo--I chose the mayo. Iceberg lettuce and tomato were also options to the sandwich. Even with the addition of lettuce and tomato, minor effort was put into assembling this sandwich that was built on a soft Kaiser-like roll. It was enjoyable, sitting here in almost complete solitude.
No doubt what most people come here for are the drinks, which are plentiful, suiting many tastes. An assortment of coffees are posted on a large chalkboard above the bar area; a variety of specialty teas, coffees and smoothies flood the board.
A closer look finds a varied selection of iced and hot teas featured, with the ever popular and good for you and the soul, Chai tea. A redundant misnomer, "Chai" itself means tea in Hindu. Spices (cinnamon, cloves, black or white peppercorns, cardamom, ginger) are added to a strong black tea, such as Darjeeling, Ceylon or Assam blend. (Black tea has been oxidized and has more tannins and, therefore, has a higher pungency.)
Some other featured teas include Red Berries, Turkish Apple, Vanilla Cream, Blood Orange, Strawberry Cream, Fruit Paradise and Black tea.
Hot Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate are also on the menu and perfect seasonal drinks. Smoothies, which can be a meal in a cup, include Strawberry Kiwi, Strawberry Banana, 4 Berry, Mango-Tropics and Wild Cherry Cranberry.
A few other snack items include Corn Dog ($1), Cheesecake ($1.50), Pumpkin Cheesecake ($2.50) and Turtle Cheesecake ($2), Ice cream, Brownies and Cookies.
And, for most all of these drinks, a shot or two of Torani Italian syrup may be added. More than 40 (which is just about half of the 80 available) different flavored syrups are available to alter the taste and mood of you and your drink.
Torani has helped to re-establish this current beverage renaissance of coffee houses across the country.
Closed on Monday and Tuesday, plan your trip to Espresso by the Book Wednesday through Sunday.
Espresso by the Book
4417 S. Mingo Rd.
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