Lee Carter clears his throat before he calls out to the crowd of cafe customers: “I’ve got a Venti Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte with almond milk!”
Five Watt Coffee Northeast has been serving these 100-percent copyright-infringing PSLs -- made with pumpkin puree, cinnamon bitters, house-made cinnamon whip and “pending lawsuit” -- since opening in the Miller Textile Building a little less than a week ago. And judging by the grin sneaking onto Carter's face as he hollers its name, the gag clearly hasn’t gotten old just yet.
That’s lucky, because the Five Watt co-owner has three more to make before we sit down. They’ve been a hit -- as much of a hit as, well, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes. For a joke beverage, they’re damn delicious: sweet but not saccharine, zesty and complex thanks to the bitters and spices. And that sinfully rich cinnamon whip…
“I know, right?” Carter laughs. “All I want for breakfast is, like, that on toast.”
A penchant for playfulness that's backed by some seriously good drinks? Seems like the ethos of Five Watt’s first shop in Kingfield is fully intact at the new Northeast outpost. Like its older sibling, Five Watt NE specializes in coffee drinks made with cocktail bitters. Some of those signature items -- the Kingfield, for example -- are on the menu here, too.
Unlike its three-year-old sibling, Five Watt NE can kick those beverages up with a little honest-to-goodness alcohol. They’re serving three low-proof cocktails at the moment: a sake coffee, a nitro sour topped with texturizing cherry Pop Rocks, and one they’re calling “Secret of the Ooze.” (Thanks to lime-green Midori liqueur, “It looks like if you drink it you’ll turn into a Ninja Turtle.”)
Also unlike the Kingfield cafe, you can grab a hot lunch at Five Watt 2.0 starting at 11 each morning. Carter says the theme there is “things you ate when you were seven” -- hot dogs, paninis, a lox sandwich. There’s a more robust breakfast menu launching soon, too. (So who knows? Maybe cinnamon whip on toast will make the cut.)
And as for that pending pumpkin legal action? Carter says there’s been nothing from the Starbucks camp yet. Even if there is, he has a plan to keep the drink on the menu: “I’m just gonna change it to the Pumpkin Spice Lawsuit.”