Story by Beth Stallings

Rarely do hardlined black coffee drinkers (like myself) and flavored-latte superfans find a caffeinated drink on which they can agree. The latest seasonal signature beverage from Mission Coffee Co.—the Salted Maple Cortado—will make you a believer that middle ground can always be found.

The Salted Maple Cortado is as complex as a well-balanced cocktail. Every ingredient working in sync, neither too much or too little of each, for a cortado (equal parts espresso and steamed milk) that’s barely sweet—there’s more of a maple essence than cloying syrup flavor—but not so much that you can’t taste Mission’s Kodiak espresso blend. Served in a rocks glass, it’s also fun to drink and has the bouncy texture of a half-melted milkshake.

That precision (expect to wait as long for this corado as you would for a Manhattan at a craft cocktail bar) is no accident, says cortado creator Peter Shankland. Maple syrup is weighed in each glass and topped with a shake of cinnamon. Espresso is extracted directly into the glass, and then stirred to combine all three flavors. Then Steamed Hartzler Dairy milk is poured overtop and the cortado is finished with a light sprinkle of salt. “It’s added to the top to give you a little bit of texture,” says Shankland, Mission’s quality control manager and production specialist. “You catch it on your lips, and not really on  your palate—so you’re not hit with that salty flavor. It’s more of a balancing factor.”

The Salted Maple Cortado is just one concoction in an ongoing seasonal signature beverage lineup at the Short North coffee shop. It’s summer predecessor—the Coffee Cold Fashioned, a nonalcoholic riff on the classic cocktail made with cold brew coffee, bitters, simple syrup, Luxardo cherry and an orange peel—was a hit. And their fall iteration is no slouch. “The goal is to serve things that are coffee focused and not so complicated that they can’t be approached easily,” Shankland says. “The drinks we’ve served so far, and going forward, all do that very well.”

While we’ll hate to see the sweet-bitter cortado go, we’re equally intrigued to see what will come next in time for winter at Mission.

Mission Coffee Co.

11 Price Ave., Short North