The Macanese Iced Coffee From Vega And Special Xtra In SoMa

Hopped up on another fine iced coffee

The iced-coffee chronicles continue.

The chicory-laced New Orleans version from Blue Bottle is still ubiquitous, and we've recently extolled the thrills of the spiced brew from Sightglass.

Our new jolt-of-choice: the Macau iced coffee ($3.50) at Special Xtra and Vega, both in SoMa.

The inspiration for the drink came from co-owner Kirk Harper's trips to Macau, a Chinese territory on the country's southeastern edge. Harper's mother is Macanese, and the substantive beverage is a fixture of Macau's gambling culture, the mix of coffee and sweetened milk bolstering visitors to the area's countless casinos.

At Special Extra and Vega, baristas swap the typical brewed coffee for a ristretto espresso shot of Blue Bottle roasts, like the Hayes Valley Espresso or the 17 ft Ceiling. The shot is combined with whole milk and organic cane sugar syrup for a rich, sweet and enlivening blast.

Harper's distinctive brew will keep us plenty occupied–and alert–until we stumble on the next noteworthy iced-coffee innovation.

Special Xtra, 46 Minna St. (near 1st St.), Mon. through Fri., 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Vega, 1246 Folsom St. (near 8th St.), Mon. through Fri., 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.;