Originating in Thailand or Australia, the bleu (blue) latte is a uniquely crafted drink that surely attracts attention. Usually served without espresso, the bleu latte is made a few different ways.
The first recipe uses Butterfly-Pea Flower tea from Thailand. This unique caffeine-free herbal tea has been used for centuries throughout Southeast Asia and only recently made its way to your doorstep. The leaves are made into a powder and easily added to your latte using the same method as matcha. Similar to matcha, the Butterfly-Pea Flower comes action-packed with a lot of antioxidants. The taste will be somewhat earthy yet mostly lacking in flavor. Adding sweetener or flavor such as lavender or mint is nice. One interesting aspect of this herbal tea is the color changes based on the pH level.
Blue spirulina is the next way you can enjoy your blue latte. Typically served in Australia, the blue spirulina, a blue algae powder, has a distinct aroma: Seaweed. This is expected since the blue spirulina is the cousin of the widely popular green spirulina, which has a dominant taste when added to almost anything. This specific recipe calls for a coconut base with ginger and lemon. I would recommend oat or almond milk as an alternative. The flavor will be different than anything you have ever tasted, so be prepared.
The last blue latte recipe uses blue curacao syrup, bringing color to the white chocolate milk, creating a unique mix of flavors that is great for the winter and white chocolate lovers. Traditionally, blue curacao is made from the dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit, grown on Curacao's southern Caribbean island, and once again the same Butterfly-Pea Flower in Southeast Asia to give a more adult drink for coffee lovers. Yet Monin offers an alcohol-free option. Both syrups have an orange taste because of how the syrup it's made, and just like the recipes, are caffeine-free drink to enjoy for the winter.
If you ever wanted an espresso shot that was bitter than your standard, then the Lungo is what you are looking for. Also known as Cafe Alonge in France, the Lungo is a unique adaptation to an espresso shot because of how it is pulled. Meaning long, Lungo refers to a longer pull than usual, resulting in a larger shot using a single size shot (2 oz.) of coffee grinds. An extended pull pushes more water through the grounds resulting in a more bitter shot because of the lengthened exposure to the shot. Remember, longer pulls result in bitter tasting espresso while under-extracted pull results in a sour-tasting shot. This said the flavor is also lighter because there is more water added. Some people relate this to an Americano, yet the flavor is less than an Americano, and the bitterness and strength of caffeine is more robust.
At some coffee shops, you will notice that baristas use tampers. Tampers are used to pack espresso grounds into the portafilter before extraction by an espresso machine. The idea is when you pack the grounds evenly every time, you can produce a quality espresso shot. This makes it harder for the water to go through the coffee grounds, allowing for a more even extraction. Tampers are easy to use, and when used the right way, helps produce amazing shots. There are four types of tampers: Handle, puck, dual-head, and weight-calibrated.
The handle tampers are the most common style of tamper. Think of an ink stamp that you have used before. Nice wooden, rubber, or metal handle with a flat base allowing you to apply more pressure when tamping. This one is great for home use. The puck tamper looks like, you guessed it, a hockey puck, and somewhat similar to an espresso distribution tool. This tamper is flat on the top, and you can apply pressure with the palm of your hand or twist and apply pressure downward. The dual-head or double-sided tamper looks similar to the handle tamper, yet has a smaller and larger flat base. This is nice if you have portafilters that are of different sizes. The fancies of the tampers are the weight-calibrated tampers. These tampers are specifically made to apply a consistent amount of pressure to ensure every time. Some espresso machines and grinders come with tampers, and they are useful if you are making your casual coffee cup at home. Expect to pay above $35 for a high-level tamper, yet note that one may not be necessary in the beginning. I suggest a handle tamper to start.
Learning about coffee shouldn't be difficult or complicated
We created Simple Coffee Culture to help you navigate the coffee landscape.