As February approaches, cherry blossoms begin their legendary to bloom. Although there is an impressive number of cherry blossom trees in Washington DC (estimates show over three thousand), and the respectful and exclusive collection in the St Louis Botanical Garden (with over one hundred unique tree varietals), most know about the cherry blossoms that blanket Japan throughout the spring. Known as sakura blossoms, these cherry blossom trees bring so much color and joy to those who get the opportunity to experience them. As the season progresses, these blossoms are carefully collected and made into tea, and the best comes from Kyoto. They are either brewed and enjoyed as a tea or made into milk, thus creating the Cherry Blossom Latte. A few alternative recipes add white chocolate to express different flavors. Typically the sakura blossoms taste like cherries or strawberries and should be very subtle. If it is too strong, they may have used too much sugar.
For just under a decade, matcha has gained popularity with latte lovers. The vibrant green color, balanced caffeine band, and antioxidant properties make it a favorite among coffee lovers who want a healthier alternative to espresso.
The Cacao latte is a delicious alternative that gives you natural energy and keeps you well balanced. Cacao is packed with antioxidants and magnesium that will help reduce stress. Put these two together, and you have a fantastic superfood latte called the Mocha Matcha Latte, or Camo Latte.
The combination of natural cacao and high-quality matcha gives an excellent flavor profile and provides a sustained and balanced energy. This latte is perfect for those who want to reduce their coffee intake, still enjoy their latte and have a morning or afternoon pick me up. Although you can enjoy this with A2 whole milk, this latte is best enjoyed with oat milk in the winter.
December 3rd is National Peppermint Latte Day and may be new to many people. When you think about it, December is a great time to enjoy peppermint. First, peppermint is a hybrid plant between spearmint and watermint, creating its signature taste and menthol cooling flavor that is great during the winter.
Peppermint is an excellent complement to coffee, hot chocolate, and milk, and who can forget the candy cane. It was only a matter of time to add peppermint to a latte as a winter treat, which became popular thanks to that well-known "Star" coffee house in 2002.
To be upfront, we have no clue currently why December 3rd is National Peppermint Latte Day, and when we do, we will update this post. Yet, after a hectic Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, a peppermint latte would be a nice treat to enjoy after all that shopping.
The golden latte, also known as a turmeric latte or Masala Haldi Doodh, slowly introduced itself into coffee shops and cafes over the past few years. The appealing golden color, along with its immune-boosting health benefits, make it an excellent option for the fall and winter months. Made from the highly healthy turmeric root, golden lattes are indeed a nice change from the traditional favorites. That said, here are four amazing benefits to the golden latte.
Milk Helps Absorb Turmeric: There are many ways to consume turmeric, and milk happens to be one of the best ways. On its own, turmeric has a low absorption rate, so when it is consumed as a tea, you may not bet all the benefits. Yet when paired with milk, particularly cows and goats milk, turmeric is absorbed much better by the body. These animals provide the right amount of protein and fat that deliver turmeric efficiently.
Essential Minerals. Two surprising minerals that turmeric has are Iron and Magnesium. Iron helps regulate the body's temperature, digestion, and energy. Additionally, iron is also responsible for bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. Magnesium has a variety of benefits, including preventing high blood pressure and helping with multiple necessary chemical reactions in the body that help with energy creation, gene maintenance, and protein creation from amino acids.
Contains Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Antiviral Benefits: Studies show that turmeric and other ingredients commonly paired with a golden latte carry these three benefits. Since turmeric has a high amount of antioxidants, it is fantastic to give your immune system a boost in the colder months. It is suggested to take turmeric a few days a week, if not daily, to help your body in the long term.
Possibly Prevents Cancer. Let's be clear, It will take more than a turmeric latte to prevent cancer. However, curcumin (turmeric and curcumin hang out together all the time) in studies has shown to inhibit the growth of many types of cancer. Here are just a few: bone, breast, brain, kidney, leukemia, pancreatic, and prostate.
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 there was a Mount Rushmore of lattes, the lavender latte would be on it. Lavender lattes are best known for those crisp spring mornings or cloudy days that call for a cozy blanket or your favorite hoodie and a Spotify playlist. There is something about lavender's fragrance that puts us at ease and enjoying it in a drink is a plus. There are different ways you can make a lavender latte. Some cafes only add vanilla to their latte, while others only add espresso, and there are a few that add both. If you are really adventurous, substitute espresso for earl grey or chamomile tea. That is a unique and enjoyable pair of flavors. The key is the quality of the lavender. The fresher the lavender you have the better the taste. Organic is a huge plus. Either way, the next time you are at your favorite cafe, if they have the lavender latte, give it a try.
Matcha has emerged on the coffee scene and became a favorite choice for latte lovers. Coming from Japan, matcha is stoneground tea leaves that come in a powdered form that you drink when you add water. The benefits of drinking matcha this way is that you get more antioxidants than any other tea. Matcha is a great source of caffeine and unlike coffee and other caffeine drinks, matcha contains L-theanine, which helps you maintain a prolonged calm and alert state of mind without the caffeine crash. Matcha is known to fight cancer help with heart disease and improve brain health. Some even claim that it helps them multitask a lot better.
Most of us have been introduced to this health wonder when enjoying a matcha latte at our local coffee shop. They simply replace your espresso with matcha and add the milk of your choice. Something to remember is that when you add milk to matcha, you absorb far less of the nutrients because milk binds easily with antioxidants, thus neutralizing a lot of the benefits.
The caffe latte is the most customizable espresso drink of all time. They come in so many flavors and seasonal options that the choices seem endless. Well known favorites are lavender, pumpkin spice, caramel, vanilla, and you see what I mean. What makes a great flavored latte is the process and quality ingredients.
Most coffee shops use commercially made syrups and powders in their lattes. I get it, it's hard to mass-produce the same drink in multiple locations and most people care about the espresso. Beans aside, using the right ingredients is important. Between syrup and powders, matcha excluded, homemade organic syrups are the preferred way to add flavor to your latte. When made this way, the flavor comes through beautifully and tends not to have a sugary or artificial taste. Lavender and turmeric are great examples of when added correctly, they accent your latte instead of taking over with a sugary tsunami of flavor.
The process of making a flavored latte is fairly standard. Most cafe's place the syrup at the bottom of the cup, add warm milk and espresso, and there you go. I prefer two alternative ways. The first is to place the flavor in the milk and warm them up together. The advantage of this is that while the milk is warming up, the flavor is being mixed throughout the pitcher and is heating at the same time, making your milk truly flavored milk. This isn't and economical if you have a massive line of clients, yet the flavor is amazing.
The other method is to mix your flavor in with the espresso shot. This is much less popular yet I recommend you try this at least once, especially with powdered drinks if you sift the powder into smaller pieces. Place the powder in the small espresso pitcher and pull your espresso shot. Then whisk them together. This does two things: First, the sifted powder mixes well with the hot espresso because it's finer and the whisking aerates the espresso creating a more smooth and round shot with less bitterness and more of a creamy taste. If you want your espresso to bite you, then don't use a whisk.
Note: You should be using powder when making a matcha latte.
The road to a perfect latte starts with milk and not the espresso. Now before you think to yourself, I don't know what I am talking about, hear me out. If the milk is the wrong temperature, type, made the wrong way, or comes from a bad source, it changes the quality of a latte dramatically. When we think about espresso, it is well known that the process of preparing the shot is extremely important. The correct grind setting, making sure it's fresh, the weight, and the extraction time are all important factors. The one variable factor is where you get your beans from. This is a matter of preference on the roaster and the bean. Milk however has limited options.
Let's talk about the 3 of the most popular options, Whole milk, Oat, and Almond. Sorry Ripple, soy, and coconut, I'll get you next time. Where you get your milk from determines the quality. There is a clear difference between really good, high-quality milk and the average option. The texture, flavor, and nutrients are all different and quality milk enhances the flavor. Using organic milk and that is as fresh possible is important and on its own, you can taste the difference. When the milk is heated up, each type needs to be heated to a different temperature, and if done so incorrectly, will scold or diminish the flavor of the milk. Add flavor to some bad milk and you have a latte mess. Take these tips and the next time you are in a cafe, ask them a bit about the milk they use and which brand or farm it's from. If you find something that you like, then you can search for more cafe's that use it.
The Latte. A coffee shop favorite that brings so much joy from the first sip to the last drop. Yet do you know what a latte is? A latte means milk in Italian. If you were in any cafe in Italy and asked for a latte, they would serve you a nice glass of warm milk, and you would be confused. The latte as we know it in the US, milk with an espresso shot or two, is more of an American adaptation. Italians call this a caffe latte. Caffe meaning coffee, and latte meaning milk. Americans assume the coffee is included because warm milk in the US is best served with cookies or honey.
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