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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Coffee & Tea

PRODUCT: Lavender Tea

We wonder if the people who approved the name “Breakfast In Paris” for lavender tea have been to France.

If they had, they’d know that lavender-accented foods do not abound in Paris. You’ll find them way south in Provence, where the lavender is grown.

Perhaps the namers knew that, but felt that “Breakfast in Provence” wasn’t as fetching a title?

Folks, it’s better to be accurate than slapdash.

But that doesn’t stop us from liking Stash’s new Breakfast In Paris, subtly accented with lavender. We have often steeped dried lavender* into tea for iced tea. We love both the lavender aroma and the alluring flavor.

Breakfast In Paris simplifies the process. There’s no need to strain out and toss dripping springs of lavender.

Stash blends black tea with aromatic, floral lavender and a touch of citrusy bergamot oil. The result is pleasurable with or without milk, hot or iced. The ingredients are all natural; the line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

Stash calls it a breakfast tea†, but you can enjoy it anytime.

 

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Breakfast in Paris: lavender-flavored black tea. Photo courtesy Stash Tea.

 
It pays to price shop. On Amazon you can pay from 19¢ to 72¢ per foil-wrapped tea bag:

  • A single box of 18 bags, $12.97/72¢ per bag
  • A six-pack of boxes, 18 bags each/108 bags, $23.95/22¢ per bag with free shipping
  • A bulk cardboard box of 100 bags, $19.09/19¢ per bag
  •  
    Our recommendation: Buy the six-pack. It takes four bags to brew a quart of iced tea, and you can always give extra boxes as gifts.

     
    FUN FACT FROM STASH

    In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity, transported all the way form China by clipper ship. The ship’s captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use.

    This supply was his private reserve, or stash, a term that still denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.
     
    *Only cook with culinary-grade lavender, roses, etc. They’re grown without chemical pesticides.

    †Breakfast teas are strong black tea blends made to accompany a hearty, English-style morning meal and to go well with milk. Examples include Chai (flavored with Indian spices), Earl Grey (flavored with bergamot orange), English Breakfast (Keemun and other black teas), Irish Breakfast (a malty Assam blend) and Orange Pekoe (Ceylon black tea). Breakfast teas are more robust than afternoon tea blends. However, these distinctions descend from an old British tea-drinking tradition. Feel free to enjoy whatever tea you like, whatever time of the day.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Little Miracles Organic Energy Bottled Tea

    When we first received sample bottles of Little Miracles Organic Energy, we thought they were organic energy drinks.

    Not exactly.

    They’re delicious tea and fruit juice blends, sweetened with agave, a better alternative to refined sugar.

    They lack some of the conventional energy drink kickers, like guarana, a berry that is more caffeine-intense than coffee beans; and the amino acids L-carnitine and taurine.

    They do, however, contain ginseng, a medicinal herb that is believed to increase energy and is often used in energy drinks; and all rely on the natural caffeine of tea.

    We’re can’t aver that they give us a special energy boost over other iced teas, but they sure are tasty!

    The London-based manufacturer is originally from Denmark; the line is distributed throughout Europe and has just launched in Southern California. Hopefully, Little Miracles will get to a store near you soon.

    The flavors include:

     

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    Two of the four flavors of Little Miracles fruit iced teas. Photo courtesy Little Miracles.

     

  • Black Tea & Peach, bursting with fresh peach flavor (our personal favorite).
  • Green Tea & Pomegranate, with clean green tea flavor.
  • Lemongrass Tea, Orange Juice & Ginger, pleasant but we’d like more lemongrass and ginger highlights.
  • White Tea & Cherry, redolent of fresh cherries.
  •  
    Discover more at DrinkLittleMiracles.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Functional Coffee K-Cups In Delicious Dark Roast

    Functional foods are everyday foods and beverages enhanced with supplements that have a helpful effect on the body. Beyond normal satiation and nutrition, they do something really good for the body (that is to say, they have a specific “function”).

    Beyond slaking an athlete’s thirst, for example, sports drinks restore electrolytes, carbohydrates and other nutrients that have been expended during vigorous activity. Relaxation beverages let you chill without alcohol. Energy drinks give you…wings?

    Coffee Blenders has launched a line of functional coffee K-cups. Made from a 100% Arabica dark roast, with a blend of beans from Central and South, the coffee is an excellent dark roast—depth of flavor without undue bitterness. We’d buy it with or without the added functionality.

    Which is a good thing, because understanding exactly how much of the functional ingredient you need to achieve the desired result can be tough to figure out. It’s true even in the simplest case of drinking conventional coffee to stay alert. What may work for you likely differs from the person next to you. Some people need one or two cups, some people five or ten cups, from the same pot of coffee.

     

    coffee-blenders-functional-K-cups-230

    Delicious dark roast coffee with added functionality. Photo courtesy CoffeeBlenders.com.

     

    Coffee Blenders Lean is fortified with Svetol®, a safe, all-natural plant extract of decaffeinated green coffee that has been clinically proven to burn fat and help with weight loss. Components in Svetol inhibit specific enzymes and shut down the glucose pathway in the body. Each cup includes 400 mg of Svetol.

    Coffee Blenders Focus contains Cereboost™, a safe, fast-acting, all-natural plant extract derived from American Ginseng. Cereboost™ is clinically proven to improve brain function, especially in the cognitive areas of working memory and alertness. Each cup contains 200 mg of Cereboost.

    Coffee Blenders Escape is blended with L-Tea Active™, more commonly know as L-Theanine, a safe all-natural amino acid found in green tea leaves. L-Tea Active is safe, all natural and clinically proven to induce relaxation without drowsiness while improving mental clarity. Some athletes take supplements to relax and focus before a big competition. Each cup contains “a full serving” of L-Tea Active.
     
    WHERE TO BUY

    Coffee Blenders Coffee, in boxes of 15 count, are $19.95 on the company website.

    The company is currently running a special while supplies last: The “Lean Bundle,” consisting of four boxes (15 K-cups per box) for $71.96—a 10% savings on the coffee, plus a free French Press K-cup brewer.

    The brewer, My French Press by Cafejo, is a portable, single-cup brewing system that brews K-cups and pods as well as ground coffee. It’s BPA Free, microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

    Gift a box of K-cups to a friend who shares your goals (focus, stress reduction, weight loss).

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pukka Organic Herbal Teas For Health & Gifting

    There’s lots of herbal tea on the market, but some companies, like Pukka, an organic herbal tea specialist, focus on it.

    The company employs a team of skilled herbalists that pays meticulous attention to the quality of ingredients, ensuring that only the most potent, vibrant herbs are used in their blends.

    In fact, the company is first and foremost a purveyor of top-quality organic herbs.

    While Pukka teas are made according to the healing and wellness philosophies of Ayurvedic medicine, that doesn’t have to be your primary motivation. They also taste great, and are soothing, caffeine-free brews.

    In addition to drinking an infusion of herbs known to aid in digestion, immunity, weight management and so forth, you can drink flowers as well—and perhaps give a box of floral tea as a Mother’s Day party favor—or in an Easter basket for dieters, sugar-avoiders and the health-focused.

  • Elderflower, from the elder tree, has long been used as a sweet tonic.
  • Hibiscus helps rejuvenate and balance.
  • Limeflower is renowned for its relaxing qualities.
  •  

    pukka-herbal-teas-elvirakalviste-230

    An assortment of Pukka teas, ready for the Easter basket or Mother’s Day gifts. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Oat flower is known to calm, nourish and sooth the body and help settle the mind.
  • Rose is known to soothe and has a calming effect on the mind.
  •  
    And these are just a few of Pukka’s 35 varieties. Pukka offers a both unusual and popular herbal blends, including Lemongrass and Ginger, Peppermint and Licorice, Golden Chamomile, Night Time and Lemon Green Tea—all very pleasing to the taste buds. Iced tea can be made from these blends as well.

    See all the varieties at PukkaHerbs.com.

    Each flavor comes in a box with its own charming design, looking like fine wrapping paper.

    A box of 20 sachets retails for $6.95 at Vitamin Shoppe locations nationwide and iherb.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 6 Steps To Brewing Better Coffee

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    It’s easy to brew better coffee. Photo
    courtesy Filicori Zecchino.

     

    Do you buy more coffee outside the home because you can’t brew a better cup of coffee? Consider this checklist to improving your home efforts:

    1. Start with a clean carafe. Coffee has oil that builds up in the carafe. You can’t see it, but it will become rancid, adding unpleasant flavor notes to the brewed coffee. Similarly, if you live in a hard water area and use tap water to brew, you need to remove the with calcium deposits. While most people rinse out the pot before each use, after every few uses you should wash the glass carafe with white vinegar and water, using a scrubbing brush. Just swishing water around doesn’t do the job. Once a month, run a vinegar-water solution through the entire apparatus, per manufacturer’s instructions.

    2. Grind your own beans. It’s less convenient, but coffee beans begin to lose flavor and aroma immediately after grinding. Within two hours, we can taste the difference! It’s better to buy whole beans and grind them immediately prior to brewing.

     
    If you don’t have the will to do it, buy small amounts of ground coffee a few times a week, rather than grinding a pound at a time. Experts advise that vacuum packed ground coffee (it’s what Starbucks uses) will turn out a better brew than beans ground at the market for use the next day or beyond.

    3. Use the correct grind. Drip machines require a medium grind, espresso machines use a fine grind and French press and drips systems require a coarse grind. If the grind isn’t right for the brewing technique, you won’t get enough extraction from the beans.

    4. Don’t use boiling water. Contrary to what most of us have been taught, the temperature of the water should be 200°F, not 212°F. While it doesn’t seem that significant, the extra twelve degrees of heat extract more bitterness and acid from the beans. Good electric coffee makers accommodate for this. If you’re boiling water to pour over ground beans, use a thermometer. You can use any thermometer that measures 200°; Taylor makes a special thermometer for coffee and tea.

     

    5. Use the right amount of coffee. The correct measure is two tablespoons of ground beans per six ounces of water. Machines make a six-ounce cup, not an eight-ounce cup. Be sure to use a coffee scoop or the tablespoon from your measuring spoon set, rather than eyeballing the amount with a regular spoon.

    6. Don’t store coffee in the freezer or fridge. Beans are porous and easily absorb moisture, odors and flavors. Keep the beans, whole or ground, at room temperature in an airtight container. We use the Friis Coffee Vault, an airtight stainless steel canister specially designed to vent carbon dioxide gas that continuously emits from the beans as a result of the roasting process.
     
    WHAT IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH COFFEE?

  • Brew iced coffee. In the warmer weather, you’ll drink up the coffee faster if it’s iced.
  •  

    friis-coffee-vault-ps-230

    Keep whole or ground beans fresh longer in this special airtight container. Photo courtesy Friis.

  • Make coffee ice cubes. Freeze brewed, cooled coffee in ice cube trays. Pop them into freezer bags and use them to keep the iced coffee cold.
  • Give it away. Offer it to neighbors or co-workers, or donate it to the coffee room at work.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Coffee Milk

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    Coffee milk is a simple and delicious union of milk and coffee syrup. Photo courtesy Dave’s Coffee Store.

     

    Coffee lovers, and especially iced coffee lovers: Have you had coffee milk, the official* state drink of Rhode Island?

    Like chocolate milk, coffee milk is made by adding coffee syrup to cold milk. If you like iced coffee with sugar and a lot of milk, coffee milk is the easy way to make it at home. There’s no brewing, no need to keep a container of iced coffee in the fridge. Just pour a glass of milk, add coffee syrup and stir.

    It also works for people who prefer alternatives to cow’s milk.

    Top quality coffee syrup is a sweetened coffee concentrate made from fresh-roasted coffee beans. It is produced by straining water and sugar through ground coffee. (Supermarket brands tend to be artificially flavored.)

    While the precise origin of coffee milk is unclear, several sources trace it back to the turn of the 20th century in Providence’s immigrant Italian population.

    The first coffee syrup was introduced by the Silmo Packing Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1932. In 1938, Eclipse Food Products of Warwick, Rhode Island began to promote a coffee syrup product; Autocrat Coffee of Lincoln, Rhode Island came to market in the 1940s.

     
    In addition to the syrup form, coffee milk can be found ready-to-drink in store dairy cases, at diners and in university dining halls. [Source: Wikipedia]

    USES FOR COFFEE SYRUP

    In addition to coffee milk, you can use the syrup for:

  • Baking
  • Cocktails and mocktails
  • Dessert sauce
  • Glazes (check out this list of recipes for fish, meat, poultry and veggies)
  • Granita
  • Hot coffee drink
  • Shakes and smoothies
  • Pancake/waffle syrup
  •  
    *Rhode Island named coffee milk its official state beverage in 1993, after a competition with Del’s Lemonade, another Rhode Island specialty.

     

    DAVE’S COFFEE SYRUP

    Dave’s Coffee is a certified organic coffee roaster that operates an espresso bar and bakery in Charlestown, Rhode Island. The coffee syrup is an all natural artisan product made:

  • With real sugar—no HFCS or artificial sweeteners
  • With only its natural color from the beans—no added caramel color
  • In Original, Mocha and Vanilla flavors
  •  
    By contrast Coffee Time, the best-known supermarket brand, is made with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, coffee extract, caramel color and potassium sorbate.

    The syrup is made in small batches to ensure quality. Choice Brazilian coffee beans are roasted by hand in a small, gas fired roaster to bring out nutty, sweet, smooth, roasty and smokey flavors. The roasted beans rest for two days; they’re then ground and cold-brewed for 18 hours in a special stainless steel kettle.

    The brewed coffee is mixed with pure cane sugar, brought to a boil and simmered until the syrup reduces and the sugar begins to caramelize. It’s bottled in amber glass, which protects the syrup from light.

    Get yours at DavesCoffeeStore.com.

     

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    Dave’s Coffee Syrup is available in three flavors. Photo courtesy Dave’s Coffee Store.

     

    It’s a great gift idea for coffee-loving moms and dads, and other deserving family and friends.

    If you need a kosher syrup, you can buy Autocrat on Amazon.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cinnamon Coffee

    french-press-cinnamon-coffee-mccormick-230

    It’s easy to brew delicious cinnamon coffee
    with any coffee maker. Photo courtesy
    McCormick.

     

    If you enjoy cinnamon coffee, here’s a recipe from McCormick, that adds real cinnamon to your ground coffee for a far more exciting flavor. (Commercial cinnamon-flavored coffee uses an extract to flavor the beans.)

    The coffee is brewed with brown sugar, so no sugar bowl is needed. You can use any coffee maker.

    For dessert, you can top the coffee with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. There are just 36 calories per cup, before the whipped cream.

    For a spiked version, add cinnamon liqueur, coffee liqueur or Irish cream liqueur. If you want to avoid the extra sugar, use whiskey (we like bourbon) or tequila.

     

    RECIPE: BREWED CINNAMON COFFEE

    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 3/4 cup ground dark roast coffee, (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups water
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon
  • Optional: milk or cream
  • Optional liqueur: 1-2 tablespoons per cup
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE coffee, sugar and cinnamon in a filter in brew basket of coffee maker (or directly into a French press).

    2. PLACE the vanilla in the empty carafe. Add water to coffee maker; brew coffee as usual.

    3. POUR into serving cups; add liqueur if desired. Top with whipped cream or serve with milk or cream. Garnish with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon.
     
    CINNAMON LIQUEUR

    There are more brands than there is shelf space to hold them all. And Bols makes both a cinnamon liqueur and a cinnamon schnapps (see the difference below). Some are more elegant, some are brash and sizzling.

    Cinnamon liqueur can be added to coffee and tea, sipped on the rocks, drunk as shooters and mixed into cocktails.

  • After Shock
  •  

    goldschager-bottle-230

    Dramatic and delicious: Goldschläger cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. Photo courtesy Global Brands.

     

  • Bols Hot Cinnamon Liqueur and Gold Strike Cinnamon Schnapps
  • De Kuyper “Hot Damn!”
  • Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Liqueur
  • Fire Water Hot Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Goldschläger, with flecks of edible gold, the most elegant of the cinnamon liqueurs
  • Leroux Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice
  • Tuaca Cinnaster Cinnamon and Vodka Liqueur
  •  
    CORDIAL, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS: THE DIFFERENCE

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences that are relevant to the consumer in terms of sweetness and color.

  • Liqueur (lih-KUR, not lih-CURE) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  • Schnapps (shnops) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (oh-duh-vee), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for liqueur/cordial.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Higher Caffeine Teas

    teacup-230

    More buzz than coffee. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Caffeine is a natural stimulant, a compound present in tea, coffee and other beverages. Coffee has more caffeine, 80 to 100 mg. per cup.

    Among teas, black tea has the highest amount of caffeine, about 40 mg. per cup; with diminishing amounts found in oolong, green (approximately 20 mg. per cup) and white teas, depending on strength and steeping time.

    But what if you need more of a caffeine jolt and don’t like coffee or energy drinks?

    Republic Of Tea hopes to fill the gap with its new line of HiCaf™ Teas for natural energy.

    The company has intensified the normal caffeine in tea by adding green tea extract, known to have more caffeine than coffee, so tea drinkers can quickly get a healthy jump on the day.

    There are five initial varieties: four black and one green.

     

    HiCAF TEA VARIETIES

    Black Teas

  • Breakfast Black HiCAF Tea Bags
  • Caramel Black HiCAF Tea Bags
  • Pom-berry Black HiCAF Tea Bags
  • Toasted Coconut Black HiCAF Tea Bags
  •  
    Green Tea

  • Gingermint Green HiCAF Tea Bags
  •  
    We received three samples: Breakfast Black Tea, Black Caramel and Gingermint Green. The caffeine content is clearly indicated on the side of each tin.

    Breakfast Black and Gingermint Green read their scripts well, and we’ve been enjoying them every morning. Caramel Black was too flavor-forward for us but will please people who enjoy highly flavored teas. We expect the same would be true with Pom-berry and Toasted Coconut black teas.

     

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    Three of the five HiCAF flavors. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Did they give us a jolt?

    No, but we don’t get a jolt from coffee, either.

    Each tin contains 50 round, unbleached tea bags free of strings, tags and staples: $13/tin.

    The full collection is available for purchase at RepublicOfTea.com and at natural and specialty food stores nationwide.
     
    POP QUIZ: NAME THE FOODS THAT CONTAIN CAFFEINE

    There are seven foods that contain natural caffeine. Can you name them?

    The first two are giveaways: coffee and tea. The other five are in the footnote* below, but try to guess before you look.

     
    *Cacao (in cocoa and chocolate products), coffee, guarana (a component of energy drinks), guayusa (another Amazonian leaf), the kola nut (used to make Coke and other colas), conventional tea (Camellia sinensis) and yerba maté.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: RealBeanz Nutrient-Enhanced Iced Coffee

    bottles-glass-230s

    RealBeanz with coconut water. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    A year ago or so, we had the opportunity to taste RealBeanz, a line of flavored bottled coffee beverages with a stylish vibe, 100% natural ingredients and rBST-free milk.

    The flavors have neutraceutical enhancements that turn them into functional beverages. For example, Vanilla Nut has “naturally-calming herbs to sooth feelings of nervousness brought on by everyday stresses”; Mocha has “powerful ingredients that will undoubtedly add a boost to your body’s immune system.”

    Depending on the neutraceutical, each flavor is also labeled with a benefit: Energize, Focus, Relax, and so forth.

    But we, who don’t put sugar in our coffee, found the flavors to be overly sweetened.

    Recently, the company sent us new flavors made with coconut water: Cappuccino With Coconut Water and Dark Roast With Coconut Water.

    The sweetness level seems to be toned down a bit—but still plenty sweet for sugar-craving Americans.

     
    RealBeanz products are all natural, made with real brewed coffee and natural energy enhancing ingredients. (Some brands, likeJava Monster, Rockstar Roasted, and Starbucks Double Shot, are not.)

    There’s more about the neutraceuticals below.

    The line is Certified Kosher by The Orthodox Union.

    WHAT’S THE BENEFIT OF COCONUT WATER?

    Enjoy a coconut water drink for hydration, not for enhanced health. According to Web MD, the main benefit of coconut water is the potassium.

    “Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in their diets…” says Web MD, “so coconut water can help fill in the nutritional gaps. Beyond that, the scientific literature does not support the hype that it will help with a laundry list of diseases.”

    Here’s the full article.

     

    WHAT’S THE REAL BENEFIT OF THE
    NEUTRACEUTICALS IN YOUR BEVERAGE?

    All seven varieties of RealBeanz are nutrient enhanced. Beyond the natural caffeine from brewed coffee, the different flavors include natural ingredients such as choline bitrate, green tea, grape seed extract, guarana, L-theanine, niacin, panax ginseng, vitamins B6, B12, B5 and yerba mate.

    Each of these ingredients has shown efficacy, but the question is: How much of these nutrients is needed to provide noticeable benefit? To quote Price Hamlet, “Aye, there’s the rub.”

    Whether you drink cups of green tea or beverages with a neutraceutical enhancement, there’s a threshold beneath which you’re not getting any benefits. The amount of the functional ingredient may be just enough to make a marketing claim and attract your attention.

    So enjoy whatever you drink for the taste and hydration, and try to cut back on the sugar.

     

    coconut-w-water-ist-npr.org-230

    Coconut water has lots of potassium, but that’s about the extent of its extra benefits. Photo | IST.

     

    If you’re counting on real health benefits, do the research: Check how much of the neutraceutical is in your beverage and what health experts recommend as your daily value for efficacy.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Latte Art ~ Try A Heart In Your Coffee

    heart-amoretti-230

    Make this for your Valentine. Photo courtesy
    Amoretti.

     

    Ever wish you could create latte art? Today’s the day to practice a heart design in your latte.

    We love latte art: animals, cross-hatches, ferns (rosettes), hearts, flowers. The ephemeral milk foam adds a smile to the coffee.

    We looked for a book on latte art, but surprise: There isn’t a dedicated book in print (there is, however, LatteArt.org). So we turned to the experts at DeLonghi, whose coffee and espresso machines are coveted by lovers of espresso, cappuccino and latte.

    They in turn reached out to Laila Ghambari, Director of Coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House in Seattle—the home of American latte art. Here are her tips:

  • The micro-foam is a crucial element in creating the perfect latte art. Use a milk foaming machine that is able to produce rich, thick, long-lasting foam.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. More milk fat equals more creaminess.
  • Add air to the milk by bringing the steam wand tip to the surface of the milk (not beneath). Remember that NO air will just create hot milk and TOO MUCH air will make your milk bubbly.
  •  

  • Make sure that when you are steaming your milk that the milk is spinning. You can achieve this by tilting the pitcher, which allows for the air and milk to blend together.
  • You need to steam the milk to a smooth, creamy texture. It should look cold cream or wet paint.
  • Once the milk is steamed, swirl it around to make sure the milk and foam are incorporated, not separated.
  •  

    TO MAKE A HEART

  • TILT. Start by tilting the cup of espresso 45 degrees.
  • TOUCH. Think of the steamed milk in the pitcher as the “pencil” and the espresso in the cup as the “canvas.” To create art you must touch the pencil to the canvas. Tilting the cup enables the pencil to touch the canvas much sooner than if the cup is upright (in which case you could only reach the canvas when the cup is full).
  • POUR. Start pouring up high, further away from the cup, so that the milk has a higher velocity and drops below the espresso. When the cup is full enough that the coffee soon start spilling out of the 45 degree tilt, drop the tip of the pitcher to the surface of the milk.
  • POUR. Keep pouring in the same spot as you fill the cup (make sure you are tilting the cup back to upright, so not to spill). This will create a large white circle in the cup.
  • PULL. To make a heart, pull the pitcher away from the surface of the milk to thin the stream before you “slice” the circle. Pour the milk through the center of the circle, which will split it into two halves. It will immediately start to take the shape of a heart.
  •  

    delonghi-EC155-with-pitcher-230

    A DeLonghi cappuccino machine close-up on the steaming wand and frothing pitcher. Photo courtesy DeLonghi.

     
    See it done in this video.
     
    THE HISTORY OF LATTE ART

    Latte art was enabled by the development of microfoam, created by the steam wand of a cappuccino machine, used to foam a pitcher of milk. The combination of the crema atop the cup of espresso and velvety microfoam allows patterns to be made. (Note that other types of milk steamers/foamers do not create microfoam.)

    Latte art in the United States developed in the Seattle coffee culture of the 1980s and 1990s. By 1989 the heart pattern was a signature at David Schomer’s Espresso Vivace and the rosette pattern followed, based on a photograph Schomer saw of latte art in an Italian café.
     
    FOOD TRIVIA

    Cappuccino is named after the color of the hooded robes worn by monks and nuns of the Capuchin order. The red-brown color was a common descriptor in 17th-century Europe.

     
    HOW DOES LATTE DIFFER FROM OTHER ESPRESSO DRINKS?

    What’s the difference between latte and cappuccino? What’s a macchiato? Check out our Espresso glossary for the different type of espresso drinks.

      

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