I’ve always been a stickler for tradition when it’s come to matters involving my caffeine fix.
My day doesn’t really begin until I’ve had my morning chai (brought to boil at least twice for an extra kick) and if I’m out during the day, I’ll usually pop into one of my (many) go-to cafes around town to recharge with a flat white.
But as you likely know by now, there’s nothing which strikes my fancy more than discovering the latest creations in foodie circles – whether weird and/ or wonderful. So I’ve recently found myself breaking old habits and instead sipping on the prettiest (often caffeine-free!) lattes featuring all kinds of superfoods from matcha to turmeric, and even charcoal…
All the rage in Australia at the moment, red velvet lattes first made an appearance in London at Palm Vaults – an Instagrammer’s dream of a coffeeshop in Hackney.
Although I haven’t yet made it there, I tried my first beetroot latte at the stylish Sanderson hotel as part of their “Wake Up Well” menu for September, designed by model Danielle Copperman to give you that “fashion month feeling” (even if you don’t find yourself attending or walking in a fashion show).
The pretty-in-pink concoctions are now offered across town, including at the urban-hipster hangout Holborn Grind (it’s a gem of a cafe to recharge at, if you’re working in the area!).
Flavour-wise, the blend of almond milk and beetroot powder has a mild sweetness to it, with a stronger hint of earthy grassiness. I’m all for having tried it, but to be honest I’m not sure I’d order it the next time around…
Sanderson, 50 Berners St, London W1T 3NG
However, as someone who’s grown up on haldi doodh (turmeric powder mixed into full fat buffalo milk), I’ve definitely developed a liking for the Western world’s modern day interpretation of this Indian staple.
Whether I’m recovering from a sore throat or simply in the mood for something comfortingly soothing, turmeric lattes have fast become one of my favourite pick-me-ups this winter. I’m particularly partial to the coconut milk-based version at Deliciously Ella’s MAE Deli and the one at Parcafé – the coffeeshop at the Dorchester.
It features a warming blend of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper – with these spices used in just the right measure, so they don’t overpower.
Throw in its enviable location on Park Lane, elegant yet oh-so-cheerful interiors and the delicate array of treats typically on offer… and I always find reason-a-plenty to linger at Parcafé whenever I’m passing by!
Parcafé at the Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA
If you fancy a read, here’s some more food for thought on turmeric.
So it’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with all things matcha, although the now ubiquitous green powder almost seems a bit passé compared to the other pastel-hued lattes making their rounds.
Matcha lattes still have a cult following for their earthy bittersweet taste; not to mention the powerhouse of benefits they represent – made by grinding the entire leaf, matcha is the most concentrated form of green tea that you can get.
One serving of matcha tea is estimated to be nutritionally equivalent to around 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea and is packed with 137 times more antioxidants! And then there are all the other advantages, from boosting metabolism and burning calories to lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.
Matcha lattes now feature prominently at most coffee houses in the city. My top picks from the specialist cafes include the cinnamon matcha latte at Tombo (it’s such a treat, especially when paired with a fudgey matcha brownie on the side). While the stronger and more bittersweet o-matcha cappuccinos at Tsujiri (a 155 year-old premium tea brand from Kyoto) are likely to hit the spot for all ye more seasoned matcha drinkers!
Tombo Poké and Matcha Bar, 28 D’Arblay St, W1F 8EW
Tsujiri 47 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PD
That’s really not all though.
With creative cafes Down Under leading the way, it looks like we’re only just entering this new-age territory of vegan, caffeine-free coffees which are as attractive as they are wacky. Think “blue lattes” involving coconut milk, ginger, agave, lemon and an edible freshwater plant – E3 live blue algae.
And even charcoal lattes.
Update (2/2/2017). Just as I had predicted, charcoal lattes et al. are now very much a fixture in many of London’s wellness cafes, along with a host of other coffees suffused with superfoods from mushroom to pitaya. If you fancy a read, here are my epicurious thoughts on this new trend!
Have you tried one of these new-age “lattes”?