Trend Alert: Alternative Milks


It’s really exciting to see so many coffee shops jumping on the alternative milk chain, from larger chains like Starbucks to local artisan cafes.  It used to be that the only non-dairy alternative was soy, but now you can easily find coconut and almond at almost every coffee shop, with hemp milk and cashew milk on the rise.

Stay on the lookout for any new options coming your way!

Large Soya Latte

Minkies for a large soya latte and two cappuccinos, please!

The soy milk, known as soya in the UK, tastes much better here than it does in the states. We picked up o ur caffeine for today in the Kilburn Underground Station to help get us ready for the festivities at the Notting Hill Carnival. Katherine and Daniel finally let me treat, which they much deserved in exchange for letting me stay at their flat in London for this week. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful best friend with an award winning fiancé! I’m also thrilled there is a coffee shop so conveniently located, as we’ll pass it every time we take the Tube! My large soya latte was £2.30, which seems cheap but must be converted from pounds to US dollars. The only downside I see as of now is that it wasn’t open when we returned.   


Coffee & Tea Collective: Second location alert!

As you may or may not know, I’m a sucker for Peaberry coffees. Once I saw the Guatemala Antigua Peaberry on the Coffee & Tea Collective menu, I knew I had no choice but to order it. The barista informed me that this was one of their more chocolatey and nutty coffees, with an apple-like acidity sensation as you sip it and let it settle on your palate. I tasted notes of orange and dark chocolate, and although strong, the Guatemala Antigua hardly had any bitterness to it, even served black.

Brewed manually single cup through a V6 Drip Cone, the brewing techniques and styles at Coffee & Tea Collective are all very visual; aesthetically and aromatically pleasing. He wets the filter first for preheating and cleansing purposes, and superstitiously thinks it makes it tastes better that way. Since my coffee was made later in the afternoon, they used their lower-traffic hot-coffee method. Although this method took slightly longer, it’s perfect for anyone who has time to enjoy a cup and isn’t in a situation where they need a grab and go.

Second location alert! This East Village/Downtown spot is the second Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego, which has only been open about a month and a half (since mid-February 2015). The space highlights the brewing methods, with easy viewing of how each beverage is prepared and served individually.





Tiramisu Latte with Coconut Milk

Yesterday I was told to take more risks in life.  Naturally, I took this as a challenge and decided to try out the new tiramisu latte at Starbucks.  I also tried their coconut milk for the first time.  Maybe it was the combination of coconut milk and the fact I never order sweetened drinks, but this was almost unbearably sweet for my sensitive taste buds (I think their caramel macchiato is the most sugary-drink I can handle).

Somehow the syrups added made this taste both bitter and overly sweet, with a slight artificial-flavoring taste.  I can see why the product development team at Starbucks felt like the tiramisu latte would work well with the brand offering, as tiramisu is a coffee-flavored Italian dessert and Shultz was inspired in Italy for the cafes.  I’d recommend this beverage to the Starbucks lovers who usually go for the Frappuccino and other sweeter beverages.

Jane on Fillmore

Do you know about Jane?

If you don’t know where that is or what I’m talking about then you absolutely need to quickly add it to the top of your bucket list.

Jane on Fillmore is one of my favorite coffee shops in San Francisco because of it’s ability to combine friendly and knowledgable service, high quality coffee, a solid food offering (everything’s great, from toast to granola), and a breathtaking decor and atmosphere. The wooden floor works well with the black and white theme (which carries over from the floral wallpaper to the logo to the pattern on the tables to the graffiti on the giant mirror to the ‘for here’ mugs). Their flag logo triumphantly declares Jane to the world, seemingly full of pride as it blows with the wind in it’s 2D form. With good reason! I love everything about Jane on Fillmore, the original Jane of San Francisco, one of my all-around favorite cafés. Even though it’s in Pacific Heights, finding parking is reasonably easy. Or maybe I’m just lucky here and the coffee-Gods just want to get me to my next cup at Jane as quickly as possible; who knows.

They brew Stumptown, and this partnership seems to work perfectly: combining the quality roasters quality beans with the quality baristas quality brewing skills.

Today I ordered an iced soy latte and toast, while Robyne ordered an iced mocha with almond milk, which she described as good choice, well balanced and not too sweet. My latte was craftily created with soy and Hair Bender espresso, a blend from Stumptown that changes throughout the year. It’s well rounded and tries to cover all the profile notes, leaning more chocolatey than floral or citrus.



Snowbird Coffee

For our post-Halloween coffee fix Amanda and I decided to go to Snowbird Coffee in Inner Sunset. I was attracted by the fact it was a new coffee shop I’ve never visited, as well as their chalkboard sandwich sign outside and their navy-blue and tan color scheme inside. There’s a long pathway/slope that you walk down and further in to the coffee shop, building excitement with every step closer to the smell of quality coffee.

We ordered two hot almond milk lattes and this is a decision I would both repeat and recommend. The drink itself was beautiful in the areas of taste + design + balance. They roast their own espresso at a warehouse in Oakland (they aren’t allowed to roast in their current spot on 9th Street because people live above it). The latte uses their Neverland Espresso blend, which they explained goes with theme of coffee shop, where everyone who works here comes from some creative background. Also, they just opened 3 weeks ago, and mentioned how, with the timing, they dedicated the Neverlend blend to Robin Williams (who played Peter Pan in Hook).

The Neverlend is a blend of a few Guatemalan beans. It has a nutty and cacao flavor – somewhat like dark chocolate covered espresso beans mixed with dark chocolate covered almonds.

Their hand stamped cups show their attention to detail and quality, and I felt the orange colored stamp was appropriate for post-Halloween raging coffee.

Because Amanda and I are only human and sometimes clumsy, one of us spilled. You know what they say, don’t cry over spilled milk, only spilled coffee.


Black Magic

Black Magic lives up to it’s name: mysteriously smooth, a classic Italian espresso with a supernatural kick and notes of dark chocolate and red berry.  This medium-roast is one of Groundwork’s Signature Espresso Blends and worth trying.  I fell in love with this espresso at first sip and would have to rank it as one of my all-time favorites.

My first time at Groundwork can definitely be described as magical (pun intended) due to the wonderful company (hello Pamela and Ian), the Pressed Juice, the non-dairy alternatives, and the high quality organic coffee beans.

I ordered the iced latte with hemp milk due to the following facts: I’ve never tried hemp milk, I love lattes, and I was feeling adventurous enough to try something new.

Okay, confession.. I sampled the hemp milk before ordering it for my entire 24 oz. latte. I wasn’t entirely willing to risk ordering this latte if the milk was going to end up ruining it.

The lingering taste in my mouth makes it seem as if I actually consumed a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee; how did this happen?  I know I didn’t order a mocha and there was no cacao mixed in there. Magicians, never reveals their secrets…