Tuesday November 30, 2010 | 12 comments
Latte art has become a very cool phenomenon in the coffee house industry. With perfectly textured milk poured into rich espresso shots and finished with a barista’s insignia, it’s no wonder people line up for a latte made to perfection.
Sadly, this care does not exist in tea cafes that serve up their repertoire of lattes. Inconsistency in preparation, weak tea flavor, and burnt and sloppy milk frothing all plague our industry. Where is the pride in the beverage that you have just handed the customer? Where is the “to-die-for latte” that good coffee houses prepare en masse?
Part of the problem lies with the equipment and products we have to choose from. There are few reliable extraction devices available for tea cafes that will pull the essence from the leaves in an espresso style. Add to this the lack of excellent ground tea products and you have a hot drink that is light years away from superior consistency. This is too bad really, and I feel a twinge of envy each and every time I see a barista carve a beautiful rosetta on the top of my macchiato. Why can’t we do this for our tea customers, I keep asking myself?
With this in mind, I created two tea products and discovered another that allowed skilled tea baristas to create their latte art magic in front of the customer. The top three-selling tea-based lattes in Canada are chai latte, London Fog latte, and rooibos vanilla latte. I wanted baristas to craft a drink that they would take as much pride in as their best-poured coffee lattes.
I finally had these three new creations in hand a few weeks back and brought them down to Arthur Wynne – a champion barista and trainer with Wicked Café in Vancouver. Much to my delight, he came up with a number of perfect designs on the top of a chai latte, a London Fog latte, and a rooibos vanilla latte. The customers standing around were duly impressed.
Taking that first sip of the lightly textured cream on top with hints of the spices and bergamot was heavenly. This is what people WILL line up for.