Cin-ful Latte

January 4, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok

Welcome, 2019. But first, tea! That’s right. We’re swapping our morning coffee ritual for a delicious tea latte loaded with an antioxidant-rich spice that happens to be Bobby’s absolute favorite: cinnamon.
Why cinnamon? Well when we think about last year’s food trends, turmeric-infused golden milk lattes seemed to be the buzz at barista counters all over New York and LA. Like turmeric, cinnamon has many of its own medicinal benefits -- including properties that can fight inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and help keep your metabolism in check -- so we thought why not let this spice shine in a Triple Cinnamon Tea Latte?

Essential in our quest to making our cinnamon-centric drink was Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company, a tiny shop tucked away on charming street in Greenwich Village that is home to hundreds of loose leaf teas and spices. If you live locally, it’s totally worth checking out!

Since we’re choosing tea over coffee as part of our New Year health kick, we decided to fully take the plunge and go caffeine-free with Rooibos tea. If you’ve never had this South African herbal red tea, you’re in for a real treat. The bold flavor is reminiscent of a black tea, yet the distinct floral qualities make it the perfect pairing with not only our homemade vanilla bean date paste, but also the Indonesian Cassia cinnamon chips we add to the tea leaves as they steep. When you brew Rooibos tea as strong as we do (2 tablespoons of loose leaf per 4 ounces of water), it mimics the mouthfeel of an espresso. If you’re not on the tea train out of fear that it’s too weak, it might help to know that we steep this tea in a French press.

If you have cinnamon at home, it’s likely Cassia cinnamon, which is known for its mild flavor, low oil content and frequent use in traditional Chinese medicine. We also steep cassia’s counterpart, True Cinnamon -- a species from Sri Lanka also commonly referred to as Ceylon or “Baker’s Cinnamon” -- in our almond milk before frothing. With a distinctly robust, complex flavor and an equally rich history of harvesting the bark whereby it is skillfully peeled into what we know as cinnamon “sticks,” there is no doubt that true cinnamon is truly something special. Though almond milk is our choice as it adds a nutty flavor and cuts a few extra calories, feel free to use cow’s milk or another dairy-free alternative such as oat or coconut. The trifecta in our latte is Vietnamese cinnamon powder. Add it to the milk while steeping and garnish with an additional pinch. We think you will immediately realize it tastes like a nostalgic cinnamon candy, Red Hots!

Of course if you can’t get to the spice shop, use any cinnamon that you have on hand. Even just one variety will create for a lovely tea latte.

Triple Cinnamon Tea Latte

Serves 1

Date Paste
1 ½ cups dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, such as Nielsen-Massey
Pinch of sea salt
1.Put the dates into a medium bowl and cover with 1 cup hot tap water and let soak until very soft, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
2.Transfer the dates and the soaking liquid to a food processor or blender, add the vanilla paste and salt and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl. The date paste will last, tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
*Date paste is great to sweeten tea, coffee, smoothies

Latte
8 ounces unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons date paste, recipe below
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon powder
2 True cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons loose leaf rooibos tea
1 heaping tablespoon Cassia cinnamon chips

1.In a small saucepan, combine the almond milk, date paste, cinnamon powder . Whisk to combine and add in cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. You can also cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat before using then remove the cinnamon sticks.
2. While the milk is steeping: In a small saucepan, bring 4 ounces of cold water to a boil. Add the tea and cinnamon chips to a French press carafe and add the boiling water. Cover (do not press down yet) and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Carefully press down the plunger. Pour tea into a mug.
3.Discard the cinnamon sticks from the milk and froth the steeped milk using a frother (such as Nespresso).** Pour milk over the tea and garnish with additional cinnamon powder before serving.

**If you don’t have a milk frother, whisking the milk with a wire whisk will work just fine and adds nice body!