Is This The Best Iced Latte in America? The New York Times Thinks So
"Have you tried it?!"
"The Best Iced Latte in America! Have you tried it??"
We were at a friend's art gallery opening a couple weeks ago, and our friend Trevor grabbed us by the arm, eager to know if we had sampled this apparently life-changing beverage.
What beverage was Trevor referring to? The Iced Almond-Macadamia Milk Latte that had recently been featured in the New York Times. We'd been vaguely aware of having seen it online, but we hadn't actually read the story.
"It sounds amazing," Trevor told us. "You guys should try it and report back."
So we tried it.
And we're reporting back.
And you know what? It is amazing!
The latte in question hails from G&B Coffee at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. G&B was started last year by two guys named Charles Babinski and Kyle Glanville.
The Times has a lengthy feature on this latte and other inventive new coffee drinks around the country. It's a great piece and you should read it. But here's the Times' bottom line on this particular drink:
[I]t is exquisite: one of the best iced coffees in the United States, and almost certainly the best latte.
How could we not want to try that?!
For such an exalted drink, the prep is incredibly simple. Soak almonds, macadamian nuts and dates in water overnight; blend; strain; BOOM.
We made this latte two ways, as G&B does and then as we like our coffee. Truth be told, we're not actually big iced latte fans, so when we made this drink the second time, instead of a double shot of hot espresso, shaken with the milk and ice, we made a batch of cold-brewed iced coffee and added the nut milk as an accompaniment. While the recipe calls for 8 ounces of nut milk with 2 shots of espresso, we prefer a higher coffee-to-milk-ratio. Ours was probably more like 8 ounces of coffee with a shot of nut milk. So technically we probably made something like "Iced Coffee with Almond-Macadamia Milk" instead of actually an "Iced Almond-Macadamia Milk Latte." But whatever.
Here's the point: This drink is crazy delicious. The nut milk is rich and subtly sweet, thanks to the dates. But it's not thick or cloying in the way dairy can be. It's light, but it still adds a great shot of flavor to iced coffee.
Trevor and The New York Times were right. It's amazing.
Try this latte for yourself. Or better yet: Let's all meet up at G&B in downtown L.A.!
Almond and Macadamia Nut Milk
The New York Times, recipe adapted by Oliver Strand
Total time: 20 mins, plus overnight soaking
Yield: 1 quart
1 generous cup/150 grams blanched almonds
1/2 cup/50 grams macadamia nuts
1/3 cup/40 grams pitted dates
1 liter filtered water
Combine almonds, macadamia nuts and dates in a large lidded plastic container. Add filtered water, cover, and let soak overnight at room temperature, at least 12 hours.
Using a blender set to the highest speed, process mixture for 3 to 4 minutes or until finely puréed. Strain the mixture through a nut bag or jelly bag into a bowl, squeezing hard until only solids remain. (Or set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and line with two layers of cheesecloth. Use a spatula to force the mixture through the lined sieve, then repeat the process using fresh cheesecloth.) The nut milk should be silky and creamy, not gritty. Milk will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. Shake before using.
NOTE: To make an iced almond-macadamia milk latte, combine 8 ounces of the chilled nut milk, a double shot of hot espresso and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for about 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice.