Vanilla is impressive. To think it comes from the seeds of a rare tropical orchid is mind-blowing. Now, vanilla is a synonym with the fanciest custard desserts, the most popular ice cream, and basically every baking treat on the planet. Cakes too!
Vanilla changed the word of food forever, and it has played its part in shaping the coffee scene. A hot vanilla latte is straightforward delicious — beauty in simplicity. It’s just right.
If you want to make a world-class vanilla latte, you’ll need vanilla beans, which are kind of expensive, and not that easy to find, but they’re totally worth it. If you don’t have vanilla beans, fear not. Use a fine-quality vanilla extract, and I mean the real stuff. Artificial substitutes are not very good and are not worthy of our time. They don’t even come from real vanilla flowers!
We’ll also need milk. This is a latte, after all, and here you can get creative. If you don’t want to use regular milk, find a creamy and thick plant-based alternative. Oat milk works nicely, and I’m fond of almond milk for this recipe. Today there’s a type of milk to please every palate and satisfy every dietary need.
The thing about vanilla, though, is that, although it’s beautifully scented, it’s not sweet at all, meaning we need a sweetener. Decisions, decisions, choose your favorite sweetener, from monk fruit and stevia to brown sugar, everything goes! Keep in mind not all sweeteners are equally sweet, so taste and adjust to your liking.
I haven’t forgotten about coffee. This is a caffeinated drink, right? Use an espresso shot per serving and make sure it’s fragrant and potent. I use medium ‘city’ roast for this one since it’s milder and more caramelly. It just goes well with vanilla.
When you work with some ingredients like chocolate, you can use a wide variety of syrups and powders, but using vanilla is a bit trickier. You must go old-school and heat your milk on the stovetop. Don’t worry; it takes only a few minutes, and the result is gratifying. Let me show you how I make my hot vanilla latte coffee; you’ll love it!
In a small saucepan, add the milk and heat over medium flame.
Add the vanilla extract or vanilla bean pulp and the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Brew your espresso shots in each mug and top with the vanilla milk.
Garnish with whipped cream and optionally dust with cinnamon powder.