I usually brew my own coffee at home, but sometimes I want something special — not just a plain old cup of joe, but an espresso drink like a latte or cappuccino. Enter the milk dilemma.
My favorite chain coffeehouse is Peet’s, the Berkeley-based company that makes a signature blend of beans called Major Dickason, which is a staple in our house. Unfortunately, Peet’s does not offer coconut milk, only almond and soy. I can’t tolerate soy milk, and once I tried an almond milk latte at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf that was so awful, I swore off almond milk forever.
So for a while, my go-to to-go cup was a Starbucks coconut milk cappuccino. Steamed coconut milk froths beautifully, and I was so enchanted by this thick snowbank of lactose-free foam that I overlooked the mediocre Starbucks coffee underneath it.
Then one day I decided to try Peet’s almond milk cappuccino. Not only was it delicious — I would go so far as to say it was the most memorable coffee experience of my life. (Right up there with the first time I ever drank coffee, during my freshman year of college, after which I stayed up all night studying and aced a test the next day.)
Somehow Peet’s made the almond milk taste exactly like cow’s milk. It was less frothy than Starbucks’s coconut milk, but I was fine with that; actually, the proportion of foam to liquid in the Peet’s cappuccino allowed for a more balanced mouthful with each sip. And Peet’s coffee is just the best. Ultimately, no matter what the milk is like, you’ve got to start with excellent coffee.
I have since tried taking Peet’s almond milk cappuccino to-go, and although it was still tasty, I strongly recommend drinking it as soon as the barista hands it to you. Carve out a block of time for this much deserved indulgence. And don’t feel guilty: As we already established, caffeine makes you smarter.