Over time I have become somewhat of a coffee snob, which is something I am not exactly ashamed to admit. When I first started drinking coffee, I consumed any kind I could get my hands on and even though it pains me to admit this, my idea of a good coffee beverage was a "cappuccino" from the local gas station. After all these years and with the help of some high quality local coffee shops, I have seen the light and have come to appreciate the finer beans in life...
Brewing coffee can be as complex as crafting a beer or aging a fine wine, it should be treated as an art form and not tainted with high fructose corn syrup and unidentified powdered mixes. It should be thoughtfully prepared and enjoyed. One of my favorite local shops that share this brew religion is Bold Bean Coffee Roasters in Jacksonville, FL. They were pretty much responsible for saving my life during my first culinary internship at a bakery right down the street. With a shift starting at 6AM, I was running purely on honey lattes from BB. When I made a return visit the other day I decided to buy just a plain old vanilla bean latte. Now, I've been to many a places that refer to their lattes as "vanilla bean" without so much as a speck of a bean in sight, but this one... this one actually contained vanilla beans! Imagine that! When I acquired about this discovery, they said they made their own vanilla bean syrup! As much as a coffee fanatic that I am, for some reason it's never crossed my mind to make a syrup but suddenly I became enthralled with the idea - come to find out it's actually really easy! I just made a simple syrup and added a vanilla bean but you could easily adjust this recipe to make any flavor just by adding your desired extracts.
Vanilla Bean Lattes (with Vanilla Syrup)
for the syrup...
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1.Mix ingredients together in sauce pan. On medium high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring consistently. Return heat to low and simmer until all sugar is dissolves. I let mine sit in the fridge for a couple of days and it really intensified with flavor!
½ oz. Vanilla Bean Syrup
1 shot espresso
1.Put 1 oz. syrup in mug and add one shot freshly brewed espresso.
2.Fill mug with foamed milk and enjoy!
If you don't have a fancy-pants coffee machine you could invest in a milk frother, I bought mine from Target for only $10
Per ¼ oz. pump:
2 pumps syrup - 12 oz. espresso drink
3 pumps syrup - 16 oz. espresso drink
4 pumps syrup - 20 oz. espresso drink