Did anyone catch the season premiere of Downton Abbey on Sunday? I must admit, I’m a fan of the series, not just for its clever allusions to tea culture (milk in first or milk in last?) but also for its gorgeous countryside scenery and period costumes. And of course, there’s that adorable tail-wagging golden lab who starts off every episode on a cheery note of anticipation.
This London Fog Latte is my go-to treat whenever I settle in to watch an episode of Downton Abbey. It’s elegant, easy to whip up, and tremendously satisfying even after seeing all those scrumptious servings of tea and cake shown on the series. This luxurious latte has a thick layer of frothy vanilla soy milk laying atop best quality, strongly brewed Earl Grey tea. Vanilla and a touch of raw sugar make it decadent without being too rich. Trust me, Starbucks has nothing on this one.
If you can find some vanilla bean paste, this is the perfect time to use it. This dark syrup is flecked with tons of vanilla seeds, which add a caramel-like richness to the brew, pure and fragrant. Many tea experts believe that the proper way to drink tea is with the milk in last, so that you can assess the tea’s color, aroma, and strength before making any changes. If you end up enjoying these London Fog Lattes as often as I do, then you can put that refined custom into practice. London Fog Lattes..brew them strong, brew them classy!
Makes 1 latte.
1 cup boiling water
2 rounded tsp best quality Earl Grey tea (I used Fortnum & Mason’s Earl Grey Classic)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
raw cane sugar cubes or Demerara sugar, to taste (I used 4 cubes of La Perruche for 1 latte)
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, or slightly more to taste
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, for drizzling on top (optional)
kettle or water boiler
teapot and strainer
large glass mason jar with lid
1.) Pour a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract into the mug.
2.) Brew the tea for 5 minutes. While the tea is brewing, pour milk into the mason jar, then cover with lid and shake vigorously until the milk is frothy and bubbly, almost doubled in volume. Remove the lid and set it aside. Place the uncovered jar of milk to heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds.
3.) Pour and strain the tea into the mug until it is half full. Mix sugar into the hot tea to taste, remembering that the milk is following. Top the cup off with the frothy milk, then drizzle the top of the latte with vanilla bean paste and serve immediately.