Recipe: The Red Love Latte

Friends, it’s time. Let’s have a tea party. Cabin fever is setting in. Bring out your favorite dishes and your fancy hats. Shake things up. Wear those shoes you never wear and paint your fingernails red, red, red.

Or, if you’d rather, we can do it in our PJ’s, fuzzy slippers and robes.*

As for what we’ll drink?

I haven’t been this excited about a new tea since I had my first “London Fog” which, for the uninitiated, is Earl Grey tea made with half steamed milk. (It literally makes my toes curl). Today, however, I bring you something even more fantastic – from the Southern hemisphere – the Red Rooibos Latte.

Or the Red Love Latte, as I’ve come to call it.

This is the hot drink of choice in the big-city coffee shops of Lesotho and South Africa. Of course they just call it a Red Rooibos Latte or Red Latte.

The friendly baristas brew Rooibos tea very, very strong – they actually have a special fine grind that can be run through an espresso machine. The tea comes out a deep red, so dark it’s almost black. Very sensual. There’s a brand called Red Espresso that will work in any espresso maker, if you can get it near you. I should note that, unlike espresso, rooibos is totally, naturally decaffeinated.

Here’s what I love about Rooibos tea:

If you tried to brew just any old tea espresso strength, it would become impossibly bitter. Rooibos is unique because the longer it brews, the stronger the flavor without the astringent bitter aftertaste. So, the longer it brews, the bolder the flavor.

It grows and grows, like a big, bear hug. Full of love and totally delicious.

Using the finely chopped tea leaves makes easy work of it, but any strongly brewed Rooibos will work.

Dream a little daydream while the double (or triple) strength tea slowly turns as deep-dark as coffee. Boiling the tea on the stove helps.

 When it’s ready it’ll almost be black. This pot is still steeping to full-strength “love” status.

Ahh, this is better – just a shimmer of red in a dark sea of tea…

Then add honey, pour on the steamed milk and dust with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Or an avalanche, depending on your preferences.

Enjoy your Red Love Latte with someone special.

Or simply sit by the window and watch the winter light move through the trees.

How to make a Red Latte

Serves 1

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup Rooibos tea brewed double to triple strength
1/2 cup of steamed milk
honey, to taste
ground cinnamon, to taste

Method:

Mix brewed tea with honey. Top with steamed milk and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Recipe inspired by African Wanderlust and Red Espresso.

* The hat picture is from 2008, right before I got married. The next photo is from last week. It makes me laugh to see how much my life has changed in just 3 years. Life is such a beautiful journey.

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Comments

  1. Jessica Bennett says:

    I had a rooibos latte once, but yours looks much better than the one I had (now that I think about it- probably because mine only had hot milk, not steamed). Yours is really beautiful, and the way you describe everything is so cozy (which is perfect to read about on a day like today where I am, with high winds, low temperature, and some ice on the ground).

    And I didn’t know you are so recently married. For some reason I pictured you’d been married a lot longer- not sure why.

    • Babs Dial says:

      “Lumelang!” We lived in the high mountains of Lesotho for seven years and have just returned back to the US just over a year ago. It is an amazing place! The Basotho of Lesotho are a friendly warm people. Its mountains are full of beauty and only outdone by the beauty of the people. There is an unfortunate side there however…it is one of poverty, malnutrution and sickness. By living with all of that around us every day we grew to understand much about them. Even now we long to return. They are forever in our hearts. We also cooked their dishes. We never knew of the greens and potatoes where we lived but we did eat moroho every day. It is greens sauted with onions, buillion, and served wtih chakalaka salsa. Moroho is always served wtih papa and bread (if you had it). And while the papa is yummy with the salsa, it unfortunately offers little nutritional value and it continues to be the staple of the people. If one has no papa, they are starving even though they have vegetables. There were so many wonderful foods we learned to coolk there and I still prepare the African dishes we so enjoyed in the highlands of Lesotho. I have had some trouble finding grain flour here in the states that is comparable to the real papa there but I think we have gotten closer with each try. One of our favorite foods continmues to be papa and moroho. It is the life food of the Basotho. And of course each meal is served with rooibos tea. Rooibos is naturally and very mildly sweet and considered even more beneficial to the body than green tea because of the high levels of antioxidants it contains. While all Basotho take their rooibos with sugar and milk, I just never could quite adjust to drinking it that way but I did find that if I mixed it with green tea it was a delightful blend. Five Roses Rooibos was the most requested tea by the mountain Basotho we knew but I do have the Red Rooibos and it is very smooth and delicious. Basotho always served guests tea wtih cookies or steam bread. I encourage everyone to try this wonderful rooibos tea but it is best enjoyed with someone…so make a cup for someone special and sip away! Salang hantle! Hlonolofatseng!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Jessica – I suppose we’re newly weds still, which sounds crazy. That wedding seemed like a lifetime ago. Technically it’ll be 4 years in June. I feel like we’re made of old leather, all comfortable and relaxed – we work well together. The glove fits ;)

      As for the latte – you can ask them to make you one at the coffee shop – I did, and it was wonderful. They nicknamed it the African Fog, adding just a bit of sweet honey and cinnamon. Yummers.

      @Babs – I’m so excited to hear from someone who lived in Lesotho. You must have some incredible memories (and photos, too!). Thank you for taking the time to share some of your food memories of Lesotho – it made this week so much richer. I’ll have to see if I can find the Five Roses Rooibos, I’m intrigued. :)

  2. Love this new twist to my favorite drink (London Fog)!! Thanks for sharing! I’m learning from my fellow English & Canadians that a traditional English London Fog has a squirt of Vanilla syrup, or baking vanilla if you’re truly adventurous!

    Love that you and Ava had a tea party with real tea cups too! Its a favorite pasttime of my two year old and I when there’s nothing better to do than to watch the leaves fall.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hi Tiffany – tea parties are the best entertainment for two year-olds! The great thing about the red latte is that kids can drink it – the tea is naturally caffeine-free. Maybe something for your next tea party :)

  3. very shiek portrait…

  4. sorry…chic

  5. Ava eats Lesotho was priceless…”What does Ava have”….a moustache!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This would be really, really good with a dollop of whipped cream and a Red Love Latte. [...]

  2. [...] most interesting by far, however, are the drinks. Just as with Lesotho, they enjoy their Rooibos [recipe]. And then there’s this other drink… that makes elephants all kinds of [...]

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