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Lavender Latte: Wake Me Up

Lavender Latte

Before I met Matt, coffee was just coffee. I could certainly distinguish bad coffee (what my parents call ‘from the barrel’) from very good coffee, but I never really made the effort to seek it out. When I remembered to drink coffee — usually sometime mid-afternoon — it would be with plenty of sugar and often milk, so the coffee itself hardly mattered. More than anything, I’ve always loved the smell of coffee — be it instant Folgers, gourmet Four Barrel, or an Italian cappuccino.

In the mornings, Matt gets up with me to make coffee. He usually brews a big pot (6 cups) in our drip coffee maker, though, lately, he’s been giving the Chemex a whirl. Have any of you tried this amazing invention? It brews the smoothest, creamiest coffee I have ever tasted! I pour my coffee into a to-go cup and take it with me on the road. On the weekends, we brew an even BIGGER (if you can believe it!) pot and tend to drink it throughout the day. Did I mention we are coffee people?

Perhaps, in addition to traveling to eat, I also travel to drink coffee. If presented with an opportunity to take a break in the middle of my day for one single thing, I’d choose a nice little cafe, a latte (with extra foam!) and a sweet little something to nibble on. A sunny seat with a view doesn’t hurt, either. Based on a little Facebook poll I did yesterday, it sounds like a lot of you out there are coffee fans, and you have some very specific tastes! So, it seemed like a good time to share this creation with you.

In fact, this lavender latte recipe was inspired by a recent business trip I took to Vancouver. I swear, I don’t know where I’d be without Yelp, because it has helped me travel like a local on so many occasions. A quick search for breakfast places brought up this fantastic spot (where I also enjoyed house made granola, fruit and yogurt). Often, when I eat at a new restaurant, I’m not only inspired by the things I eat, but the things I don’t eat and pine after on the menu. In this particular case, a sweet morning drink sounded too heavy (I opted for an Americano) and the cassoulet was too big to eat by myself. Alas, I returned home with dreams of a lavender latte, less sweet and made with dried lavender flowers steeped in milk versus a syrup-based drink.

This past Sunday, my day was even more caffeinated than usual. We pulled out the good ‘ol espresso machine, cleaned it as best we could, and made some espresso. I steeped some dried lavender in milk, strained out the leaves, then foamed the milk. One stir of sugar, and this drink was the perfect sweetness for morning or afternoon. Take note: you could also make this drink as a cappuccino!

For those of you who are wondering, I also hit a few other fabulous places in Vancouver, including Nelson and the Seagull (a cafe I am officially obsessed with), and Shizenya Sushi (organic brown rice sushi, yeah!). The lovely Jeannette from Everybody Likes Sandwiches popped by to say hello and bring me an out-of-this-world Early Gray donut for my flight home, too!

Lavender Latte
*makes two lattes

your favorite coffee beans (preferably not pre-ground, though you can use the pre-ground stuff if you don’t have a coffee grinder at home) – enough to make 4 shots of espresso
1 – 1 1/2 cups of low-fat milk
1 teaspoon of dried lavender flowers

Depending on your coffee maker, you’ll want to make 4 shots of espresso (2 per mug). Add the milk and dried lavender flowers to a small saucepan and gently warm it over very low heat. You don’t want to boil the milk, just get it to a warm temperature. Once warmed, remove the milk from the heat and let the lavender flowers steep in it for about 5-10 minutes. Obviously, the longer you steep the lavender, the stronger the flavor will be. Use a strainer to strain out the dried lavender leaves and toss them. After you’ve made your espresso (or while it’s dripping, depending on your machine), steam the strained milk. The nozzle of your steaming wand should just barely dip into the milk. You don’t want to just plunge it in there; it will scorch the milk.

Divide the espresso between two mugs. Pour in the milk and scoop any extra foam on top. Serve with sugar, to taste.

P.S. We love our ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker.

Musical Pairings: Emily Wells – Mama + Lavender Latte

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • This is hitting me just right. I too love coffee to the point of traveling for a good cup. Last time we were in NY, one of my top food spots to visit was a coffee place (Abraco in the East Village if you were wondering). More importantly, you are totally my homie for using lavender here. One of my favorite ingredients for sure.

  • emmyk

    I was hoping your little FB poll was leading to a post about coffee! I’m going to make these for my Sunday brunch for everyone!

  • Yay! I’m glad there are other folks out there who love lavender as much as I do. It’s such an underrated ingredient!! Next time I make this, I think I’m going to add a little chocolate, too. Yay homies! Also, I’m headed to New York next month, I’ll have to check out Abraco!

  • Hehehehe. People like their coffee! Yes! Weekend brunch! Do it!

  • For me, coffee is a special treat that I really enjoy, rather than a routine (tea). My favorite winter drink is cafe au lait in one of those latte bowls (best with a croissant for dipping). 🙂 I am one of those people who thinks lavender tastes soapy, but I’m willing to try it with coffee. I’ve discovered that even though I don’t like lavender chocolates, I do love dried lavender as a rub for grilled lamb. Maybe the lavender-coffee combo will be a winner too!

  • naturallyella

    I am such a coffee fiend and the more I drink, the more snobbish I get. My parents just got back from Hawaii and while there, they shipped me some Kona coffee. I’ve also been thinking about the Chemex, I may have to get one! Love this combination and next time I step out of my black coffee rut, I’ll have to give it a try!

  • I’m intrigued … and I love lavender, though I don’t have a milk foamer. I’m thinking cafe au lait! Also, Earl Grey donut???? Yes, please!

  • kso

    My introduction to lavender coffee was also in Canada. Interesting! If you’re ever in Montreal, there’s a cafe called Fuchsia that uses edible flowers in everything — including their coffee.

  • That sounds amazing! I’d love to make a trip out to Montreal. It’s definitely on my list, and so is this little place!

  • Cafe au lait is a perfectly good substitute if you don’t have a milk foamer! The donut was crazy good. I’m already thinking of ways to recreate it…

  • You and Matt would be fast friends! He loves Kona coffee, too. We were lucky enough to have some in Hawaii when we went on vacation there 2 years ago! As for the Chemex, if you like your coffee black, it’s definitely worth the investment.

  • I have heard that lavender reminds some people of soap. I’ve never really had this experience! We use lavender as a rub for meat and it’s great in roast chicken. I say, if you’re nervous about the flavor, steep gently, so there’s just that light aroma in the milk. The coffee will mask the soapiness (I think).

  • It was so good to meet you and now I’m jonesing for a lavendar latte. I don’t have an espresso machine (yet), but at least I know where I can get a cup close by! And I’m so glad you loved the doughnut! Hooray!

  • It was so good to meet you, Jeannette!! Totally unexpected and wonderful. You were so sweet to bring me a treat…I gotta tell you, I don’t eat donuts a lot (just ask Tracy Shutterbean!) but this one was really something. Hope your move went well! I’ll have to live vicariously through your visits to Medina…

  • Wow, really? I would never, ever have thought to mix coffee and lavender. Tea, sure, but coffee? I’ll have to give it a shot.

  • This is the best idea ever.

  • Yup, it’s true.

  • Thanks, Jay! Glad you like it.

  • Myfudo

    Just the right combination…Lovely pictures. Love your nails and the effect on the photo. I have to try this.

  • My kids want them on their next weekend, cool post.

  • I know what you mean about seeking out the best coffee when traveling. Years ago on the first morning of our honeymoon in Rome, we had the most life-altering pot (okay, three pots) of coffee we’ve experienced. I can still taste it today. Lovely idea for lavender-steeped milk!

  • Renee

    I’ve put lavender in my shortbread but never my coffee. So trying this tomorrow morning!

  • I put lavender in my shortbread, too! I definitely had a revelation when I saw this on the menu at Medina…it was well worth the wait to find out that lavender goes well with coffee!

  • Oh, Italia…my ultimate happy place. We’re heading to Sicily this summer and I absolutely CANNOT wait to have many, many, many pots of coffee.

  • Thanks! That’s awesome.

  • Thanks! Nail polish doesn’t last long on my fingernails (all that cooking!) but it’s a nice accent color for some of my brighter kitchen accessories 😉

  • I’ve never though of pairing lavender with coffee – I’m intrigued! I also love your photos, they’re beautiful.

  • Thank you! I hope you try it 🙂

  • Kimartin

    I too, visited Medina in Vancouver and have been craving a lavendar latte ever since. I am so excited that you figured out how to recreate this! Thank you!

  • Tara

    Just returned from Vancouver and enjoyed SEVERAL lavender lattes at the same place. Medina is an amazing spot for coffee as well as excellent food! Highly recommend.
    Can’t wait to make them at home-thx for the tips!
    Will enjoy! Tara

  • CyllyMommy

    I’ve got to try this!

  • Pingback: For the Love of Coffee | The Gift Network Blog | TalkTGN()

  • Chelsea

    I tried it but I like a bit more milk in my coffee… I will halve the coffee or double the milk for more lavender flavour next time.

  • Daniel

    There is a tiny espresso bar in Greenpoint Brooklyn called Upright Coffee that makes these from their house made Lavender syrup. I am totally adicted to them. Definetly worth a trip if your in New York.

  • Amy

    A friend of mine showed me this trick that takes a lot less time! Just put the dried lavender straight in with the coffee grounds before you brew the espresso! It is really easy in this case to get a really strong lavender flavor so you have to try a little bit at a time to get it where you like it. I bet you could add it to the basket of grounds in a regular coffee maker too.

  • h|c

    omg cafe medina’s lavender latte is divine. in fact, it is that very drink that has me googling ‘lavender syrup/milk for coffee’. i’d have at least two lavender lattes while there eating, then would have them make a take away in my coffee flask.

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