There’s a new coffee company that has exploded onto the Santa Cruz scene recently. A scene, mind you, with no shortage of already established coffee houses. But somehow Verve Coffee is shouldering its way into the crowd and making waves. They have three shops now, as well as two or three other cafes that have some sort of lease and training arrangement to sell their coffee (beans and drinks). I hear tell you can also buy their coffee beans as far east as NYC. They are active in the competition scene (did you know there was a barista competition scene?) and many of their baristas are award-winning.
Their coffee is very good, but I’m not writing about coffee today. What I’m writing about is the drink I’ve recently fallen for on their menu called a Bowl of Soul.
Now I should say that this coffee company is really hip. The interior design of their shops is all recycled industrial, with walls covered in large paintings by local artists that I don’t really get (and I’m an artist!). The music is just the right amount of loud but not artists I recognize. There are only a handful of things on the menu and the baked goods are displayed like art.
At my ripe old age of 39, I’m probably a good 15 years older than their average customer. I’m never sure if me drinking coffee in a Verve shop is increasing my hipness quotient or decreasing theirs. So it took me a few visits before I had the courage to admit to the person taking my order that I had no idea what a bowl of soul was. She was very nice and didn’t laugh at me. She said it was tea steeped in warmed soy milk with honey and cinnamon. She said normally it was made with chamomile tea, but they could make it with any tea on their menu. I ordered it that day with the Art of Tea cinnamon fig black tea they carry, because I needed to be awake, not lulled to sleep.
And it was awesome. Rich and just barely sweet in a big enough mug to sip while I worked.
Now it is one of my favorite drinks. But since I can’t afford the bar(ista) tab of drinking my tea out all the time, I have recently been making it at home. This is so simple a recipe it is kind of silly to call it a recipe, but if you don’t live within range of a Verve cafe, I do recommend you try this drink at home!
Verve’s Bowl Of Soul
Heat enough soy milk for a large latte cup.
In the cup, place your tea bag, a spoon of honey, and a cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon).
Pour in the soy milk and let steep for 2-5 minutes. Stir and enjoy!
You can make this with a range of teas, so try your favorite!