It was late autumn 2015.
I was in Tokyo after having visited the zenful, scenic Kyoto. It was my second time visiting Japan and several months after moving away from home. The cold air prevaled and night time fell earlier. Holiday lights were all over the city, in my mind’s eye it’s blurry and nostalgic like bokeh.
We took refuge in an artisanal coffee shop off a quiet alleyway of Shibuya. Got my mother a latte, and myself the biggest curiosity on the list: milk coffee. That’s right. Coffee-flavored milk. Milk portions outweigh coffee portions.
If there’s one surprising thing you should know about Japan, it’s that they have awesome dairy. Their cows are generally fed a better diet, so milk has that fresh grassy flavor and a luxurious creaminess. At Streamer, the milk coffee is literally a glass bottle of this nectar of the gods, topped with an earthy shot of medium-dark roast espresso. The top even had a thin layer of cream top x coffee dust. It’s like a Starbucks bottle Frappuccino, plus the premium fresh ingredients, MINUS the coffee lover imposter syndrome.
It was a comforting indulgence. I haven’t quite gotten the exact science of replicating this yet, but the very, very first step is using a premium milk. The ingredient is 50% of the final product.
Update: We went to Tokyo last autumn and got the exact beans that Streamer uses for this drink – their award-winning L.A.B. (“LatteArt Blend”), a dark roast. Milk is meant to be added to it, to bring out its chocolate notes. This is my cup of coffee, and I hope I never run out of these!