Verve Coffee Roasters has taken over my town, in a good way. They started roasting beans in the Bay Area and their tasty roasts and hip branding have catapulted them to the highest ranks of the coffee scene. Their baristas are of competition caliber, their beans have made it as far as the East Coast, and their brand style will leave any hipster drooling. That is all well and good, but the reason that makes me excited for their takeover is the ‘bowl of soul.’ This heavenly creation is so simple and so delicious. Tea is steeped in soy milk and sweetened with honey and spiced with a dusting of cinnamon. That’s it. Why hasn’t this been thought of before? It feels like a drink that Greek gods could have invented or that Egyptian princesses would have indulged in. The name is incredibly accurate. It is nourishment for your soul, it warms your insides, it comforts your being to the core.
What I love most about it is its versatility. You can have it with any blend of tea, which makes for an almost infinite amount of flavor options. Verve’s standard is chamomile tea, but you can try any of the teas they offer. Across the street from the downtown Verve is quaint coffeehouse, Lulu Carpenter’s. They have their own version of the bowl of soul and a wider selection of teas, which sometimes lures me across the way. Lulu’s recommends about five different dessert teas for their bowl of soul, but you can get it with any of their teas. I’m not partial to the dessert teas, as they tend to be too sweet or pack too much of a conflicting flavor punch. My soul usually enjoys a bowl with a black tea when I can use a pick-me-up or the chamomile when I don’t. I also fancy a green tea in the bowl of soul, occasionally.
The simplicity and the flexibility of the recipe make it something you can enjoy at home. You don’t need a fancy espresso machine, but if you get hooked (which you will) you might look into getting a handheld milk frother which you can find for around 20 bucks. Heat your milk of choice. Soy is the original milk used, but here’s where you can further customize your drink. Bring the milk to a gentle boil. Steep your tea of choice in the hot milk for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and put it in your mug (or bowl). Froth the milk with a frother, if you have one. If not, pour the milk into a sealable jar, shake for about 30 seconds and then pop it in the microwave, uncovered, for 30-45 seconds to stabilize the foam and keep it piping hot. Spoon the froth into the mug, add honey and cinnamon, or whatever sweeteners and spices your inner barista desires. Sip and watch all your troubles melt away. There is no better way to warm up on a cold morning or to unwind with a relaxing nightcap than with a bowl of soul. Move over, pumpkin spice latte, the bowl of soul is about to stage a coup on the season’s comfort drink.
Photo Source: http://donabumgarner.typepad.com/aubergine