Lavender Latte Recipe: The Perfect Winter Warmer
A lavender latte is an ideal way to bring summer vibes to a winter’s day in the form of a warm and soothing drink. But lavender is a tricky ingredient. Do it wrong, and it can feel like you’re drinking perfume. Do it right, and you’re rewarded with a beautiful floral flavor that pairs perfectly with creamy milk and bittersweet coffee.
What You Need
- ¼ cup dried lavender buds
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup water
20 to 30 minutes
One 8 ounce latte + some leftover lavender simple syrup
For the lavender latte:
- Double shot of espresso
- If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can substitute 3 ounces of extra strong brewed coffee. Of course, it won’t have quite the same rich body as an espresso, but you’ll hardly notice the difference once you add the milk and the lavender syrup.
- 5 ounces of milk
- These days plant-based milks are all the rage (1), but dairy milk remains the best choice for a traditional latte. Whole milk and 2% are the easiest to froth, but you can also use 1% or skim milk. If you have dietary restrictions and prefer a vegan milk option, look for mildly flavored and unsweetened, such as almond or oat milk. Otherwise, you risk overpowering the subtle lavender flavor.
- 2 tablespoons lavender simple syrup
- 8 ounce mug or glass, prewarmed
How to Make a Lavender Latte
Sure, a lavender latte might be an expensive item at your local coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to prepare at home. In this recipe, we’ll break it down step by step and provide plenty of options depending on your available equipment and taste.
Anyone can brew up a delicious lavender latte, even you! So let’s get started.
Step 1: Make the lavender syrup for coffee
Simple syrup is so-called because it’s a simple combination of one part sugar and one part water. But it could equally have earned its name by being so simple to prepare, even when flavored.
To start, put the dried lavender buds and water in a small saucepan, bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, then cool the mixture before straining out the lavender buds.
Next, put the now lavender-flavored water back in the saucepan, add the half cup sugar, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the sugar fully dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly to a thin syrup consistency.
Pro Tip: This makes more lavender simple syrup than you need for a single lavender latte. You can halve the recipe if you want, but I think you’ll find it convenient to have the extra lavender syrup on hand. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge. Not only can you make more lavender lattes or iced lavender lattes in this time, but it’s also a fine addition to cocktails, pairing incredibly well with gin and lemon.
Step 2: Prepare the espresso
Many recipes for lavender lattes call for brewed coffee. But any serious coffee enthusiast knows espresso is a latte’s true foundation. It has enough body and intensity of flavor that it doesn’t get lost when combined with all that steamed milk.
If you have an espresso machine, prepare a double shot in an 8 ounce mug using your regular procedure.
If you don’t have access to a machine, then extra-strong brewed coffee is an acceptable substitute for espresso. We have a whole article on how to make a latte without a proper machine that offers some great suggestions for brewing strong coffee. That includes using a Moka pot, Aeropress, French press, or should desperation truly strike, instant coffee.
Pro Tip: Because you’re adding so much flavor with the lavender simple syrup, this is not the time to pull out your expensive specialty light roast beans. You’ll never taste their prized complex flavors. Instead, traditional espresso beans are the perfect choice of coffee bean to deliver the creamy mouthfeel and bittersweet flavor to pair with the floral dried lavender.
Step 3: Froth the milk
There are many different ways to froth milk, depending on the available tools, so don’t worry if you don’t have an espresso machine.
That said, if you have an espresso machine or latte machine with a steam wand, this is the best option. The high steam pressure generated by these machines is the only way to get the silky microfoam indicative of a classic latte.
Plus, adequately steamed milk is a must if you want to top your lavender latte with latte art.
To master your steam wand, give our article on how to make a latte a read.
If you don’t have access to a steam wand, fear not, you can still make a delicious lavender latte. It might just be a little harder to pour that fancy swan on top. A milk frother is the next best choice. These come in all forms, from simple manual devices to fancy automated frothers that let you choose your milk temperature and texture.
Don’t have an espresso machine or a milk frother? You can still make a great lavender latte by frothing milk in a French press. It’s as simple as warming the milk in the microwave, adding it to the French press, and moving the plunger vigorously up and down. This adds air to the milk, which is what gives it that all-important light and foamy texture.
Pro Tip: If you’re using a plant-based milk alternative, you might not be able to achieve the same texture you would using dairy milk, especially if you’re using a milk frother (2). Many brands are now releasing specialty “barista” versions of their nut, soy, and oat milk to combat this problem. These have been specially formulated to mimic the properties of dairy milk, and you should be sure to choose one if you’re hoping for a lavender latte to rival your favorite cafe.
Step 4: Assemble your latte
Now that you have all the parts, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
The exact ratio of syrup to coffee is up to you and will depend on your tolerance of sweetness and lavender flavor. If you mainly drink black coffee or plain lattes, try starting with just 1 tablespoon of lavender syrup in a double shot of espresso. On the other hand, if you’re used to Starbucks-style frappuccinos and macchiatos, then you’ll probably prefer a sweeter and more intensely flavored option. Try putting 2 tablespoons or even more simple syrup in your espresso.
Add your chosen amount of simple syrup to the espresso or coffee and give it a quick stir to dissolve. Then add your steamed or frothed milk.
Pro tip: If you want a subtle lavender flavor but still prefer more sweetness, add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup plus a teaspoon or two of honey to your espresso. Honey is a particularly excellent sweetener for this drink because its floral character pairs incredibly well with dried lavender.
Step 5: Garnish your latte
This step is optional, but there’s a reason the drinks you receive at coffee shops typically have a sprinkle or drizzle of something on top. It’s a chance to add tastes, aroma, or texture to the drink, while also making it more pleasing to the eye.
What you want to add to your lavender latte is up to you. Still, great options include a little bit of nutmeg or ginger, a few leftover lavender buds, a candied violet or two, a drizzle of honey, or — trust me on this — a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
Okay, now inhale deeply to enjoy the sweet, floral aroma of lavender, then sit back and enjoy.
A Bonus Recipe: Iced Lavender Latte
I love a warm lavender latte as a way to bring the aroma of summer to a cold winter day, but in the summer, an iced lavender latte is a refreshing way to jumpstart the morning. And fortunately, it is just as easy to prepare, beginning with the same lavender simple syrup and a double shot of espresso or coffee. Another option, in this case, is to use a strong cold brew.
For an iced lavender latte, you’ll want to use a milk frother rather than a steam wand because, no surprise, you can’t make cold steam. If you don’t have a milk frother, a viable alternative is to just put your cold milk into a jar with a lid and shake it vigorously. You definitely won’t be pouring latte art, but you will get aerated frothy milk that tastes great and adds texture to your iced lavender latte.
To assemble the iced lavender latte, add the simple syrup to the espresso and pour the mixture over iced cubes in a chilled glass. Pour the cold-frothed milk on top and enjoy the fruits (or, in this case, florals) of your labor.
Though honey won’t dissolve in the iced drink the same way it would a hot coffee, a drizzle on top is still a delicious addition.
That’s all there is to it. Simpler than you thought, right? Just because a drink graces the menu at a fancy coffee shop doesn’t mean it isn’t easy to make at home, provided you have the right tools and a fantastic recipe like this one.
For a tasty latte, lavender isn’t the only option. You can follow this same procedure to prepare all kinds of delicious brews. Just swap out the dried lavender in your syrup. The next significant trend in hot coffee or iced drinks could be right around the corner! Try different herbs, fruit zests, teas, spices, or combinations, and let us know in the comments what you discover.
Yes, lavender is healthy. Both the lavender buds and lavender oil have been used in medicines for many years, usually to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, and so on (3). Lavender is known to have a calming effect that makes it a promising treatment for many mental health issues. Be aware that a lavender latte, which includes caffeine, will likely not offer the same benefits.
Yes, you can make a lavender cappuccino. The only difference between a latte and a cappuccino is the texture of the milk. So to make a lavender cappuccino, you can follow this same recipe for a lavender latte. The only difference is you’ll need to froth your milk a little more to get an airier foam rather than a dense microfoam. This is also true if you want to make an iced lavender cappuccino.
Of course you can make a decaf lavender latte or a decaf iced lavender latter! In fact, that would be an amazing way to enjoy the taste of a latte while also enjoying the calming effects of lavender. Simply follow the same recipe but swap decaffeinated beans for regular coffee beans.
- Specialty Food Magazine. (2021, July 21). The rise and rise of plant-based milks. Retrieved from https://www.specialityfoodmagazine.com/news/the-rise-and-rise-of-plant-based-milks
- Grant, T. (2020, August 14). A Guide to Working With Plant-Based Milks. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/08/a-guide-to-working-with-plant-milks/
- Bowman, J. (2016, December 18). The health potential of lavender. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-lavender-can-do-for-you