The unexpected ingredient that makes your latte next-level

For centuries coffee was a pretty plain beverage, something you drank either black or with some combination of sugar and/or milk (or cream, if you really wanted to get fancy). Then came the 1980s, and suddenly we had this totally gnarly new thing, cappuccino! Okay, so this drink had actually been around for a few decades by then, but it didn't start to get popular in the US 'til the Reagan administration when everybody started going around with milk foam mustaches. Come the 90s, and suddenly Starbucks was ubiquitous and we all began expecting our coffee to offer something extra. By now, it seems as if any coffee ordered outside the home, or at least in a chain specializing in this beverage, had better come in a wide variety of flavors and have a bunch of add-ons, mix-ins, and pretty little designs on top. After all, what else are we shelling out the big bucks for?

If you've swapped your local coffee shop for your couch lately, you still don't have to rely solely on what Mr. Coffee (or his trendier cousin, Ms. Keurig) is able to offer. While latte art may be above most people's skill level, it's fairly easy to DIY some of the beverages offered by even the trendiest, most hipster-ridden coffee shops. One such drink is something even Starbucks does not offer in the US. (although Starbucks Canada does have a version) – a delicious and sweetly fragrant lavender latte.

How to make an easy lavender latte

Although lavender is known for its calming properties, you won't get too stressed out making this drink, since it's surprisingly simple to do. The one ingredient you may not already have in your pantry is dried lavender, but culinary lavender is available from Amazon. You'll start by making a lavender syrup – Fox and Briar has a recipe which calls for simmering 1/4 cup of lavender buds in 1/2 cup of water for 3 minutes, then allowing the mixture to steep for 20 minutes before straining out the flowers. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 3 tablespoons of water, simmer this for 3 minutes, then add in the lavender water. Stir to combine, then remove from heat and let cool. Store this syrup in the refrigerator.

When you want to make a lavender latte, start with 8 ounces of espresso or just strong coffee. Pour half a cup of milk into a small, microwave-safe jar and heat it for about 30 seconds. When it's warm, screw the lid on the jar and shake, shake, shake until your milk is all foamy. (You can also use one of those cute little mini stick blenders if you've got one, but this is the low-tech technique.) Pour two tablespoons of lavender syrup into a mug, add the hot coffee, then top with your foamy milk. You can decorate with an additional sprinkling of lavender if you like, but bear in mind that the buds on their own can be bitter.