The great Toronto coffee drink challenge: Peanut Butter Caramel Latte
After a month of tasting specialty coffees around Toronto, I've learned that - with rare exceptions - most of the unique coffee drinks offered by the city's cafes travel in a confectionary landscape somewhere between a cup of java and dessert. With that in mind, I thought I'd end my caffeinated journey around the town with a coffee whose name alone brought on the tingling sensation of a sugar rush.
The Peanut Butter Caramel Latte at R Squared (or R2, depending on how you see it) is a seasonal specialty on their winter menu, dreamed up by R2 barista Gigi and only likely to be offered for another week or two before the summer drinks menu goes up.
Like most of the coffee drinks in this series, the PBCL is designed to sweeten a coffee without white sugar, while adding something more to the flavour profile. In this case, it's two tastes that most coffee drinkers would associate with candy bars or rich baked goods, without the big caloric load that either of those sweet treats entail.
R2 barista Reza takes me through the rather simple steps to create a PBCL, which begins with a heaping tablespoon of smooth peanut butter. He adds a shot of caramel syrup from the standard pump bottle, then mixes them together in the bottom of the cup.
A double shot of espresso is pulled on top of the sticky-sweet concoction, which is mixed again with a whisk so that the peanut butter and caramel doesn't lurk at the bottom of the drink. Reza steams a mug of milk and pours it over the top, adding a floral flourish of foam art.
The PBCL comes in two sizes - a small ($3.89) and a large ($4.39,) and obviously doesn't need any sugar. You immediately taste the peanut butter in your first sip, but it goes away quickly, while the taste of caramel lingers much longer on the palate. It's probably because peanut butter - at least the organic, all-natural variety R2 uses - isn't excessively sweetened, though the last sips of the drink will contain a few crunchy morsels of peanut. Needless to say, the PBCL is probably classified as a weapon in most grade schools with their overzealous nut allergy policies.
TOTAL SCORE: 21/30
Thanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our coffee-fueled adventures.
See all posts in this series via our Toronto Coffee Drinks Challenge Pinterest board
Have a suggestion for a unique coffee drink that should be part of this challenge? Send your tips to editors [at] blogto [dotcom]