We know we say this a lot, but being independently owned and operated is the cat’s pajamas.
We can do whatever we like, whenever we like.* Or we can at least strive for what we like at our own particular pace--whether that's on the side of flavor and taste or the side of ethics and transparency.**
One of the supposed downsides of being independent is that you have to do everything yourself, but so what? We already fly out at 1am to visit farms in El Salvador. Or stay up until 1am tinkering on our roaster. Or cut our own hair and perform all of our own dental work.*** And it’s this do-it-ourselves spirit that inspired a crazy idea: we were going to make our own almond milk. We already did everything else ourselves, so how tough could it be?
Tough, it turns out. Our top almond-milk-scientists-nee-baristas spent weeks toiling away with different ratios of almonds and sweeteners with different sieves and blenders. On top of taste, it had to steam well; it wouldn’t matter how delicious it was if we couldn’t plop a rosetta in middle of your latte or hand over a cappuccino with a heart in it.****
We found the perfect almond source in Massa Organics, a family farm near Sacramento reinvigorated by two former tropical biologists in the early ‘aughts. They turned much of their land into organic rice production before adding plots of almonds in 2004. Looking to farm in a more organic way than even traditional organic farming, they soon incorporated animals into their farming methods; they've got pigs running all over the ‘natural’ areas of their farm and goats grazing on the almond orchard's weeds. They approached rice and almond farming the same way we approached sourcing coffee and running cafes.***** It was an easy choice, really.
So, picking (figuratively) the local organic almonds was the easy part. Deciding how many Tierra Farms organic macadamia nuts to add, how many pinches of sea salt and dollops of maple syrup to blend in... that was harder. And tastier. But finally, now we have our recipe. Not only is it all natural and simple and additive-free but it’s delicious and steams like a dream. A dream-steamer.******
As of now it’s only available in our Valencia café, but soon we’ll be bringing it into Portola & The Mill as well. To all of our dairy-sensitive or lactose intolerant friends out there, please stop in and give it a try.
*Except, much to our dismay, train dogs to speak English.
**Especially our pastry display cases.
****Note: hearts may not be anatomically correct.
*****Minus the pigs and goats.
******Not to be confused with a steamy dream.