If someone were to cut me open, I wonder if golden milk would spill out of me. There’s something about the soothing, warm flavors and the deep golden hues that make me constantly crave sips of the decaffeinated latte. I’ve never been a coffee person (despite persistent efforts for a few short months back in high school), and have always felt like I’m missing out when I order loose leaf tea at a coffee shop—especially while friends cup mugs of creamy coffee drinks topped with hearts and leaves artfully drawn with foam. And though I’ve slowly grown to love a good iced matcha, the golden milk latte was the first drink that I ever felt was calling my name. The fact that I finally had a beautiful (read, photogenic) drink didn’t hurt the affection either.
No idea what the heck I’m talking about? Golden milk lattes are made with warm milk (usually non-dairy milk), turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and an optional sweetener like honey or maple syrup. I believe it has roots in Ayurvedic tradition, and is beloved in the wellness community because of the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric—the spice that gives the lattes their vibrant golden color. A warning: turmeric stains. The proof can be seen in my blender, on my favorite pair of jeans, and on my white kitchen countertops. But, the warm, earthy flavor of the cozy drink makes it worth it, if you ask me.
And while I’ve mastered the at-home golden milk latte, much to the dismay of my kitchen, which may be forever tinted yellow, you’d have to witness my reaction when I spot one on a coffee shop menu to properly understand my excitement. I’m hooked, to say the least. Some weekends it even feels like I spend my free time hopping from golden milk latte venue to golden milk latte venue. So, whether you’re awaiting your first sip or a huge fan looking for more places to guzzle down golden milk, I’ve pulled together (in no particular order) a list of my favorite spots to order my favorite latte.
There’s a Bluestone Lane located dangerously on my walk from one class to another on Wednesday, often resulting in a weekly stop for their Golden Latte. It’s made with almond milk, slightly sweet, and tastes distinctly of the spices inside—just the way I like it. Bluestone Lane is also a lovely spot to stop for food (especially their toasts) and all the locations I’ve visited have been cozy enough to hunker down and stay awhile. Since they have twelve locations in New York, you’ll never be far from a golden milk latte when the hankering hits.
2. The Elk
I have no shortage of good things to say about The Elk—it’s my go-to coffee shop happy place. And when I came back from living in Amsterdam to find that they had added a golden milk latte to their menu, my love for The Elk only grew. I prefer their iced golden latte to their hot version, but happily drink either depending on the weather. For those who are newer to the turmeric trend, or who don’t love super strong spicy flavors in their latte, I should note that The Elk’s hot golden milk latte can be a bit strong in flavor. I’m a fan, but then again, I put turmeric on and in everything.
I couldn’t rank all of these delicious versions of the golden milk latte, but Chillhouse’s Golden Latte is hands down my favorite. It’s made with Golde’s Turmeric Wellness Blend, which is a super cool Brooklyn-based company run by women*. You get all the warm and cozy flavors in a beautiful ceramic cup, but they’re not overpowering, as turmeric and ginger can sometimes be. Plus, it’s hard to resist a latte with the word “chill” written in cinnamon on top. Bonus points because they have oat milk, which compliments the flavors and makes the latte deliciously creamy in my opinion. Extra bonus points because you can also get manicures and massages at Chillhouse, making it the most hedonistically luxurious coffee shop I’ve ever visited.
*Update: Chillhouse now uses their own blend of golden milk spices, which is also delicious!
Speaking of oat milk, Saltwater was the first coffee shop I found serving oat milk earlier this summer. Oat milk was common when I was living in Europe, and is a wonderful option for those with nut allergies. Saltwater, like Bluestone Lane, is an Australian café located in the East Village. It’s a little space, but full of light, and they serve you a very generous sized golden milk latte. One sign that they do their lattes right—when I got to the bottom of my glass, there wasn’t a thick layer of the spices leftover. Their to-go cups are quite cute too, but I like hanging out there too much to take it on the run.
This one is a little bit of a wild card, but it’s delicious so I think you’ll forgive me. Cha Cha Matcha is the haven for all things matcha, but one of their creations is a Ginger Turmeric Matcha Latte. Think matcha latte meets golden milk latte and has a spicy, creamy child. The latte has a bit of a ginger kick, which I really like, but is less subtle than most golden milk lattes. I’m guessing that because it has matcha in it, it’s a little more energy-boosting than your average golden milk latte too. Cha Cha Matcha has a huge variety of their options for milk as well, so you can choose between a variety of nut milks, seed milks, dairy milks, or oat milk (which they may only have at their NoMad location…not sure). It’s a great spot to take photos, if that’s a motivator for you, because the space is extremely colorful, with lots of neon lights, plants, and art covering the wall.