Soy Much Joy

Chances are if you drink soy, you don’t really need soy (or almond, rice, cashew, etc, etc) milk. Or at least not in a biological, I’m-super-allergic-to-dairy sense. Psychologically, paranoidly-speaking sense then, yes, you do need it. Not only do you crave soy, your daily fancy, custom-made, self-designed, Barista-made-for-your-convenience-drink, and lifestyle demand it.

Soy milk is becoming increasing more and more popular; sure, it’s lower in calories, better for the environment and no cows were disgruntled to make it. But it also costs you extra at any standard cafe if you want it in your latte. Ten years ago, if you drank soy it was solely because you were lactose-intolerant; people pitied and felt sorry for soy drinkers: that wheaty, sweet taste and slightly grainy texture was just incomparable to milk. And no sane person would’ve dreamed of adding it to their beloved morning coffee fuel (unless you were *gulp* a vegan!).

Over the last decade, the soy drinker demographic has dramatically shifted. Soy is “In”. Soy is now the status symbol of The Urban Bohemian-Bourgeois Arugula-Granola-Eating and Yoga-Doing Lifestyle. These organic-free-range-veggie eaters are popping up and setting up communities all over major urban centres. They want to be seen drinking their soy and heard ordering their ridiculously long and particularly long soy drink recipes by the line-up, the neighbourhood and the world. A soy drinker is not satisfied making a soy latte at home. No way. She most likely, wants to be seen, ordering it her way.

As a Barista, I have never encountered so much soy  being made behind the counter! The cafe environment literally beckons this new ultra-healthy breed of faux-vegetarians in their athletica gear and stick thin, yet perfectly-plastic-toned bodies to swarm the floor and drop big bucks on their daily fix. Unlike non-fat and sugar-free drinkers who above all are worried about counting the calories, soy drinkers want the whole package: they want the attention, the greeting, the time at the register to order and boss about the Barista, they want the presentation and lastly they will come back and tell you if their drink is or isn’t soy-fabulous. While average customers will gladly opt for the next alternative if their usual is not available (“vanilla instead of hazelnut?” “Sure!”…”Medium instead of strong?” “Why not!?!”), soy drinkers will never settle; instead of lactose-free milk, they will either choose a Green Tea…or frigidly ask for a refund and take their business elsewhere; if they return, they will always ask you with bared fangs if there is soy this time!

My store recently experienced a soy shortage dilemma: we ran out days before the next order. Luckily we are right next door to a super-market, otherwise we would have crossed some pretty angry pretty people! Even a different brand of soy gave our regulars narrowed eyes and a definite edge. At least my arms are stronger from lugging so many cases across the street…yes, in reusable, environmentally-recycled bins (and I’m pretty sure the grocery store staff permanently think I have that I’m a soy hoarder, yuck!).

The Italian tradition of coffee is based on richly roasted beans and fresh cow’s milk. If you’re in Rome and try asking for a soy latte, they’ll call you crazy and disrespectful for trying to put a vegetable in a delicate cup espresso and send you back to where you came from (trust me…)!

Soy just doesn’t steam well. It’s not designed to be EXTRA EXTRA hot. Science says that soy, after being heated above 140 Degrees (a typical latte is 170 Degrees), turns into a cup of fat, all the nutrients burning away. Is that what you want sticking to your yoga-butt?

For a perfect velvet, creamy ribbon of foam, nothing beats the MOO! It tastes better too.

Love, Clara Button

If you drink soy you’d probably like:

  • An unsweetened, extra-hot, soy, no-foam, green tea latte
  • A cafe-au-lait, made with strong coffee and only an inch of steamed soy
  • A sugar-free vanilla, soy, London Fog
  • An extra-foamy Americano misto…decaf
  • Soy banana chocolate smoothie
  • a half-sweet, no-whip, no-foam, extra-hot, soy mocha
  • A soy no-water, chai latte
My soy hot chocolate. It could use some whipped cream!!!

My soy hot chocolate. It could use some whipped cream!!!