I always feel left out of cafe culture. I don’t like coffee, I’m fussy about how my tea is made and hot chocolate means whipped cream and an extra hour’s running to get rid of it, but I have discovered a new love – the Purple Sweet Potato Latte – and yes, it does include actual spuds.
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I admit at first when I saw the sign for one outside a cafe in Sydney’s Chinatown I wasn’t massively convinced, but I decided to add it to my list of things to try on my recent blog research day (the one that saw me finding sushi doughnuts and eating spiny sea urchin).
After all, it’s purple – my favourite colour, it was theoretically instagrammable, it was a bit odd (which we know I love), in theory, it was healthy – plus potato drinks are having a bit of a moment right now.
You can buy potato juice, there’s potato milk in the US and now, there are sweet potato lattes.
Admittedly, I was fully expecting to take one mouthful and think ‘urgh’ and so, I hid at the back of the Kanzi Cafe on Sussex Street so they couldn’t see my face as I drank it. But there was no need – I was love at first slurp.
In fact, if you hadn’t told me it had potato in it I’d never have guessed. It doesn’t really impact on the flavour in any way. Instead, it’s just like drinking a cup of purple hot, sweet milk.
It reminded me of being little at my Nan’s house when I was given a cup of hot milk just before I went to bed. I loved spending nights at my Nan’s house so I was immediately in a happy place.
My only disappointment was that it wasn’t quite as purple as I was expecting so my plan of purple latte-based insta-domination failed.
Why Sweet Potatoes?
It seems that the trend has come to Sydney from Korea where it’s a seasonal thing based around when purple sweet potatoes come into season.
Apparently, these don’t have quite the same taste as the sweet potatoes we get here in Australia – or those that are found in the UK or the US.
Korean sweet potato are less obviously sweet and slightly more nutty – but there are latte fans out there who, when deprived of the real thing, have tried the recipe with normal sweet potatoes and reported success.
Purple sweet potatoes are getting easier to find, but you might find them called Japanese sweet potatoes, Okinawan sweet potatoes or Hawaiian Sweet potatoes in shops.
Are Sweet Potato Lattes Healthy?
Yes – in fact, the sweet potato latte is actually a bit of a nutrient bomb in a cup.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.
You need vitamin A for good immunity – it helps shore up the mucus membranes of the nose making it harder for colds and flu to take hold, plus it’s essential for healthy eyesight.
Other nutrients in sweet potato include vitamin C, a selection of energising B vitamins and some of the vital minerals like copper and potassium.
Add that to the calcium and other goodies in the milk and it’s a like a little frothy vitamin injection.
How Many Calories in a Sweet Potato Latte?
It’s a bit hard to tell how much one would be in a cafe, but the recipe below would contain about 300 calories made with 250ml of milk, one average-sized sweet potato and a spoonful of sugar.
Where to Find Sweet Potato Lattes
You’ll find sweet potato lattes (of varying colours) in a few cafes in Sydney and Melbourne.
I haven’t found a confirmed sighting of it in London but there are rumours that you’ll find them in some smaller Korean Cafes.
How to Make Fresh Sweet Potato Latte at Home
If you want to try and make your own though it’s an easy enough recipe even I could manage it!
If you can’t find purple sweet potatoes, you can just use normal sweet potatoes …
- Peel then steam or bake the sweet potato until it is soft.
- Heat the milk and then blend the potato with it – use about 2 tablespoons of potato flesh for every cup of milk.
- Add a dash of sugar to sweeten things up and stir.
Should you be so inclined you can give the milk a froth and add a couple of flaked almonds on top – I think the one I had at Kanzi actually had a tiny spoonful of oats which added an extra something. I’ve also seen them topped with cinnamon.
I’m definitely a fan.
The Cheat Version
If you want your sweet potato lattes purple as purple can be, but can’t buy purple sweet potatoes where you are, you can actually buy purple sweet potato latte powder that you just add to hot milk.
If you’re in Australia, have a look at Simara Purple Potato Latte Powder.
In the UK and US, you can buy the powder on Amazon. Click here to check it out.
If you liked this post, you might also like our analysis of another Korean drink trend – Dalgano Coffee – click here to check that one out.
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Want to give making a sweet potato latte a try?: Here are four things you might need – other than sweet potatoes. Click the pics and you’ll go straight to an order page on Amazon where you can find out more …