I first heard about Bacon Maple Lattes on Anthony Bourdain’s travel show No Reservations. It was a show on San Francisco, where I am lucky enough to live. Apparently, the Pirate Cat Radio Station (now called Mutiny Radio due to legal issues) in the Mission District has been serving them for decades and they were so good Anthony Bourdain had to tell the world about it.
Bacon? In coffee? Sign me the hell up. Bacon is one of my staple foods, being Paleo and all, and so is coffee. I figured the combination of the two would be heavenly.
The only problem for me was the “maple” bit. At the time I was still having dairy in coffee, so the “latte” part didn’t faze me. Now I’m dairy free so having a latte is out of the question. The amount of sugar in maple syrup is insane, but I decided to have a treat – after all, it’s (fairly) natural; if primitive man came across maple syrup, you bet your ass he’d eat it.
So off to Mutiny Radio we went. The Bacon Maple Latte was as good as I expected. It was coffee! It tasted like bacon! It even had real bacon bits sprinkled on top. It was way too sweet for me, but the maple went so well with the rest of the flavors I didn’tcomplain. (Imagine a pancake breakfast, with bacon, everything drowning in maple syrup and coffee on the side – it’s like they bottled that. Without the nasty gluten.)
The price, however, wasn’t awesome. $5 a cup. Not cheap. However, Mutiny Radio is a small, pirate radio station operating on donations, volunteers and proceeds from their coffee. We were happy to help.
Now normally, I wouldn’t give away the secrets of a small, struggling business but I know that 99% of you don’t have access to Mutiny Radio, and you’re practically salivating at the thought of bacon coffee. Also, we Paleo people hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to nutrition, so anything corporate America makes, we can make better. Also, Mutiny adds cream to their bacon maple lattes. I wanted a dairy-free version. So, first of all, I encourage you to make a donation to the radio station by joining their collective. Then, go buy some nitrate-free, free-range bacon. If you’re up for the maple syrup, get the best quality stuff you can afford. You could also experiment with high-quality maple flavor instead if the sugar content is a big deal for you. Or leave it out altogether, maple isn’t for everyone. If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine, this is going to work best for a latte (or Americano if you don’t have dairy). Otherwise, brew really strong coffee.
The Evolution of Coffee
Mating of Coffee and Bacon Produces Delicious Progeny
1. Cook up the bacon. Save the fat – this is the part you really need. Make sure you cook the bacon slowly, so all the fat cooks out, then strain the drippings through cheesecloth or a very small strainer so that it is clear. You can store this fat in a covered container in the fridge. You can cook with it or use it for your coffee, just keep in mind that it doesn’t keep forever. You’re going to want to use it in a timely fashion. (Sometimes I don’t bother to strain the fat, I find it gives it a stronger bacon flavor which I like.)
2. Brew your espresso or coffee.
3. Add anywhere from one to two heaping tablespoons of bacon fat to your blender, depending on your tastes. (Mutiny Radio uses about a teaspoon.) Add your maple syrup, honey, stevia or sugar or no sweetener at all, depending on how you like it. Pour in your coffee and blend well (keep in mind that the coffee will “expand” so leave about the same amount of space in your cup as you would for cream). You’ll notice the bacon fat emulsifies and make the coffee look like it has cream in it.
4. If you want to (and you want to, believe me), sprinkle some crumbled bacon on top and serve.
Believe it or not, that’s it. The novel part of the drink is…bacon fat. Not bacon essence, bacon flavoring or bacon #40, just plain ol’ bacon fat.
If you happen to be in the Mission District of San Francisco, I suggest stopping by Mutiny Radio for a Bacon Maple Latte, otherwise, you can make your own at home. It’s incredibly filling and is usually all I have for breakfast.
You can also try your coffee with unsalted Kerrygold butter and coconut oil. This is called Bulletproof Coffee and it was invented by Dave Asprey. He has the recipe here but I like to experiment with the amounts of fat I put in to find the exact flavor and richness that I like best. You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly. Leaving out the butter and simply just using coconut oil is also amazing. I originally thought the milky color of the finished result was from the butter, but it’s not. It’s from any fat you decide to use.
Another addition is cocao or cocao butter. Artisana and Love Bean both make amazing raw chocolate coconut butters that you can dump in the blender, along with some additional coconut oil, to make a delicious, frothy, dairy-free mocha.
Experiment! Make it your own and enjoy. It’s a fantastic way to get more fat into your day.