Recently, someone recommended trying hemp milk in my coffee, since I can't drink dairy or soy. I typically prefer my espresso neat (if you will), but the occasional latte can be a lovely addition to a rainy day, so I'm always on the lookout for places that serve rice or almond milk. Unfortunately, the last time I tried adding hemp milk to my coffee, it curdled and smelled like a well-used pair of Birkenstocks. I wasn't especially crazy about the idea of trying again. The recommending source, however, seemed to know her hemp milk, and promised me that a trip to Neptune Coffee in Greenwood would change my mind. So off I went, reluctantly, to test the theory.
Hemp-milk latte art at Neptune Coffee in Greenwood.
Hemp milk, hailed for its nutrient-dense, high-essential-fatty-acid, high-calcium properties, steams like a dream. Regardless of what you think of the flavor, there is no room to argue about the difference between the latte "art" produced with rice milk and that produced with hemp. Boasting a texture far more similar to cow's milk, hemp milk has a flavor reminiscent of soy milk's "earthiness," but is markedly easier for most people to digest. Plus, adding hemp to your coffee makes you seem inherently hip.Neptune's hemp-milk latte did not disappoint. At least not as much as a hemp-milk latte could. Smooth, creamy, and tasting nothing at all like pre-worn sandals, the only complaint I was really left to make was that the milk absorbed and softened too much of the coffee's flavor . . . a complaint that could easily be made against cow's milk as well.
While at Neptune, I also had the opportunity to sample their current single-origin espresso. Since Neptune doesn't have its own roastery (using Victrola's roasting facilities for its main espresso), it occasionally hosts single-origin espressos from other roasteries. Currently on bar is the Mexico Nayarita from Velton's Coffee Roasting Company in Everett. A fascinating coffee, with characteristics similar to the brightness of kumquats and the sweetness of late-season Rainier cherries, it is well worth stopping in to check out. Definitely not in a hemp-milk latte, though. The Nayarita should be sampled on its own, and the hemp milk should be combined with the usual Neptune espresso blend.
Neptune Coffee is located at 8415 Greenwood Ave. N., and open Mon.-Sat. from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sundays from 8-8).
On a non-coffee note: the ironic fact of the day is that (according to multiple online articles), one of the many uses the hemp plant has is . . . weed control. No really! That's what the Internet says.