Meet the Horchata Latte
The coffee is a Central American blend roasted for her by Ypsilanti's Ugly Mug. "We can pretty much do anything anyone else is doing in town," she says--she learned how to pull an espresso twenty years ago, working at Espresso Royale--but she has two coffee drinks on her menu you won't find anywhere else in town, or possibly, in the case of horchata latte, in the world.
She got that idea years ago, when a customer asked, on a cold day, if she could serve his horchata warm. Horchata, the cinnamon-infused Latin American toasted rice drink (or "dessert in a cup," as she calls it), is one of Nolasco-Rivers' proudest slow-food accomplishments. She makes hers in the rarely used, labor-intensive traditional method.
She reluctantly warmed her customer's horchata--something she'd never heard of anyone else doing. "He said it was delicious, and I realized he was right. Well, over the years I got the idea for an horchata latte"--a shot of espresso mixed with hot horchata--which has all the sweet milkiness of a latte, but with a cleaner finish.
Since horchata won't foam like milk, it won't make a cappuccino, but she has a Central American take on cappuccino, too, in the form of milk mixed with cajeta--goat-milk dulce de leche--that she buys from a nearby organic farm in three flavors.