Few breakfast combinations are as classic as coffee and doughnuts, and at Fleet Coffee Co. in Austin, Texas, you can not only enjoy a doughnut with your coffee, you can enjoy a doughnut in your coffee, too. The Morning Ritual is the cafe’s most popular drink, a cortado made from doughnut-infused milk with a doughnut hole from local bakery Mrs. Johnson’s on the side. It’s not necessarily a drink you’d expect from a place owned and operated by two veteran, award-winning baristas, but snobbery isn’t the M.O. at Fleet. “The Morning Ritual is really just a fun idea to get into the idea of speciality coffee,” explains Lorenzo Perkins, co-owner of Fleet. “We wanted to be playful with this drink, but still maintain the idea of ratios and coffee balance.” And now, Perkins and Patrick Pierce are taking the Morning Ritual one step further—with a breakfast cereal-inspired version of their most famous drink called the Saturday Morning Ritual.
If anything the “Coffee And…” series, of which the Morning Ritual is a part, was born of Pierce’s and Perkins’s experiences in the competitive world of baristas. “Part of the competition requires the service of a signature beverage, and it forces competitors to use ingredients other than milk and coffee along to craft an interesting coffee-focused beverage experience,” explains Perkins. “We wanted to bridge this gap between an industry insider experience and a cafe experience accessible to the public.” Hence, breakfast food-infused milk, which was partially inspired by Christina Tosi’s famous cereal milk at Momofuku’s Milk Bar. Pierce also credits World Barista Champion James Hoffmann for inspiration, with his signature coffee and doughnut beverage.
Fleet’s Fruity Pebbles-infused coffee is fairly easy to make at home, but the reason this simple combination of espresso and sweet milk works is simple. “Because it’s delicious! Well-crafted espresso balanced appropriately with a fun, infused milk is the perfect little treat.” Perkins continues, “It has all the elements that coffee enthusiasts want in a milk beverage, with that added layer of frivolity and whimsy that makes it accessible to the coffee neophyte.” The Saturday Morning Ritual is served with a rainbow ball of Fruity Pebbles and marshmallows, which is basically the breakfast you probably wished you had while watching Saturday morning cartoons. (For the record, Pierce's favorite childhood cartoon was X-Men, but his family watched a lot Doug. "As a child of the '80s, I'm squarely in the Thundercats realm," jokes Perkins. "Though I've made more Captain Planet references this week than I can keep count of.")
Whether you’re going for the Fruity Pebbles version or the doughnut-y original, Perkins recommends two ways of consuming the Ritual. He calls the first strategy the, “Garnish First, Question Later. Just eat the garnish, drink the drink, and have a wonderful day.” The second is more complicated: “Drink half the drink, eat the garnish, finish the drink. And then sit there in a small existential crisis wondering exactly where the drink ended and the garnish began.” Even if you don't have an espresso machine at home, this cereal-infused milk would instantly sweeten up any coffee.
Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, chances are good that you will, though Saturday morning cartoons are not included.
Fleet Coffee Co.'s Fruity Pebbles-Infused Milk
9 ½ cups milk
2 cups Fruity Pebbles (or Fruity Dyno Bites or other generic fruity crisp cereal)
1/3 cup simple syrup
How to Make It
Put Fruity Pebbles in a nut milk cloth and seal. (If you don't have a nut milk cloth or bag, you can use a cheesecloth or muslin or a fine mesh strainer. Think of this whole process like leaving the cereal in the bottom of your bowl for a while then just straining out the cereal bits.) Place filled nut milk cloth in pitcher.
Pour milk over cereal pouch. Infuse for an hour.
Remove cereal pouch, and add simple syrup for extra sweetness. At Fleet, the milk is used in a cortado, but this Fruity Pebbles milk can be used in any way you’d typically use milk.