More Than Words

It is hard to have the appropriate words to express our deep sorrow over the state of race relations in America.  We have been wondering what we can do, more than just words, to make a difference.  That made me extremely excited when I read a FB post from our friend Kevin Rowsey about their beautification project in the government housing community in Durham.  Kevin is the director of The Life Center in Durham which “exists to benefit the lives of children and families living in low-income environments through after school academic programs, teen leadership clubs and parental guidance programs” (

I love that The Life Center is providing real solutions to the systemic issues of poverty in Durham.  Our personal history with this organization goes back 25 years and we have become family with multiple people whose lives have been transformed through The Life Center.  We are so thankful for the leadership of Mr. Rowsey.  He is exactly the type of leader our nation needs in this hour: a man of character and an exemplary husband, father, educator, visionary, and community leader who is also African-American.  We are so thankful for his work to bring long-term solutions to the root issues plaguing our own city.


They are doing part two of a long term beautification project where the residents themselves are power washing the homes and planting trees, flowers, and plants.  We want to do our own small part to help them bring pride, dignity, and beauty into their community by raising money to purchase plants from a local Durham garden store.  Will you round up the change from your order to help raise at least $500?  We will also take donations of native plants,  quality trees, shrubs, and large flower pots.  To donate directly to them go to

Below is a picture of an earlier beautification project of The Life Center in the same neighborhood.  I can’t wait to see their homes looking lush and beautiful.

Ashley Odvody

Som’s Cafe Managing Partner & Tea Program Director

How Our Coffee Adventure Began

We had a dream of starting our own business.  My husband, Lance, started dreaming about entrprenuership when he was a boy (that’s him above) and has files full of business plans that he began writing in high school.  We talked about it when we dated.  When our first son was born I quit a job I loved to come home so that we could start our first business.  But it was two long years after taking the leap when the adventure started for us.

Lance was in a local coffee shop and asked the owner about his coffee roaster.  His response, “We haven’t used it in years.  Frankly I’d pay somebody to get this thing out of here.”  Within the week we had a friend who came and helped us move it into another friend’s garage (thanks Jeff @colorsalonandspa)!

This thing was huge-picture two refrigerators and a deep freeze.  We had a small house-where were we going to put it?  What are we going to do with it?  The previous owner gladly got rid of it because the flue caught on fire and it scared them.  Soon after Lance had a customer at his day job who shared his story about roasting coffee from his home.  It was during this conversation that we realized that we had been given a piece of equipment worth @ $10,000.  Yes, GIVEN to us.  After years of waiting and dreaming our adventure of starting our own business officially began.




How to Make a London Fog (Earl Grey Tea Latte)

London Fog

If I am not ordering a chai latte in a cafe, a London Fog is usually my next pick. I think this popular tea latte really shows the beauty of simplicity. While it may seem like a fancy drink, all you need to make an incredible cup is your favourite earl grey tea, milk and pure vanilla. It’s the perfect drink to brighten a gloomy day and also make you feel like a barista at home. Even though this cozy tea latte is very simple to make it is still packed with flavour! You get the burst of citrus from the bergamot oil and a light vanilla taste in every creamy sip. Spend 5 minutes making yourself a London Fog at home.

What is a London Fog?

It is a hot tea drink that is made with earl grey black tea and vanilla. It is topped with frothed milk which is where the “fog” name comes from. There are other fog-named drinks with slight variations to the recipe depending on the location. Despite the name, the original London Fog recipe is said to have originated in Vancouver, British Columbia. Go Canada!

London fog

Earl Grey Latte vs. London Fog

An Earl Grey Latte is like other tea lattes — it consists of the tea, frothed/steamed milk and sweetener if desired. That’s all.

A London Fog consists of earl grey tea, frothed/steamed milk, vanilla and sweetener if desired.

Therefore, the difference between the two comes down to the vanilla. It is a slight difference, yes. But, that vanilla addition adds a lot to this tea latte!

What is the best earl grey tea to use for this latte?

A classic earl grey is a black tea with bergamot oil. Sometimes an earl grey also has blue cornflowers added the the blend, but that is purely for aesthetics. Use your absolute favourite earl grey tea so you’ll be sure to love this latte. You can use loose leaf or tea bags. If you need some help finding a great earl grey, check out these recommendations. Make sure the earl grey tea is blended with real/natural bergamot oil and nothing artificial.

What form of vanilla is the best to use for this latte?

When it’s time to add the star ingredient to this latte — vanilla — use whatever form you have on hand. What I use most often and in this recipe is pure vanilla extract. It offers a true, rich flavour. You can also use vanilla powder, vanilla beans or even vanilla simple syrup. In cafes, vanilla syrup is often used for a London Fog. However, if you use vanilla simple syrup in yours at home, you may want to omit any additional sweetener in the recipe as that form of vanilla flavouring is already filled with sugar. Since the recipe below is using pure vanilla extract, it calls for sweetener, too.

Don’t have any vanilla at home? You can use any milk for this recipe! So, if you have a vanilla flavoured almond milk, oat milk, etc. use that in its place! The vanilla will be more subtle, but this option is better than nothing.

London Fog

London Fog Recipe

This recipe makes 1 mug serving or 2 if you serve it up in vintage teacups!Double the amount of tea is used to create a stronger earl grey flavour before adding the milk.

London Fog (Earl Grey Tea Latte)

Yield: 1

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

An earl grey tea latte with a splash of vanilla makes for a delicious London Fog. Creamy, comforting and flavourful.


1. Steep earl grey tea in boiling water for 5 minutes, covered. Covering your tea while steeping will retain heat and, therefore, help extract all of the flavours.

2. While the tea is steeping, simmer milk in a small saucepan on the stove. Using a handheld frother, froth the warm milk until it is fluffy and cloud like (about 30 seconds).*

3. When the tea is done steeping, strain the tea leaves or remove the tea bags. Add sugar and vanilla. Stir until dissolved.

4. Top the cup of tea with the frothed milk and serve immediately. Enjoy!


*If you have an electric milk frother/steamer, you can use that instead. If you don’t have any of these devices, you can whisk the warm milk in the saucepan by hand until it gets frothy.

Like this tea drink? Pin this recipe for later here –>

*If you give this recipe a try, send me a photo of your creation on my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Include the hashtag #theteacupoflife.