A Lifestylye Blog

Friday, September 29, 2017

National Coffee Day! My Dairy-Free Maple Hazelnut Latte

Today is National Coffee Day and a great opportunity for everyone who loves coffee to celebrate, drink up and share their favorite ways to enjoy this popular beverage that transcends across almost every culture around the world!

I've been dairy-free for over a year now and this really challenged my go-to coffee drinking pleasures and recipe. There are many different styles to drinking coffee from cappuccino to espresso, americano, macchiato, mocha and latte. All have varying levels of water to espresso to milk or milk foam ratios. Out of these six different styles for drinking coffee, the latte has been favorite method. The warm creaminess mixed with the rich espresso flavors is so very satisfying to me in the morning as I get a jump on my day.

My milk preference of choice has been flax milk. I used to be a heavy soy milk drinker as I appreciated the protein content. But my personal and professional health convictions have been keeping an eye on the research coming out and I need some more data for me to feel less uneasy about the long-term repercussions of consuming soy. I've experimented with many different types of milks and my satisfaction has wavered on the texture, sweetness (too much or too little), protein content, and chalkiness (too much graininess or too watery). But flax milk has been the best one out there for me so far. Being non-dairy, I have had to get very creative with filling the gap in my protein intake- especially being a weight-lifter. The Good Karma flax milk brand I enjoy has a whopping 8g of plant protein per 8oz serving. It is creamy, not too chalky and perfectly smooth. I opt for the unsweetened version as I like to control how much sugar I add to my drink and foods.

My morning method:
1) Heat up milk in saucepan on light heat until warm (about 5 minutes- stir often)
2) Portion coffee grounds ~approx 1/4 cup into aero press (I use decaf- my body is too sensitive to caffeine. Jitters, restless sleep, anxiety, etc)
3) Boil water (The trick here to avoid overly bitter and burnt coffee is to bring water temperature down after boiling by re-adding some warm/cool water. The water should be hot to touch but not scalding. Or you could buy a thermometer and measure to 195-205 degrees fahrenheit for accuracy)
4) Add hot water to coffee grounds in aero press (The aero press has been my favorite tool for creating espresso coffee. It makes compact little shots of espresso for me, takes up very little space and is so easy to clean)
5) Transfer espresso shot from aero press to saucepan containing warm milk
6) Add 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup and 1/2 tbsp of hazelnut flavored organic cane sugar (If I must use some sweetener, pure organic maple syrup is a nice option that mixes well with coffee and a little goes a long ways)

and Enjoy!!

*Health Tip*
Coffee by nature is quite acidic- especially depending on how it is processed. Some people may experience upset stomachs or indigestion among other symptoms due to over-consumption of coffee and the compounds it contains. A solution for this lies in a fairly new and popular option on the shelves of many stores now called cold brew. Cold brew coffee is known to present with lesser acidity and can also be a refreshing cooler option for enjoying coffee at any time of the day. Cold brew can also be made at home by steeping and soaking coffee grounds in cooler water overnight and enjoying the next day.

Another consideration for improving the acidity issue in our coffee is to incorporate and add some dried cardamom pods into our coffee. Cardamom contains compounds that naturally help neutralize the acidic nature of coffee which in return helps improve the way our body digests and responds to the beverage. This is an age old custom and is widely practiced in many Indian cultures. Starting off with 1-2 pods and building up as taste becomes acquired is a good start. Cardamom has a naturally sweet yet spicy flare to it- very warming and soothing to consume.


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