Today, in honor of the end of Fall fast approaching, we’re going to jump into something bigger. Something better. That’s right, we’re going to talk about hot tasty comfort drinks.
Not just any hot drinks though. You already know about coffee and normal tea, so we’re going to skip those. Yes… that means even skipping pumpkin spice lattes! Instead we are going to explore the world of hot caffeine free drinks you’ve probably never heard of that are great for you and won’t keep you awake if you drink them before bed. Let’s go!
Dandelion Coffee Latte
Dandelion coffee is just another name for a tisane made from dandelion leaves. Because the resulting brew is a little bitter and acidic, it has been called poor man’s coffee in the past. You can drink this because you know it has a lot of vitamin A, K, C, and Calcium AND it won’t stain your teeth or wear down the enamel on them. It’s also the fashionable food of the year. If you need another reason to love dandelion coffee besides just using up the weeds you’ve been pulling out of your garden anyways (assuming you live somewhere things are growing right now and dandelions are a weed in your area, like the Southern USA) this can also be made into a pumpkin spice latte with a twist! Just combine
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup dandelion tea
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
for a rich and creamy latte without the expense of buying from your local cafe or worry over caffeine or getting coffee that isn’t fair trade. You can buy roasted or dried dandelion leaves online, or you can buy a blend of dandelion and other ingredients from Dandy Blend that is supposed to be a combination that tastes like coffee smells. I found personally that sometimes coffee can taste like coffee smells, but in my experience only the green beans straight off the tree actually taste that good without any acidic aftertaste- because apparently it gains the acidic flavor over time and shipping the beans to a retailer near you leaves a lot of time for it to get more and more acidic. You can skip all that hassle by buying straight dandelion or dandelion blend to get a brew without the caffeine though.
I dry whole bundles of these in the Summer precisely because I want to use them for tea in the Winter.
Carob is a Mediterranean food. It tastes about halfway between cinnamon and cocoa powder, if that makes sense, but is milder than either. It’s easy to make a hot chocolate alternative with this plant, and there’s several reasons why you might want to. For one there is the concern over caffeine again, as chocolate does contain some of that sleep reducing quality. Chocolate also has the problem that, though it does contain some good for you nutrients, it also has been shown to prevent calcium absorption into the bones and cause acne. Both of those are major reasons why I like to occasionally take a break from my favorite dessert. The last reason is that it is expensive for me to find soy and corn free eating dessert chocolates (as opposed to savory chocolates intended for savory mole sauce or something similar) in the US. Most chocolates have soy lecithin or corn syrup in them, and I’m unfortunately allergic to both of those things, so I can’t afford to eat chocolate too often. Which, yes, is heartbreaking.
But carob is a good alternative. You can find recipes online to make carob truffles just like the chocolate bonbons you love, but making a cup of hot carob is a lot like making hot chocolate from scratch. You combine
- 1 cup (250 ml) rice milk (you can use any other milk I just find the thin texture of rice milk reminds me of the texture of the common watery hot chocolates I am used to)
- 1 tbsp carob powder
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- one drop of mint extract for funsies
- 2 tsp honey or other sweetener
My new favorite go-to drink is not really a new drink at all realistically speaking. But eh, discovering things for the first time makes them new to you even if the world has already known about them. White coffee is orange blossom water stirred into hot water. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Some people like to go all out and add some sweetener to it, but honestly it’s great the way it is. You can add just a spoonful to your mug and it will be a fragrant and light drink to cheer you up on a dark cold day- and that’s what a warm drink is all about in Winter.