Recipe by Katie Mae
This recipe for Chai Almond Latte has been a game changer for me.
From 2003 until 2015, peppermint mochas were the beverage I craved above all others.
However, for my first 18 years, I was definitely NOT a fan of coffee. Even for the 9 months that I was Barista in high school, I didn’t have a sip of coffee or espresso.
This all changed on my first of many all-nighters at Michigan State University. I needed something… anything…to keep me up for the next 12 hours so I could study (i.e. cram!) for my 8am organic chemistry final. It was either a Red Bull or coffee. Needless to say, the craze of Red Bulls sounded even less appealing.
We all know chocolate makes everything better…or so we think!
Thus, a mocha was clearly my best option.
Plus, all the sugar and dairy would cover up the bitter espresso. Little did I know that it was also feeding my sugar addiction, which had already been in the works for years.
Actually, without the sugar, milk and chocolate I would have never been able to finish a single cup of coffee.
Of course, as my awareness of the food industry grew my preferences have changed. In 2014, my order was a dark chocolate mocha made with almond milk, and only during the holidays would I ask for a little peppermint added, which is really just flavored sugar syrup.
Sure the dark chocolate and almond milk made it a healthier choice, but it didn’t help me escape the pleasure trap.
The plant-strong mocha was still high in calories, and more importantly it was still high in caffeine AND sugar!
My battle story with those two will have to wait for another post.
Yes, coffee and cacao beans are whole plant foods and they have health benefits, but they can also have undesirable side effects. So being a plant does not necessarily make them a healthy choice. I think that depends on the individual, including how they’re affected, what they desire, and what they’re willing to acknowledge.
Personally, I know I’m better off without any coffee or chocolate in my life. I’ve let go of them several times over the last couple years as the benefits are clear and endless, but somehow they manage to creep back in.
However, I’m proud to say I haven’t had any coffee since 2014, and I’ve only had dairy-free chocolate less than a handful of times since 2014.
After a few tries of giving up the mochas, and being very frustrated with my “unbreakable” habit, I had an idea. What if I made a caffeine-free, sugar-free alternative for myself?
I immediately came up with my Caffeine-Free Chai Spice and the Chai Almond Latte that follows.
Like I said, this latte is a GAME CHANGER.
Having this option makes it much, much easier to go without a mocha.
At first, I would have it every morning, but over a few weeks it was no big deal if I didn’t have it one morning. Now, I usually only have it the Chai Almond Latte a couple times per week, when I’m in the mood for a warm, creamy beverage.
I feel much more peace and balance without coffee and chocolate running through my mind every day, all day.
If you’re hooked on a sweetened coffee drink like I was, I invite you to try this whole food, plant-based latte as an alternative.
Makes 16 ounces (two 1–cup servings)
Ready in 3 minutes
Stores 4 days in fridge
- 3–5 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 cups water
- ½ tablespoon almond butter
- ½–1 teaspoon Chai Spice Mix
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1. Add water to a small pot over medium-high heat. Add pitted dates. Once water is boiling transfer it to a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a mug and enjoy.
Feel free to vary the number of dates and amount of chai spice to fit your taste preferences.
If you don’t have almond butter, you can also use whole cashews or sliced almonds. I don’t recommend whole almonds because the skins of the almonds may not break up completely in the blender.
If you prefer, you can also start the recipe with a non-dairy milk instead of using water and almond butter. However, most non-dairy milks are made with added oil and sugar, which is why I like using water and nut butter as a base.
Did you like this recipe? If so, please share it. Your voice matters in spreading the plant-based message and transforming our food system. Salud!