Homemade Coffee Flavors WITHOUT The Nasty Additives
Written by: Jess Baumgardner
Every Friday afternoon, I have my favorite coffee drink – a homemade blend of cold brew coffee, almond milk, cinnamon, ice, a drop of stevia and a drop of pure vanilla extract. This is my version of an iced vanilla latte.
Prior to being an at-home barista, I would frequent Starbucks for my Friday treat. I’ve gone through phases of using their sugar-free syrups, one pump of the regular syrups, no syrup, soy milk, coconut milk and others to try and find the “healthiest” option. But, let’s be real – nothing I did was going to make those drinks healthy or any better than something freshly made at home.
And besides, I’d rather spend that $4.00 on a happy hour glass of wine, ya know what I mean?
So, let’s talk about why these flavor options at coffee shops are no bueno and why coffee creamers from the grocery store (yup, even the sugar-free ones!) are not worth it.
First, let’s take a look at regular ol’ vanilla syrup:
Ingredients: SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL FLAVORS, PRESERVATIVE: POTASSIUM SORBATE (E202), CITRIC ACID (E330), COLOR: CARAMEL (E150d)
SUGAR, first ingredient. Natural flavors – did you know that MSG can actually be labeled as a natural flavor? Move on!
“Okay, but they have sugar-free options!” This is true! Let’s look at one:
Ingredients: WATER, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MALTODEXTRIN, CELLULOSE GUM (E466), CITRIC ACID (E330), SUCRALOSE (E955), PRESERVATIVE: SODIUM BENZOATE (E211)
Cool, we have natural AND artificial flavors in this one. Plus, sucralose (AKA chemical-fake-sugar) that actually leads to weight gain and digestive issues.
How about the non-dairy creamers from the grocery store?
Did you know that they are flammable? As in, you can use them to help start a campfire (google it!). Judging by these ingredients, it totally makes sense:
Ingredients: CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (COCONUT AND/OR PALM KERNEL AND/OR SOYBEAN), SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)**, LESS THAN 2% OF DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM ALUMINOSILICATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ANNATTO COLOR
We basically have sugar, oils and other strange ingredients here. All of which are not natural and lead to digestive issues at the least and eventual disease at the worst. This looks like something you would play with in chemistry class, not put in your coffee.
Not a plain, black coffee drinker? I get it, I’m not typically one either. Here’s how you can become your own barista and make the healthiest, yet tastiest coffee treats ever:
1. Start with good coffee. Coffee is HEAVILY sprayed by pesticides, so let’s try to keep them away from something you drink DAILY. Get organic coffee if you can. Even better – organic coffee that you then cold brew to cut back on the acidity!
2. Opt for almond or coconut milk and stay away from commercial dairy milk filled with unnecessary hormones. Yuck.
3. Flavor it with raw honey, pure maple syrup, stevia OR one of the better-for-you combos from the list below!
Here are my top 5 favorite combos:
1. Good ol’ Vanilla – 1 drop pure vanilla extract, 1 drop stevia
2. Mint Chocolate Chip – 1 drop pure peppermint extract, 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
3. Pumpkin Spice – 2 shakes pumpkin pie spice, 2 shakes cinnamon, 1 drop pure vanilla extract (optional – mix 1 teaspoon pumpkin puree into your milk before adding remaining ingredients)
4. Cinnamon Roll – 3 shakes cinnamon, 1 drop pure vanilla extract, 1 drop stevia, small pinch of salt
5. Mocha – 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup, 1 drop pure vanilla extract
Try to get all liquids to around the same temperature before combining. That means – if you want an iced drink, cool your coffee over ice before adding the milk; if you want a hot drink, warm up the milk before mixing. When I make these over ice, I put everything in a mason jar with a lid and shake it up. To make it even fancier, you can whip up some coconut cream to top off your delicious creation!
Enjoy! And Let us know about your experiences or if you have any other yummy coffee combos in the comments below!
Jessica Baumgardner, aka Health Coach Philly, is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She is dedicated to helping women improve their nutrition, reduce stress, lose weight and increase their energy through her personalized nutrition and lifestyle programs.
Jessica holds a Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school and the only school integrating over 100 dietary theories, from traditional philosophies like ayurveda and macrobiotics, to modern concepts.
After successfully using a holistic approach to prepare for her wedding in 2012, Jessica decided to share her knowledge of whole foods and healthy living with women, to help them fulfill their own personal goals.
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