“I’d like one grande vanilla latte with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and a touch of hydrogenated oils.” —um, no thank you!
The lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and iced coffees from the coffee shop, as well as most of the creamers, syrups, and flavored coffee grounds from the grocery store, are loaded with sugar and processed additives. Although many of us may keep this fact in the back of our minds because our taste buds love these sugary, processed drinks, it is important to be aware that they are not so great for our long-term health.
The good news is that it’s easy to make (even better tasting) coffee at home that will spare your body the nasty additives—and the sugar crash. In addition, there are many healthy options at the coffee shop that allow you to fully appreciate the natural flavor of coffee—plain and simple. Your body will thank you.
Tip #1. Use whole, natural ingredients to add flavor to your coffee.
1. Add spices, fruit zests, or flavor extracts into your coffee grounds like Holly at hollylarsonrd.com. I like to use almond extract with a little milk.
2. Make your own coffee creamer at home with whole ingredients like Carrie at deliciouslyorganic.net. My favorite is the peppermint mocha!
Tip #2. Buy your coffee fresh and keep it fresh.
The freshness of the coffee you brew is important when it comes to the flavor and health promoting ability.
To keep your coffee beans or grounds fresh follow these few tips:
1. Store in a dark, dry, airtight container at room temperature.
2. Follow follow expiration and use-by dates on the packaging.
3. Coffee starts losing quality almost immediately upon grinding. So, be sure to use freshly ground beans for the tastiest coffee possible. Coffee grinders add a little bit of extra clean up, but they are not too expensive and easy to use! (Click here to see which coffee grinder I use).
4. Keep your equipment clean because coffee oils can build up in storage containers, grinders, and brewing reservoirs and go rancid over time (adding a not-so-wonderful, bitter taste to your coffee).
Have fun brewing your coffee. I try to mix it up every once in a while and use a stove-top espresso maker for Cuban-style coffee or a French press for a new flavor.
Tip #3. Know how to select guilt-free choices at the coffee shop too.
1. Of course we may sometimes crave a white chocolate peppermint mocha or chai tea latte, but consider these drinks a treat or dessert, and limit them to only special occasions.
2. Next time you’re at your favorite coffee shop, order a regular coffee with no syrups. Enjoy the natural flavor of the coffee beans by drinking it black or adding just milk or cream and a little sugar if you need it.. Try ordering a cafe a lait, which is coffee with steamed milk—it adds a sweet twist to a regular coffee!
3. Try classic espresso drinks (lattes, cappuccinos, etc.) with no added flavors. I have found that the sweetness from the milk in a plain latte is just perfect.