Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chai Mate Almond Latte

I am an unapologetic coffee drinker.  Not too much, but just enough - like one or two cups a day will keep me in good spirits.  Imagine my pleasure last fall in reading about a recent Harvard study linking coffee drinking to lower risk of depression in women.  Around the time when I had just given birth to my firstborn and was still active in THE CHURCH, a similar little ditty made all the headlines that linked coffee consumption to lower incidence of depression among stay-at-home-moms.  Yep - I jumped all over that one.

Well, I'm getting older now.  My digestion system is a little fickle and my mood can swing from calm to rage in less than 60.  It seems like a cruel joke that my daughter is entering puberty as I enter menopause.  There's a lot of hormonal shift going on at home.  I wonder if that really isn't the root of all the mother/daughter conflict spoken of during the teen years?  Or midlife crises among the men folk?  I digress.  Back to my favorite caffeine buzz...

Chai Mate Almond Latte

Lately, coffee isn't so much a favorite.  I sometimes feel jittery when I down my cup o'Joe.  Doesn't everyone?  If I drink it too late in the day, I'll lie awake all night.  Serves me right, I should've known better.  If I miss it in the morning, my head will pound relentlessly throughout the day.  That's all part of the love of coffee that I've put up with for years.  Isn't it the same for everyone?

Then Jinjee over at The Garden Diet suggested that I give it up.  WHAT?!!  But I really wanted to give this raw food thing a good honest try.  For those caffeine addicts, she suggested trying Yerba Mate.  It's got an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so I tried it and I'm sold.  With just one or two cups, those dark clouds seem to be kept enough at bay, with no jitters, headaches or sleeplessness. 

My favorite way to drink mate is with some almond milk (best fresh) and Chai spices.  While I never thought I would go through the trouble of making my own almond milk, once I tried it, it's hard to drink the packaged stuff - it has no flavor.  It's really a synch to make and when practiced, takes little more than five minutes to whip up in the morning.

To make it, I will set aside a cup of almonds to soak in water the night before.  In the morning, I rinse them, throw them in the Vitamix with about 4 cups of water, some dates, honey or agave and a touch of vanilla.  Blend and strain through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth.  I save the pulp and dehydrate it to be used in other recipes.  Drink it right away and it will be frothy and creamy.  Pour some into your cup of mate and you've got a rich and creamy Chai Mate Almond Latte (and it will amuse your rhyming obsessed little ones like my 4-year-old who will spend lengthy car rides trying rhymes for just about every word you can imagine).

Fresh Almond Milk

Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds
4 cups water
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
optional sweeteners - 4 dates or 2 tbsp agave or 2 tbsp honey
optional 2 tbsp coconut oil (this will make it separate when chilled, I add this when I'm serving friends and want to add something special)

Soak almonds 4-8 hours.  Rinse and blend with water, vanilla, salt, sweetener and coconut oil (if your going for decadence : ).  Strain through a nut bag.  Drink as is or add to coffee, tea, or mate for a creamy latte.


  1. That sounds divine Dominique. I'm going to make almond milk 1st thing tomorrow. I have learned to make a mean latte at home, but know I have to let it go or at least only visit once a week.

    Coffee really dehydrates me and interferes with my body's ability to absorb major nutrients and minerals (namely iron).

    Before my latest vacation, I was doing good, replacing Chai Lattes for coffee, but the yumminess and coziness of lattes on the sea were irresistible.

    Anyway, I'll let you know how the Mate Lattes go. Thanks for the tip and the almond milk recipe (I made it without the extra yum and straining before - just ok).

  2. OK, I really enjoyed my Mate Latte this morning. Thanks for the tip. Wish my milk were fresh. I still had 1/2 a carton of Almond Milk to get through so, I used that instead. Thankfully, Talha was here this morning to help me just about finish it off. Maybe by Wednesday I'll be making milk.

    Thanks again Dominique.

  3. Finally made my own almond milk (no bags though). Yum (once the almond residue settles at the bottom)!!!!

    Thanks again!