There was a time in my life when I hadn’t yet discovered my love for coffee. I found it bitter, repulsive, unnecessary. My father loves coffee—we have two Nespresso machines at home: one for everyday use, and one for emergency situations when the first machine has broken down. He even keeps one in his office, accompanied with a box selection of Nespresso capsules and all. When I visited his new office for the first time, I laughed: of course he would have one in his office, on his desk, right next to his computer. Growing up, I knew his Starbucks order by heart, and I still do—the man would never forgive me if I forgot! I never understood his love for coffee, and when I was younger, I told him I would never drink coffee. He told me it would change when I entered university, and it did—even if it took a bit of time.
In my second year of university, my friends suggested I venture into the coffee world via caramel macchiato from Starbucks before trying ‘serious’ coffee. Before that, my only experience was a frappuccino from Starbucks, which I highly doubt qualifies as ‘coffee’. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to better, richer coffee—coffee that didn’t taste watered down, that didn’t need a pound of sugar or syrup to mask the taste of bad coffee. I am still nowhere near to being a coffee connoisseur, but I’ve become a coffee snob enough to avoid Starbucks coffee when possible. (When it comes to mainstream coffee chains, I prefer Costa Coffee. Their roast is so much better!) In the past year, I’ve even started buying nice ground coffee from Leo’s Beanery, my favourite café in Edinburgh, and brewing it in a little moka pot on the stove. (Thanks Sheena for introducing me to the wondrous ways of brewing coffee on the stovetop and for giving us the moka pot!) And with my recent purchase of an aerolatte—a little milk frother that is travel size and battery operated—I’ve been able to make my own lattes and cappuccinos at home!
This month’s Recipe Redux theme is hot beverages, which is why I’m doing a drink recipe! One of my favourite hot beverages is hot chocolate- I love smooth, rich hot cocoa. Since I’ve discovered the power of maca, I’ve been adding it to my hot chocolates, and even my mochas. I tried my first maca cocoa latte at Fresh in Toronto for the first time this summer, and there’s no going back now!
So, what is maca? Maca is a root native to the Peruvian Andres. It is a superfood that helps to stabilize hormones- if you are experiencing anxiety, menstrual pain and cramps, or a lack of sexual libido, try adding a teaspoon of maca into your coffee, hot cocoa, or smoothies. It is also a natural energizer that won’t give you a sugar crash like Red Bull will! The flavour is quite rich, somewhat resembling a mixture of cocoa and butterscotch.
Maca Cocoa Lattes
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup strong coffee or 2 shots of espresso
2 teaspoons hot chocolate powder (I use Montezuma’s Organic Dark Drinking Chocolate)
1 teaspoon maca powder
raw honey/maple syrup
Brew your coffee. When the coffee is almost done brewing, begin heating up the almond milk in a small saucepan on medium low heat.
Once the milk is warm, froth the milk. If you don’t own a milk frother, use a whisk or a fork. You can also skip this step and just use warm milk!
Put the hot chocolate powder and the maca in an empty cup. Add the coffee, and mix until the powders are combined. Pour the hot milk into the cup, mix, and sprinkle cocoa.
If you’d like the drink a little sweeter, add a little raw honey or maple syrup.
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