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An Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Healthy, Vegan Latte

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Many plant milks on offer for your morning cereal

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From Vegan Milk Choices to Healthy Sweeteners, Designing Your Perfect Vegan Latte is a Modern-Day Art. This article is full of advice about choosing the best vegan milk and must-have products for your vegan coffee addiction!

From Vegan Milk Choices to Healthy Sweeteners, Designing Your Perfect Vegan Latte is a Modern-Day Art

Nothing beats a relaxing nature walk with a warm latte on a crisp morning – unless you’re grabbing an iced latte with friends in the park in the summer.

But finding your dream latte combination can feel like a never-ending puzzle. I counted over 12 different kinds of plant-based milk at my local supermarket today – from soya milk to hemp milk to pea milk. Deciding which dairy-free option to buy can be mind-boggling.

TikTok is also constantly developing new latte trends, with high-tech equipment producing drinks in every color of the rainbow. (Sky-blue spirulina latte, anyone?)

But it’s 2022, and there has never been a better time to perfect your healthy vegan latte-making skills. Whether you are increasing your consumption of whole foods to boost your health or are a long-time vegan, there is a perfect latte out there for everyone.

I have taken the time to research and demystify the multitude of options for you. Whether you like the creamy, frothy latte variety or prefer decaf – I have you covered!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about making the perfect plant-based latte.

It’s All in the Non-Dairy Milk

We are so lucky to live in an age where there are so many vegan milk options on the market. I can remember a time when soy was the only vegan alternative (which I do love!), and it’s so great to have more choices.

In fact, plant-based milks provide you with the option to have the latte of your choosing, with a variety of flavors and textures.

I have come across milks made from:

Soybeans, oats, peas, almonds, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, coconuts, rice, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, sesame seeds, quinoa, and a combination of the above!

Alternative milk for people with dairy milk allergens

Texture

Foaminess isn’t necessarily the star of the show in a latte (compared to the iconic cappuccino). But it does provide a velvety creaminess that is essential for the perfect latte.

Not all vegan milks are created equal. Some of the best plant milks for creating foam are oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, pea milk, hemp milk, and macadamia milk. This is due to their high protein levels.

The foaming ability of milk relies on high levels of fat and protein. A surefire way to get a creamy, foamy texture for your latte is to opt for the barista version that most brands of your favorite milk produce. Barista milk ensures higher protein and fat counts.

If you’re looking for the best milk for a thick and creamy latte, your best options are oat milk, coconut milk, and soy milk.

Do you usually opt for a runnier, lighter milk texture? In that case, rice milk should be your go-to – it doesn’t foam or cream like other vegan milks, but it is a light and refreshing drink.

There are now plant-based milks that combine different plants to closely resemble dairy milk. This is a great option for anyone that misses the real deal.

And if you’re making a mocha or chai latte, using a nut milk like unsweetened hazelnut milk, cashew milk, and pecan milk have a rich, nutty flavor. These complement chocolate and sweeter beverages perfectly.

Which is your favorite vegan milk? Test them out for yourself!

Milk alternatives for vegans and plant based coffee drinkers

The Planet-Friendly Choice

A latte wouldn’t be perfect if it didn’t consider the health of our planet. There are a few considerations to be mindful of when looking into eco-friendly milk options. 

First of all – any of the plant-based milk alternatives are considerably better than dairy milk for the planet. You’ll find out why below.

Things to consider include:

  • Fresh Water: plant milks are made using – you guessed it – plants and water. These plants need fresh water to grow into the crop we can harvest to make the milk we drink.
    Fresh water is a precious, finite resource, so we need to use it efficiently. Some crops need considerably more water than others to grow. A glass of oat or soy milk typically requires less than 5L of water (which already sounds like a lot). Yet rice milk needs 54L per glass, and almond milk needs 74L – more than a typical shower! Dairy is far worse, requiring around 120L of water to produce just one cup.
  • Land Use: Growing plants for vegan milk requires land. The need for land for crops is driving deforestation, so the less land used, the better. One glass of plant milk usually requires no more than 0.1 square meters. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, requires the land to keep the cows as well as the land to grow their feed. One single glass of dairy milk requires as much as 2 square meters. If you had a glass of dairy every day for a year, that is as much land as 2 tennis courts!
  • Emissions: The production of a single glass of cow’s milk pumps around 600g of carbon into the atmosphere. The next worst offender – rice milk – produces around 250g of carbon per glass. Almond milk, followed by oat milk, produces the fewest carbon emissions.

Generally, almond milk and rice milk are slightly more harmful to the environment. But remember, any vegan milk option is vastly better for our planet compared to cow’s milk!

Oat milks are great for both iced lattes and vegan lattes

Tools

If you’re making your lattes at home, getting the right tools can help you build the perfect vegan latte. Read on below to get barista-level froth and pure aesthetic bliss at home.  

Milk Frothers 

Don’t have a coffee shop-level machine sitting on your kitchen counter? There are cheaper options you can use at home to get perfectly frothed milk.

You can buy an electric handheld frother stick to froth milk once heated. Another option is the electric frother pots that will heat the milk and froth it at the same time.

Even better, if you already have a blender, stick your hot milk in and give it a whirl for a few seconds to create a creamy froth.

No blender? No problem! Shake the warm milk in a jar or any watertight container to get a similar effect. Make sure to fill it no more than three-quarters full to allow the air to mix with the milk.

Cups

Get the ultimate TikTok-ready kitchen aesthetic with double wall insulated latte glasses. These will keep your drinks hot without burning your fingers. Don’t forget to use a reusable straw with your glass for the best experience!

Fancy taking your latte on a walk, or grabbing one on the go? Invest in an eco-friendly travel coffee cup for your journey. Some popular products are the Keep Cup or the Stojo collapsable travel cup for ultimate portability.

Going Decaf: an Alternative Latte

If you’re anything like me, drinking caffeine past noon has a serious impact on sleep quality. More than 2 cups of coffee a day can give me anxiety and jitters! 

But there is good news for us caffeine-sensitive souls. There are equally delicious caffeine-free alternatives that will fulfill any cozy latte fix.

Turmeric Latte

Turmeric has been used as a medicine in India for centuries. Research shows it has powerful capabilities such as fighting inflammation and easing depression. These golden lattes typically have added spices to provide a rich flavor and additional health benefits.

Mushroom Latte

New brands are popping up all the time with varieties of mushroom powders you can make into superfood lattes. Mushroom powders come with exciting claims to give you energy all day without the crash. Different varieties can either help you to focus, boost your memory or allow you to unwind for a blissful sleep.

Matcha Latte

Matcha is a popular tea in Japan made from the ground green tea leaves. Matcha is not 100% caffeine-free, but it does contain around 50% less caffeine than your regular cup of coffee. The L-theanine in matcha helps to give you a more zen and calm alertness. No wonder monks have been drinking matcha for centuries to aid them with hours of meditation!

BeetROOT Latte

Beets make a raspberry pink latte. What’s not to like? This earthy beverage is high in vitamin B9. B9 helps your cells to function properly and can even reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke!

Chai Latte

Healthy never tasted so delicious! Chai is a combination of spices, including ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Chai has been used in India for centuries to make the most flavorsome, cozy hug in a mug. Each of these spices individually does your body the world of good. You can buy it ready-made, or mix together your own blend of spices at home. You can also add coffee for a dirty chai!

The sky (and rainbow!) is the limit when deciding what you can make into a latte.

For a nutty taste in your hazelnut latte use macadamia milk

A Little Sweeter

If you’re like me, you like your drink a little sweeter but want to avoid sugar. There are a few healthier options that are minimally processed and still have some nutritional value.

There’s a thankfully growing awareness around the detrimental health effects of sugar. Some of the horrifying side effects of high sugar consumption are increased inflammation, weight gain, and an increased risk of heart disease.

If you want to avoid these effects but miss your sweet fix, see below for a few alternatives to granulated sugar.

Date Sugar

My favorite! Date sugar is just dates dried and ground up – which you can make yourself or buy from the store. Dates are full of fiber and vitamins, so a far superior alternative to sugar.

Stevia

Stevia is another plant-based sweetener that comes from the stevia plant. It’s a zero-calorie option that is over 200 times sweeter than sugar! Only a very small amount is needed to sweeten your drink.

Other popular plant-based options are maple syrup, agave, and coconut sugar – used in moderation. Alternatively, adding cinnamon to your coffee can add plenty of depth to your latte, allowing you to ditch the sweetener altogether.

Ice ice, baby!

Ok – so it isn’t exactly the peak of summer, but ice lattes deserve an honorary mention. Transform your latte experience from wholesome and cozy to cool and refreshing with a few cubes of ice and cool milk.

Americanos are perfect for vegans no milk required

Conclusion

The perfect vegan latte is at your fingertips. Whether you’re decaf, vegan, health conscious or sugar-free, there are so many options, as well as new ones coming out each year!

My personal favorite combination is a creamy oat milk dirty chai with a sprinkling of date sugar – heaven! Not forgetting to top it all off with some vegan whipped cream.

In summary:

  • Buy the barista versions of plant milks for the ultimate froth. Oat milk, almond milk and soy milk are the most accessible and creamy milks. But be sure to experiment to find your favorite!
  • Having the right equipment can change your latte game. If you make your lattes at home, there are plenty of tools you can use to have the barista experience at home.
  • Have you tried mushroom or turmeric lattes? Switch up your latte base for myriad health benefits, colors, and new latte experiences.
  • Ditch the granulated sugar. Instead, sweeten your drink with alternatives such as date sugar or stevia.
  • Keep it cool in hotter weather with ice!

I know – it’s a science. What’s your perfect latte combination? Let us know in the comment section below!

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The content provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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