Almond Mocha, interestingly, is an American spin-off of a latte with added chocolate and almond flavors. Combining all three of these immortal flavors in one drink was brilliant. It was one of those rare times to me when more was better. Coffee, almond, chocolate…….three of the best flavors in the decadent drink department. To me, it’s right up there with coffee, fruit and chocolate Dreams of Cacao.
I wanted Almond Mocha so bad one day that I decided, against my better judgment, to create one myself using only whole natural ingredients. I used to purchase them ready-made but only once in a while because they usually contained too much refined sugar and artificial flavorings. Now I felt ready to try my hand at making one from scratch. I would have to balance all three main ingredients and get creative with the spices and sweeteners. It couldn’t possibly be as good. Or maybe it would be better. My confidence level suddenly spiked.
First attempts at anything , small or large, can be filled with so much anxiety. The fear of failure, the fear that others may not like our efforts….too many times we talk ourselves out of things not because we don’t think we can do it, but because we’re focused on the emotional fall-out in case we fail.
When I first wanted to make this drink, I started looking for recipes online. I was disappointed that there were only a few to be found. A couple of them included pre-made ingredients, and the others looked so simple it didn’t seem like they could do the drink justice. I also looked at commercial recipes and no, those wouldn’t work either. Too much sugar and they usually included one ingredient I wanted to avoid the most, almond syrup. Why? Because almond syrup is mostly refined sugar and artificial almond flavoring. Not the stuff of whole food recipes. I reasoned that using fresh Almond Sylk with natural sweeteners just had to taste better than that. So that would be the base. The rest would flow from there. Add coffee, coconut water, vanilla, cacao powder …..it was starting to sound stark raving good.
One of the ingredients I included in my Almond Mocha was maca. It’s optional but added a hint of sultry malted flavor to my burgeoning drink. It also helped gently smooth out the flavors. Maca root has been around for thousands of years. Native Indians in Peru have been cultivating and using it for both nutritional and medicinal purposes since 3800 BCE. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 1843 that maca was studied by scientists and given the botanical name of Lepidium meyenii, Walpers after German Botanist Gerhard Walpers. Nutritionally maca root contains significant amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, and iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E. Peruvian maca also includes a number of glycosides. I am a fan, no doubt.
Made up the almond milk, added my other ingredients, and produced my first batch of Almond Mocha. It was very good, but not great. Something was missing. Second batch, added a bit more of this, a little bit of that……. Balancing all the flavors was not as easy as I thought it would be. I was close to accepting that I may not achieve that perfect mix of flavors but if nothing else, my dark enduring drink would certainly be healthy. Hard to go wrong with a coffee drink My Vegan Performance Café. Then came my final batch. One taste and I had to admit I was wrong. My healthy whole heart Almond Mocha was just as, if not better, than the ones I used to buy. Goes to show that the real deal is always worth pursuing.
One of the reasons my Almond Mocha was so good was using a combination of almond milk and cashews instead of dairy milk. Dairy milk can sometimes act like a buffer, like a middleman who unites the opposing sides. I didn’t want that. I wanted proud and independent little flavors that you could taste in every sip.
Healthy fats and protein, essential vitamins and minerals, enzymes…this as an all around treat for those moments in your life when a bit of decadence is needed…somewhat urgently. I hope you’ll savor each intentional and joyous flavor. And I hope you’ll take some time to nurture your ambitions. No matter how large or small, they should never be neglected or stored away for a rainy day. I insist, dear friend.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and serves 2 persons.
- There’s a lot of room for substitutions in this drink. Keep in mind that the flavor will vary and create slightly different results with each change. The ones listed first work best for me but you be the judge. If your almond milk is on the weak side you can add some almond extract for richer flavor.
- I listed several options for the coffee flavor. All of them work well.
- If watching your caffeine, coffee extract many be a better choice for you. It contains less than half the amount of caffeine (56 milligrams per teaspoon) as a cup of coffee (90-150 milligrams per 8 ounce cup) and is easy to use and keep on hand.
- If avoiding cacao, you can substitute with carob powder. You may need to reduce the sweetener as carob is naturally sweeter than cacao. When I use carob instead of cacao in a beverage I tend to use less so you may want to start with a lower amount and increase to taste.
- 2 cups Almond Sylk or other Almond Milk of choice
- 1 cup coconut water or water
- 3/4 cup unsalted cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 8 hours then drained and rinsed or 1/2 cup unsalted cashew butter (preferably sprouted)
- 3 Tbsp cacao powder or carob powder
- 1 tsp maca powder (optional)
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2-3 tsp coffee extract or 1/4 cup strong freshly brewed coffee or 3 tsp finely ground coffee substitute or 3 tsp finely ground instant coffee
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 2 Tbsp coconut/palm sugar or other natural sweetener to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a blender.
- Blend until very smooth and frothy. It may take a minute before all the ingredients are completely emulsified.
- Pour over ice or serve as is.
- Yields about 3 1/2 cups.
- Almond Mocha can be stored refrigerated up to 3 days. Re-blend to make frothy again before serving.