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 world. To me, it’s right up there with fruit and chocolate Dreams of Cacao.
I wanted an Almond Mocha so bad one day that I decided to create one myself using only whole natural ingredients. I used to purchase them ready-made but only once in a while because they contained refined sugar and artificial flavorings, not a good thing when you’re watching you blood sugar level and trying to avoid chemicals. That unrelenting urge one day prompted me to dive in and give it a go. The most important aspect of creating this drink would be balancing out the three main ingredients. I’d have to get creative with the spices and sweeteners since natural as well as delicious was my goal. Maybe it wouldn’t be as good as those professional concoctions. Or maybe it would be even better.
First attempts at anything, small or large, can sometimes be filled with so much anxiety. The fear of failure, the fear that others may not like our efforts….so 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. I didn’t want to think failure or think that it wouldn’t be good. Of course it would be good!
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 would 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 at this point.
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 BC. 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.
I made up my Almond Sylk, added in the remaining ingredients, and produced my first batch of Almond Mocha. It was very good, but not great. Something was missing. Second batch, I 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 and tasty. Hard to go wrong with coffee My Vegan Performance Café. Then came my final batch later that day. 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 because I used a combination of both almond milk and cashews instead of the traditional 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 flavors that you could taste in every sip.
Healthy fats and protein, essential vitamins and minerals, enzymes,mouth-watering flavor…this is a special 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 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 room for substitutions in this drink, however keep in mind that changing out ingredients yields slightly different results. The ones I listed worked for me.
- If your almond milk is on the weak or thinner side you might try adding some almond extract for extra flavor. It’s important that the almond flavor shine through.
- I listed several options for the coffee flavor. All of them worked well for me. If watching your caffeine intake, coffee extract 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. Decaffeinated coffee is another alternative.
- 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.