I have to confess something right away . . .
This post is about being a coffee snob, about why I love coffee, how it’s hard to give up, and how maybe being healthy doesn’t even mean giving up coffee . . . perhaps it just means rethinking coffee – or being a coffee snob. Oh, and I promise there’s an awesome coffee-free frappucino recipe at the end of this :)
Here’s another confession to lay out there right away . . . I’m a coffee snob. It all began in college. Back then, I drank the cafeteria coffee with no problem – added a little milk and sugar and I was set. It went on like this for a couple of years: gas station coffee – fine. Watered-down, sugar coated coffee – even better. Weird machines spurting out flavored “cappucino” mixes – the best.
In my later years of college and coffee-consumpiton, I became increasingly passionate about environmental sustainability, thus leading to an even deeper passion for human and environmental health. Ironically (and appropriately, given my love for coffee), one of my first introductions to these concepts was through a coffee co-op I visited while in El Salvador. After learning how coffee (and all food, for that matter) has such power to either uplift or bring down an economy, a workforce, and all the individuals involved, I knew I had to change my way of consuming coffee.
I went from the cafeteria coffee (from God-knows-where, grown under conditions that were likely degrading to the environment and workers) to fair-trade, organic, shade-grown coffee, thus earning me the self-inflicted title of coffee snob. It sounds like a Portlandia sketch, but for real, this stuff is important. When you’re consuming something everyday, it’s important to ask questions about where it is created, under what conditions, and who is benefiting from it all. Purchasing coffee that I can trace the story behind, that I know is grown in conditions that are good for the environment, creating a good quality of life for the people producing it, and safe for my health being-chemical free, is all worth being a coffee snob. It’s a win-win situation. I get to drink really awesome-tasting coffee that has a more positive impact on those who are working to get it to me.
Here are some other reasons to be a coffee snob:
- It takes about 37 gallons of water to grow and process the coffee needed for one cup (source). Shade-grown coffee uses significantly less water.
- Organic coffee is grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizer, or added chemicals = better for you and the earth.
- Growers and others involved in the production process are paid a fair wage (be careful about this, though, as there’s some controversy in the fair trade movement – know your farmer! I recommend Coffee CSA as a way of getting high-quality coffee while really knowing who’s behind it)
- Good coffee tastes so much better, y’all!
I have tried giving up coffee cold turkey. I’ve tried giving it up gradually, going from 2 cups a day to 1, then phasing it out completely. I’ve replaced coffee with tea. This never worked because though I love tea, I love coffee even more.
I love the way it brings people together. I love sitting in coffee shops and reading/writing on a cloudy day. I love the smell of freshly-ground beans (sometimes I think it smells way better than it tastes!). I love the conversations that happen around coffee. I love the inspiration and the beautiful ideas that come to life with coffee in hand. I love the warmth it provides on a cold day.
I love coffee. And that’s that.
So, as I said, this post isn’t about sipping frappucinos, nor is it about giving up coffee cold turkey because if you don’t, you will die.
This post is about sharing some different ideas and ways of enjoying coffee or coffee-free beverages.
Rather than share with you the many reasons to give up coffee, and the equally-convincing reasons to keep drinking it (in moderation!), I recommend reading the article, The Good, The Bad, & the Coffee: Should We Drink Coffee? from Girl Meets Nourishment.
Enter, Dandy Blend. Dandy Blend is the new kid on the block that has my heart. If you’re looking to give up coffee, or replace it partially, this is a wonderful “replacement.”
It is vegan & gluten-free (not unlike coffee). There is 0 caffeine & no acidity (unlike coffee). Dandy Blend is an herbal coffee substitute that is made of dandelion, chicory and beet roots, barley and rye grains (how can it possibly be gluten-free if it contains barley and rye?). More information on Dandy Blend can be found here.
My honest review of Dandy Blend is that it is a pretty good coffee substitute – it has a similar richness, the same color, and similar taste & feel to coffee. It is not the best, however. Since I’m such a coffee snob, I have a hard time enjoying it on its own with the mindset that I am drinking a cup of coffee. But, it is quite good on its own if I can let go of the idea that it is “supposed” to be replacing coffee.
One way I’ve found that it’s a great replacement for coffee is in drinks like lattes and frappucinos, where the coffee taste isn’t as primary. That being said, I recommend drinking Dandy Blend that way if you’re really wanting to use it as a coffee replacement.
So now, let’s get down to business, shall we? Here’s a delicious recipe for a frappucino using Dandy Blend. This was inspired by the lovely homesteading family of Yonder Way Farm in Texas. I follow Lynsey @five_chicks_and_famer on Instagram, which is how I acquired this recipe:
1.5 cups milk (organic & raw if possible)
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1.5 tbsp Dandy Blend
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 handful ice
First, throw all ingredients into a blender.
Then, blend until smooth. It should come out looking a little something like deliciousness:
That’s it! It’s so delicious and refreshing on a warm day :) And, this is probably one of the only frappucinos on the planet that I can drink with absolutely 0 guilt! It is delicious and good for you. It really does taste good; I was skeptical at first but it is a great replacement for other coffee & sugar-filled frappucinos.
Do you drink coffee? Why or why not?
What are your favorite healthy coffee recipes – made with or without real coffee?
Share in the comments below!