Cocoffee: get more from your morning frappe!

Coffee. I love it. It doesn't usually love me. Coffee can be very dehydrating. As I get older I notice this more and more. I will fe...

Coffee. I love it. It doesn't usually love me. Coffee can be very dehydrating. As I get older I notice this more and more. I will feel great for about an hour -- energetic and happy. Then comes the energy crash and shakiness, not to mention the nausea and body tension. Coffee and I aren't great friends anymore. Because of this I don't drink it often -- maybe once a week on a weekend morning as a special part of my breakfast or brunch, followed by lots and LOTS of water to help with the lousiness to come.

Dairy. I don't eat or drink dairy anymore. I have loved dairy in all forms since childhood -- cheese, milk, ice cream, delicious. Unfortunately I developed a bit of lactose intolerance as an adult. Even goat milk cheese turned against me in the end, leaving me curled up in a ball about to cry from the stabbing pains in my stomach. One thing I miss when I grab the odd weekend coffee is the cappuccinos I used to love on Sunday mornings. The comforting foamy, creamy milk on top to be exact. When I buy coffee out these days I buy decaf organic espressos and top them with cinnamon and honey. Though I do enjoy that drink quite a bit, it pales in comparison to a creamy latte or cappuccino. 

I live in a city that is somewhat obsessed with good coffee -- but these days what cities aren't? Beyond the token Starbucks on every corner, we have many independent shops with well trained baristas pouring works of art. I'm sure you're wondering why I don't just order cappuccinos with some non-dairy milk from one of these. I would, and I have in the past, but I don't have a ton of choices most of the time. I can usually find rice milk (often a terrible variety), soy milk (I am allergic to soy) and almond milk (I am allergic to tree-nuts). So yea, not a ton of options out there for this lady. Even if I did drink standard non-dairy milks most of them are full of additives and sugar and ingredients like carageenan which can cause inflammation. I will occasionally buy a rice milk cappuccino, but they're never all that great -- I find rice milk doesn't stay frothy for long and it quickly transforms into an unsatisfying and overly rice flavored drink. Not to mention the milky little cup comes with a hefty price tag -- $5, no thank you! I'll take my bland espresso please. But no more, friends! I have a new homemade cappuccinno-esque beverage to share with you that you can make easily at home! I proudly present the Cocoffee!

This drink is great, really great. Beyond tasting sweet, rich and lightly coconutty, its really creamy and foamy.  I named this drink Cocoffee because it is full of organic coconut water -- an incredibly healthy and hydrating drink. After enjoying this delightful drink on Sunday I noticed no energy crash or any other telltale dehydration signs. What a joy that was! Did I mention this drink is delicious? The coconut water makes it mildly sweet -- enough so that it doesn't need more than a teaspoon of sweetener for a large mug, if even that much! The rich and creamy foam on top is created by my new favorite ingredient -- organic coconut milk powder. Organic coconut milk powder is just as healthy as fresh coconut milk (full of healthy coconut oil and packed with vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus) -- it is simply the freeze-dried version of fresh coconut milk. Adding it to a liquid or water and blending it in a blender or food processor results in a creamy frothy drink. I like blending a small amount with coconut water as a frothy milk replacement.

If you are a vegan, be warned that coconut milk powder often contains sodium caseinate (a milk derivative) in miniscule amounts (like 1-2%). This is added to help the powder bind to liquid when mixed. There are pure vegan coconut milk powders available online though, some brands are better than others. If you are lactose intolerant, sodium caseinate will not trigger a reaction. If you are allergic to milk, sodium caseinate should be avoided. If you have never tried coconut milk powder, I highly recommend it. I sought it out after experiencing indigestion from canned coconut milk which almost always contains guar gum -- a thickener and stabilizer that I have a hard time digesting (and so do many gluten intolerant folks I hear). It was very important to me to find a high quality coconut milk product that I could afford to use regularly because coconut makes me feel great -- reduces my inflammation and gives me a shot of energy. I love using coconut milk and cream in sweet and savory meals so I wanted a guar gum-free product. Organic coconut milk powder turned out to be a great option as it can be used in so many contexts. So far I've made delicious non-dairy milk with it, Cocoffee, fantastic sweet mousses, sauces and icings, creating the texture of a dessert loaded with icing sugar without the sugar or butter. Best of all, a little goes a long way. My tiny bag of powder has been used countless times and is still fairly full. I love this stuff.

If you have gone lactose-free or are just looking for a new take on coffee for the weekend, try my Cocoffee.

(gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, contains coconut)
Makes 1 large frappe or two small non-dairy frappes
  • 1 cup organic coconut water (not from concentrate, unsweetened, cold or room temperature)
  • 1 double shot organic espresso (cold or warm or hot)
  • 3-5 tsp (or more) coconut milk powder (look for organic casein-free)
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp raw honey (or more maple if VEGAN, or substitute coconut sugar)
Blend all ingredients on high together in your food processor or blender  to dissolve the coconut milk powder completely in the liquid. Once you stop blending you will notice a creamy frothy top layer. Pour into a large serving glass or split between small glasses, scraping the foam out of the processor at the end if it doesn't flow out (it's the best part!).

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