Coffee- it’s such a staple beverage of Western society. Whether you’re a cappuccino gal or more of a cold brew guy, you’ve likely got a go-to java drink that you can’t get enough of. But when we shell out the $5 on your (nearly) daily espresso, are we ignoring other fantastic non-coffee drinks in the process? Maybe you’re looking to cut back on caffeine (the average cup of tea has over 60 mg less caffeine than a cup of coffee) or you want to give those beautiful tea flavors (blackberry sage, anyone?) a try. Whatever your reason for taking a coffee sabbatical, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 great warm drinks to get at your coffee shop that aren’t coffee.
1). Mexican Hot Chocolate
We don’t know about you, but we personally will never outgrow our affinity for a tall glass of warm hot cocoa. If you’re going for that same rich chocolatey beverage with a sophisticated twist, we recommend ordering a generous cup of Mexican hot chocolate during your next coffee run. Unlike the childhood favorite, Mexican hot cocoa is made from chopped chocolate instead of powder, making the cocoa taste much more potent, and incorporates spices such as cinnamon and occasionally chili powder. Depending on what your local coffee shop’s recipe is, baristas will often add interesting notes such as fresh vanilla, whipped cream, or even a hint of sea salt to your cocoa. Like any of your favorite coffee drinks, this one’s totally customizable, so don’t be afraid to speak up and get it made exactly to your liking!
2). London Fog
“London Fog” is a fancy name for a hot Earl-Grey based drink with steamed milk and vanilla syrup. This warm beverage is perfect for those rainy mornings spent reading at Barnes & Noble, with its subtle strength and floral notes (due to the oil of bergamot). It’s also great for dunking cookies like shortbread or biscotti. If you’re not the biggest fan of Earl Grey, you can substitute any other strong black tea (as the bitterness of strongly brewed tea resembles that of espresso). Once you’ve grown accustomed to ordering London Fogs while out and about, you can master this recipe and make double batches for your all-nighters.
3). Spiced Apple Cider
This may be a bit of a stretch depending on which café you go to for your coffee, but some places offer hot apple cider (and it’s absolutely delicious). Coffee shops know that you’re paying big bucks for quality ingredients that you likely can’t find elsewhere (like authentic cardamom and star anise), so you can be sure that you’ll get what you pay for when you order a spiced apple cider. We’re drawn to apple cider in particular because it goes with nearly anything, so go ahead and get that ham croissant as long as you’re there!
4). Matcha Latte
You’ve probably seen every single kind of matcha-inspired item out there, but we personally can’t stray too far from the classics! The matcha green tea latte will provide you with that perkiness akin to your usual quad-shot latte without making you shaky a couple of hours later. Plus, matcha powder blends so seamlessly with the steamed milk in the latte, making for a smooth, creamy finish and extravagant taste. Our advice: start with matcha lattes from a well-known chain (like Starbucks) and work your way down to the independent shops once you’ve gotten acquainted to the taste. Fair-trade matcha tea tastes great, but might be a bit too much for someone who hasn’t had it before!
5). Citrus Tea
Who ever said fighting colds had to be boring? Citrus tea is an absolute superstar in the winter because it combines show-stopping flavor and germ-busting Vitamin C and antioxidants. Like things a little mintier? Check out Teavana Jade Citrus Mint. More of a spice person? Go for The Republic Of Tea Orange Spice Green Tea.
6). Berry Tea
Fun fact: green, black, and white tea are all from the same tea leaf, they’ve just had different roasting times (similar to the process of roasting coffee beans). The only way to get a cup of tea from a completely different source is to go after an herbal (such as chamomile) or fruit tea (such as apple). We’re drawn to berry teas like raspberry and strawberry because they have such natural, vibrant flavors and colors. Plus, drinking berry tea hot or iced is a great way to get an extra dose of vitamins and hydration minus the caffeine of other teas.
7). Floral Tea
What’s better than a hot cup of tea made from gorgeous flowers? A hip glass teapot full of flowers that bloom when hot water’s poured on them. Now, we’re aware that this kind of ethereal experience won’t be available at most coffee shops, but until you can get your hands on (or around) a see-through teapot full of floral tea (we like this one), you can enjoy a hot cup of jasmine or rose hip tea while listening to Norah Jones on Spotify.
8). White Hot Chocolate
White hot chocolate is like hot chocolate’s fabulous cousin that appears to be extravagant but is really uncomplicated and sweet. Most white hot chocolate recipes only consist of three ingredients (namely white chocolate, vanilla, and milk), making it a perfect base to add any toppings or special flavors you want (we’re partial to peppermint).
9). Yerba Mate
This immunity-boosting tea is incredibly popular in South America. Fortunately, the past couple of years have seen its rise to popularity here in the U.S., making Yerba Mate available on its own, in energy drinks, and even in lattes. Plus, unlike coffee, Yerba Mate will energize you without disrupting your natural sleep rhythm (as your body metabolizes the caffeine in mate differently), so bring along a carafe for those evening study sessions at school!
10). Chai Latte
We know we shouldn’t have favorites, but let’s just say that if we had to have a lifetime supply of one of these items on our list, we’d choose the Chai Latte in a heartbeat. Perhaps it’s the intricate blend of spices, the perfect amount of sweetness, or the subtle surge of energy we enjoy after indulging in one of them. Most of all, we love how it’s practically impossible to go wrong with this drink, even if the barista overdoes it on the sugar or if you prefer almond milk over whole milk. Now if only the same could be said about homework…
Which warm drink are you going to try? Do you have a favorite non-coffee drink already? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/GxQ13MXLTHQ
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.