Coffee alternative for coffee lovers

Warm frothy milk, sweet nutty taste and a little spice. It’s not coffee, it’s a Dandelion Soy Latte.

mmm... coffee

In my quest for a tasty alternative to coffee my friend and massage therapist, Carly, suggested I try dandelion lattes. It wasn’t until I was in Melbourne at Leroy Espresso in St Kilda that I saw one on the menu. I was hooked! I ordered 3.

Roasted dandelion root tea has a similar texture and flavour to coffee without the health, fairtrade and chemical concerns of coffee. Dandelion is also said to help with water retention.

I’m still experimenting with different ways of brewing my tea. I bought BonVit’s Dandelion blend but must have bought the ‘fine’ grind as it put up a mighty fight in my espresso maker. It would be perfect for drip filter but we threw out our machine years ago. Next time I’ll try the medium. The coarse grind would be perfect for plunger. To be honest, I didn’t even notice it came in different grinds until I visited the BonVit website just then.

Watch out though, however you make it, because it sets like concrete if you don’t clean it up after making it.

In a further experiment to find the perfect DSL at home. I came across Hari Hari Chai. I am familiar with there beautifully package chai but never even knew they had a dandelion option. Even better, they did mail order. Opening up the parcel post bag was like walking into an indian grocer I was hit in the face with warm, spicy aromas. It was like a big Indian woman giving me a hug! Hari Hari’s website assured me that their grind would be perfect for my espresso machine, so I had extra motivation to get my morning walk done and give it a try. For my tempremental Silvia it was a bit of an ask. She likes her coffee ground at 3 3/4. I get raised eyebrows when I ask for this but 4 is too coarse and 3 1/2 too fine. So it came out a little watery, but the flavour. Mmmmmmmmmm spicy. What a shame I need to experiment some more with my stovetop espresso to see if it’ll work!

As for the soy milk. This of course makes a huge difference. I have two preferences. Rich, thick and creamy BonSoy. The soy milk that tastes like you’re drinking full fat milk. Even their website knows how naughty you feel drinking it (check out the porn soundtrack!). Unfortunately, Bonsoy is full of added sugar so it’s my special treat soy milk. Australia’s Own Malt Free Soy Milk gets my ‘everyday’ tick of approval. It’s not super beany and froths well with my espresso maker. Stir in a spoonful of sweetener or a drop of stevia and it’s a pretty perfect coffee break.

For anyone interested in the process of making their own Dandelion root tea, you’ll find instructions here. In my quest for more sustainable living, I might even give it a go.

About Michelle

Michelle is passionate about showing people how easy it is to prepare food that is healthy and packed full of flavour. She has just completed her first recipe book, Healthy Helpings: fast food for fit physiques. She began sharing her love of food in 2007, when she produced two series of the online cooking show ‘Healthy Helpings TV’, making fast food healthy and healthy food fast. In 2008 she competed in bodybuilding as a novice figure shaping competitor and she remains passionate about physique sports. She was a 2009 Australian Masterchef semi-finalist, and contributes articles to Oxygen Magazine Australia. Michelle lives with her husband on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where she loves to search out new ingredients and food ideas from local farmers markets, health food shops and ethnic grocers, and take her two dogs on long rambles through the vineyards. Find out more about Michelle's book