With high demand for more vegan options from conscientious consumers, coffee shops everywhere are taking notice. And with recent studies highlighting the health benefits of coffee (we knew it all along!), there’s even more reason to drink that second (or third) cup. With this in mind, here are five delightful vegan lattes to get you ready (and dare we say “excited?”) to start your busy day.
1. Matcha Green Tea Latte
This antioxidant-rich drink is proven to enhance calmness while boosting concentration and memory, making this creamy latte the perfect combination for a high-stress study session. Zen Buddhist monks drank matcha daily, as did samurai before going into battle, so you’ll be ready to tackle that looming test without a sweat. Matcha also fortifies your immune system, which is helpful when you’re surrounded by germs at your overcrowded campus or workplace. Starbucks, the corporate-powerhouse present in seemingly every major city and college town, has its own green tea latte that’s available hot or iced. To reap matcha’s benefits, request your favorite plant-based milk as the base for the vibrant green, creamy latte.
2. Charcoal Latte
The health benefits of activated charcoal have been touted recently by mainstream media as an Instagram-worthy elixir. The charcoal acts as a detoxifier that absorbs toxins from your body to relieve hangovers and reduce bloating, and restaurants are now using the popular ingredient for a variety of drinks, entrées, and desserts. Trendy vegan-friendly hotspot Café Gratitude—with outposts throughout California and Missouri—is all over the popular superfood, offering it on the menu as a picturesque latte. Their take includes essential lavender oil blended with charcoal and your choice of almond or coconut milk (it also includes raw honey, so ask them to substitute agave). Try it out to when you need to get work done after a wild night.
3. Pumpkin-Spice Latte
What is fall without at least one trip to your local coffee shop for a pumpkin-flavored beverage? We don’t know the answer to that question, but we do know we’ll be spending plenty of time at Peet’s Coffee, which has answered all our vegan dreams with all things pumpkin spice made with coconut whipped cream. Need something other than just a latte? Peet’s also offers equally enticing pumpkin chai and pumpkin mochas. Order a hot cup for your next all-nighter, and imagine yourself doing all of your favorite fall-centric activities: frollicking through colorful pumpkin patches, getting aimlessly lost in corn mazes, or taking endless photos whilst apple picking.
4. Golden Latte
Chilly, foggy days call for curling up in bed with a good book and a steaming beverage such as a golden latte. Consisting of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and almond milk, this frothy drink will help you boost your immune system and repair your most prized possession (your brain) due to its main nutrient, curcumin (found in turmeric), which increases memory function and fights inflammation, while ginger and cinnamon work to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar levels. This restoring latte gives you the TLC you need after a long week hitting the books. Starbucks is testing out its own version in its United Kingdom locations, and we have our American fingers crossed that it’s a huge hit.
5. Latte with Fun (Vegan) Syrup Combinations
You can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned latte. Available at practically any coffee shop, the traditional latte is great for caffeine fiends in a rush (there’s no time spent scouring the menu and showing up late to class on a busy day), while the seemingly endless array of syrups give you a chance to experiment with flavors. Ask for a latte with a syrup, or syrup combination, and a plant-based milk. Need flavor inspiration? Both soy hazelnut or coconut peppermint lattes inspire the spirit of the sweater-weather season.
Aruka Sanchir is an assistant editor for VegNews, and can frequently be found sipping a soy vanilla latte with a book in her hand at her favorite coffee shop.