Superfood lattes are a trend that has cracked open the hot-drinks market and are quickly gaining steam. Unlike traditional lattes which are usually made with a spot of espresso and frothed milk, superfood lattes come in an assortment of flavors and pack a nutritional punch.
Health-packed lattes made their mark years ago, most commonly as a green tea latte or turmeric latte (Moon milk), however over time, they have caught on and become more widespread. Now spanning the entire rainbow, these bright and beautifully colored lattes have taken over social media feeds with their sheer beauty. They’ve also infiltrated the health food and coffee worlds alike for the many health benefits they provide.
What Is a Superfood latte?
Superfood lattes are a combination of a milk of your choice (dairy, nuts, or grain) to make them creamy and nutrient-dense powdered ingredients made from herbs, roots, spices, and vegetables that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They are generally paired with sweeteners and spices, which help to mask the often unusual and bitter flavors of some of the powders. Like traditional lattes, the superfood counterpart is usually served hot, but can also be chilled over ice as well (an alternative for all those iced coffee drinkers).
Superfood lattes come in a scope of alluring colors, ranging from green, blue, yellow, and even black. The best part is that the colors are a result of the natural superfood powders (no artificial coloring).
The clean ingredient list and magical monikers such as “unicorn latte” or “glitter latte,” may be enough to pique your interest. Unlike your traditional brown latte, made of coffee, rainbow lattes are commonly made with ingredients such as turmeric, beetroot, spirulina (an algae), reishi and Chaga mushrooms, lucuma (a fruit), maca root, matcha green tea, cacao, chlorella, taro, and even activated charcoal. If you are willing to part ways (or simply add to) your daily cup of caffeine, superfood lattes can be a healthy addition to your daily routine.
Most recipes are flexible. The ingredients can be altered and made thinner or thicker with the amount of milk added. Experimenting with different spices and types of sweeteners can also help keep your superfood latte interesting.
Popular Superfood Lattes
Matcha Green Tea Latte (green): Matcha has catapulted in popularity lately, with matcha shots, teas, desserts, and even lattes. Matcha lattes are one of the few superfood lattes that naturally contain caffeine, making it a healthier alternative to your morning cup of coffee or afternoon pick-me-up. It contains 80-120 mg of caffeine (comparable to a cup of coffee) however, it contains a naturally occurring source of I-Theanine, a compound that promotes relaxation. This means you get the benefits of caffeine, such as clear mental focus and memory aid, but without the jitters or “coffee crash.”
This brilliantly colored green cup of milk is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, boosts brain function, promotes weight loss, and helps protect the liver and heart. Matcha also has a high mixture of flavonoids and antioxidants which can kill off bacteria and bad breath. It also contains properties to naturally detoxify metals and toxins in the body. Green tea is also known to increase metabolism rates, helping to support those with weight-loss goals.
Turmeric Latte (yellow/gold): Turmeric latte, also known as golden milk, is an Indian drink (Haldi milk) that has recently gained popularity in Western cultures. Made with turmeric and other spices, such as cinnamon and ginger, its health benefits have been touted for years and have been known to boost immunity and stave off illness.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Its strong antioxidant properties help protect cells from damage, fight off disease and infections, and contribute to overall health. Turmeric tea is not only high in antioxidants. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, brain and memory booster, mood and immunity booster, and may improve digestion and lower blood sugar. This orange-colored latte is one you will want to add to your regular bedtime routine.
Mushroom Latte (e.g., reishi latte, Chaga latte, etc.) (brown): Mushrooms are a magical food. People have used functional mushrooms for thousands of years to boost immune systems, reduce stress, support cognitive and physical function, improve gut health, and improve overall health. Mushrooms such as reishi, lion’s mane, Chaga, and cordyceps, are all functional mushrooms that bode well in a cup of latte. Try mixing your choice of mushroom powder with some cacao powder or regular coffee (or other superfood powders for an added benefit) and add cinnamon and maple syrup to sweeten to create the ultimate cozy hot beverage.
Cacao Latte (brown): Cacao is the Mayan food of the gods, used for centuries to nourish the mind and body. A fantastic source of antioxidants and essential minerals, it is high in iron and calcium; an anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, an appetite suppressant, and may even help premature aging. Try adding cacao to other lattes, such as turmeric for added benefits and taste.
Beetroot Latte (red/pink): Vegetables have long been a sanctioned addition to your morning smoothies, why not beef up your lattes as well? Beetroot powder makes a beautiful anti-inflammatory packed pink latte, with benefits dating back to the Middle Ages.
It has been touted as a natural liver cleanser, a blood oxygenator (for heart health), and a blood vessel relaxer, which decreases blood pressure. Beetroot can give your skin a healthy glow from within and is a fantastic natural source of folic acid, vital in pregnancy. It can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day, preventing an afternoon energy crash with slower-release energy. Add some honey, cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla to create a velvety, bright pink latte. Whip one up for a healthy performance-enhancing hot drink (sans coffee or artificial ingredients) to boost your energy in the morning or before a workout.
Spirulina Latte (Algae Latte) (blue/green): While the thought of sipping on algae may have you wrinkling your nose, the health benefits of spirulina are a game-changer. Spirulina is a dark blue-green algae powder long used by the Aztecs as a food source due to its potent nutrient content. Today it continues to be renowned for its amazing health benefits.
Not only does spirulina serve up a picture worthy latte, it packs a nutritional punch, with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, immune function improvement, protection of the liver, reduction of allergic reactions, increased muscle endurance, and oxidative stress. A spirulina latte is the perfect foundation for your morning routine, giving you an edge on your day’s nutritional needs, while purifying your body. Serve with frothed milk, vanilla, a drizzle of maple, and a dusting of cinnamon.
Lucuma Latte (light brown): Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit rich in beta-carotene, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B3 and protein. The locals call it the “Gold of the Incas” and it is praised as the symbol of fertility.
Sweet enough to satisfy your cravings, Lucuma has a mild, sweet flavor with hints of maple and sweet potato. Its low glycemic index makes it suitable for diabetics and those trying to reduce sugar intake. Abundant in vitamins, minerals, and protein, lucuma may help to reduce inflammation, boost skin, support blood sugar levels, improve cardiovascular health, improve digestion with its high fiber content, and fight aging with its high level of antioxidants.
Lucuma’s natural sweetness and comforting flavor make this a perfect superfood latte. This superfood pairs nicely with cacao powder, for a cocoa lucuma latte (1 tsp each), nutmeg powder, chai, or mixed with other superfoods such as turmeric and matcha.
Taro Latte (purple/white): Taro is a tropical root vegetable that grows in a variety of colors, most famously, purple, adding a stunning hue to your latte. Its light, sweet flavor and nutrient density have made it a popular treat among Pacific locals and is now being poured up as a superfood latte. Taro’s high fiber content helps aid in digestive health. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and E. Sipping on this superfood latte can also improve skin health and boost immunity. Along with being chock full of nutrients, taro’s mellow sweetness, creamy taste, and gorgeous purple hue attract superfood latte lovers.
Try adding a spoonful of taro powder (more or less depending on taste) to ½ water brewed in green or jasmine tea. Mix using a whisk or hand frother and then add one cup of milk (warm or cold) of your choice. Sweeten with honey and serve warm or chilled over ice.
Butterfly Pea Latte (blue/purple): A colorful butterfly pea latte will surely brighten up your day. Butterfly pea comes from dried Clitoria ternatea flowers and is then powdered so that it can easily be mixed into a drink. What makes this drink so appealing is its color changing abilities depending on its ph. It is highly affected by changes in acidity, so adding an acid, like lemon juice, will create a magic color-changing trick, turning it from a beautiful blue color to a purple.
Butterfly pea flowers have a subtle flavor, similar to green tea, and are commonly paired with lemon or lemongrass and then sweetened. This superfood latte is high in antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, promotes brain health, and boosts energy. To make a butterfly tea latte, steep one teaspoon of flowers in a tea ball for five minutes, the blue flavor will get deeper and flavor richer the longer it steeps. Steam your milk of choice and pour over top of your tea. Drizzle with honey or a sweetener of your choice.
How to make a Superfood Latte
There are so many options and ingredients that you can choose from, but here’s a basic recipe that will help you get started.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons* of your superfood powder, spices, or vanilla to a mug.
- Pour one tablespoon of hot water over powder and whisk until a paste forms.
- Add sweetener and one additional tablespoon of hot water and mix to dissolve.
- Warm milk (8 oz. usually a plant based is most popular) in a saucepan over medium-high heat (simmer but avoid brining to a boil). Froth (optional) and pour into mug over powders.
* You can adjust the powder/milk ratio and sweeteners until your desired color and taste is achieved.
Optional flavors/sweeteners (add as desired)
Raw honey or dark robust maple syrup (1-2 teaspoons)
Vanilla extract (1/2-1 teaspoon)
Cinnamon (1-2 pinches)
Chia seeds (1-2 pinches)
Cardamom (1/4-1/2 teaspoon)Ginger (1 teaspoon powder or finely chopped)
Coconut flakes (1/2-1 tablespoon)
Edible glitter, gold dust, or unicorn sprinkles (1-2 pinches, if you’re feeling a bit extra)
With the extensive assortment of superfood powders and mixes available (the variety can be overwhelming at first), it can be hard to know where to begin. It can be fun to mix-and-match superfoods based on your body’s needs and taste buds. Whether you are looking for something to replace your coffee, help you wind down before bed, improve focus or digestion, there is a superfood latte for you. They offer a non-traditional boost of absolutely anything you want.
Natalie LaVolpe is a freelance writer and former special education teacher. She is dedicated to healthy living through body and mind. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband, children, and dog.