I love non-dairy milks, but I don't like consuming all of the unpronounceable ingredients listed on the back of the cartons from the grocery store. As I see it, the best way to know what I am drinking is to make the milk myself. And, of course, to have fun in the process. Here is a very simple recipe for vanilla-bean almond milk that I paired with a single-origin espresso for a delicious, sweet and healthy afternoon pick-me-up.
This pairing was inspired by a remarkable coffee roasted by Cafe Virtuoso in San Diego. This coffee is a single-origin from Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Sidamo that, when brewed as pour over, has a pungent aroma and taste of blueberries. It is truly unbelievable. The barista at Virtuoso suggested I try the beans as espresso, too. So, I brought a bag home and did just that. The blueberry notes are still prominent when this coffee is prepared as espresso.
When making almond milk, you are going to want to soak your almonds over night in filtered water. Soaked almonds are more nutritious, easier to digest and less acidic than un-soaked almonds. Apparently you can make almond milk with dry almonds too, but I have not tried it out yet.
This Almond Milk recipe is flavored with whole-bean vanilla and sweetened with dates. My personal preference is to use medjool dates, but your favorite type of date or alternative sweetener should suffice.
To get the vanilla out of the bean you slice it open and scrape out a grainy paste from the inside. The beans I am using are from Mexico. Did you know that vanilla beans come from an orchid plant?
Vanilla Bean Almond Milk
- 1 cup raw almonds (soaked in filtered water - at least 10 hours or up to two days)
- 3 cups filtered water
- 2 medjool dates (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- Blueberries for garnish (optional)
- Soak raw almonds in filtered water over night (at least 10 hours and up to 2 days)
- Add 1 cup of soaked almonds and 3 cups of filtered water to a blender along with the dates or preferred sweetener.
- Start the blender on low and gradually increase speed until your blender reaches full power. Keep an eye on the consistency - you are looking for an almost fully liquified mixture. This process can take about 5 mins or even longer depending on what type of blender you are using.
- Pour your mixture through a cheese cloth over a strainer into a pitcher or jar. It can get kind of goopey, so I recommend using a spoon to agitate the sediment and help the filtered milk through faster.
- Add vanilla bean paste to the filtered milk and mix rigurously until thoroughly combined.
The vanilla-bean almond milk will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days and can be used for smoothies, added to your coffee, or just enjoyed on its own. I love the combination of vanilla and blueberries...
This Ethopian coffee, with it's blueberry notes, really works well as espresso enjoyed along side or blended together with the Vanilla bean Almond Milk. I often do not like how almond milk tastes after it has been steamed, so I prefer to drink this recipe at room temperature or with a little bit of ice.
If you choose to blend the coffee and milk, try adding one shot of espresso at a time - taste test as you go.
If you can wait, let your espresso and almond milk mixture sit for a few hours or over night so all of the flavors of the vanilla beans, milk and coffee have the chance to fully blend together. Soooooo delicious!