Morning Dairy-Free Chocolate Latte

Dairy-Free Choco-Latte

One of the questions that kept popping up was about detoxing from caffeine. There is no easy way to go about it, but that is really just all the more reason to try. See, a cup of coffee once in a while is a delicious and enjoyable treat. As soon as you have to start relying on it just to drag your bottom into your day, well then it becomes a little more problematic. You can read more about the health impacts of coffee here. My solution? A morning chocolate latte! Or choco-latte. 

Ideally, with this whole healthy living thing we’ve got going on here, we want to do our best to not have to rely on any substance except maybe fresh food, water, sunshine and a little fresh air to function. Just like it’s not ideal to be chained to a medication to function okay, we also wouldn’t want to be chained to a voluntary substance like coffee, or sugar for that matter.

Now, moderate amounts of caffeine, in a relaxed setting and when in fine and dandy health, is no problem. This, however, is not how most of us are drinking it, and many of us, if under any kind of stress, become even more sensitive to it. Here are some things to keep in mind.


Caffeine has a half life of 4-6 hours, which means it is kicking around in there a long time. It affects the functioning of a whole cocktail of hormones including:

  • Adenosine: Inhibits absorption of adenosine, a hormone that helps calm the body. This is in part why we feel alert in the short term, but causes sleep problems later on.
  • Adrenaline: Oh this hormone that fuels our workforce! Caffeine injects adrenaline into our system, offering a temporary boost. Tut what goes up, must come down and it can cause us to feel fatigued and depressed later. What do we do then? Grab a second cup. Consuming more caffeine to counteract these effects leaves us feeling agitated and edgy.
  • Cortisol: The “stress hormone” that is supposed to help us cope with long term chronic stress gets played out with caffeine consumption. Elevated cortisol is associated with weight gain, agitation and moodiness in the short-term and over the long run it has been associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Dopamine: Dopamine is a feel good hormone, and caffeine increases its levels in the body, acting in a way similar to amphetamines. Unfortunately, once it wears off, we are left feeling rather low, and can also lead to a physical dependence.


Caffeine can affect sleep by keeping us awake longer, allowing us less time for those all mighty restorative deep sleep cycles. This in turn affects levels of alertness the next day and there we are in the caffeine dependence cycle.


Increased levels of cortisol lead to cravings for caffeine, fat and carbohydrates, and cause the body to store fat in the belly, which we know carries with it greater health risks.


If caffeine elevates levels of cortisol and other hormones for a temporary boost, after caffeine wears off, we feel fatigued and feelings of mild to moderate depression can set in. This then makes keeping active more difficult.

Caffeine and Stress

Because caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine (or stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol. If you ingest high levels of caffeine, you may feel your mood soar and plummet, leaving you craving more caffeine. A slippery slope.

An Alternative: My Chocolate Latte

Now does this mean you have to give up your occasional weekend latte or what have you? No. Not yet at least. You can have that. You just don’t want to have to depend on it.

Do I drink coffee? Nope. I’ve been known to throw a few coffee beans into a frosty smoothie for flavour, but a whole cup? Wowsers, I would be climbing up the walls.

I have a few alternative lattes that I love to bits, including this chocolate latte. They all have the same base of vanilla and honey sweetened hemp milk. I love using hemp as my milk as if you blend it long enough, it just blends right in without needing to strain it. You can find more lattes (or elixirs as I like to call them) here.

But here is my recipe for my ultimate morning Chocolate Latte (Choco-latte) and My Chicory Latte. Please keep in mind that for this, I am using raw chocolate, which has only trace amounts of caffeine as compared to roasted cocoa.

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Dairy-Free Morning Chocolate Latte

  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large or 2 small servings 1x


A choco-latte with loads of flavour!


  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 12 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or a few drops of vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. In a high powered blender, blend all ingredients together for about 1 minute.
  2. Enjoy.
  3. Note: if your blender can’t do hot liquids, blend together a small amount of water, hemp, vanilla and cacao to make a paste. Then add your boiling water.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: dairy-free latte, chocolate latte, chocolate mocha, coffee alternative, coffee-free

Chicory Latte

Chicory is naturally bitter which makes it a great coffee replacement. Check your local health food store for a coffee alternative blend that will usually include chicory, dandelion root, maybe some carob and perhaps some roasted barley.

Use directions above but replace raw cacao with 2 tsp of coffee replacement or as directed on the package.

Here are some of my other fave warming bevvy recipes:

What beverage warms you to your toes on these chilly mornings?


  1. This sounds great! I have been making something similar with cacao, almond butter, cinnamon and blackstrap molasses – I’m glad i’m not the only one who makes my morning ‘cuppa’ in the blender!

  2. Thanks for posting these. I have reduced my latte consumption to a (mostly) weekend habit, but I would love to try these alternatives–they seem especially yummy for the chilly fall/winter ahead!

  3. I only ever drink coffee on the weekend. My husband drinks it daily, but on weekends we always go on breakfast dates and I indulge and share his coffee or latte sometimes. If I drink too much I feel all jittery though, and off all day!!! It has such a crazy effect on me. I much prefer tea or a home made cup of hot cacao with peppermint!!

  4. I think my grandmother used to drink chicory as a coffee replacement instead of coffee in Italy during the WWII rations.

  5. Mmmmm…these look great Meghan!
    My favourite warming drinks for cool mornings include a variety of teas; green, white, and many types of herbals. I love Yogi teas and the new Starbucks loose leaf teas – Orange Blossom and Vanilla Roobios.
    I must confess, I do have a tea obsession.
    I also love your hot chocolate!

  6. Hey! These are nice! I also am a big fan of your raw hot chocolate recipe too and sometimes add in a few granules of coffee for flavour. Are you visiting Dad? Hoping your time in California is EXTRA sunny for all the Telpners.

    – Odelia :-)

  7. well, I do love my morning cup o’s warm and creamy…but don’t need it.

    but warm and creamy I love.

    If I had to say goodbye to my teas…I’d be sad.

    couple of beans in a smoothie???
    now that sounds yummy.

  8. I haven’t been able to drink coffee since I lived in Seattle in the late 90s – the cusp of the Starbucks craze and it seemed there was a coffee shop on every corner. Now, it makes me jittery just to think about drinking a cup. I’m always on the lookout for tasty hot bevies to add to my collection though – thanks for sharing!

    A lot of my clients do well getting off of the morning java by drinking a green smoothie instead. All those fruits and veggies plus the added kick of a few super foods of choice give you a natural energy high that keeps you going all day long.

  9. In the past few years, I had become extremely dependent on coffee… especially in the past year. I wanted to quit completely, but found it impossible to go a day without it. I was drinking 2 to 3 16 oz cups a day!!! I finally started reducing at the end of this summer and quit completely a month ago. Then I noticed something strange… I no longer felt irritable and was able to cope with stress SO much better! I didn’t know the why, but all I knew is that it was because I had quit coffee. Thanks for explaining, it completely makes sense. Now, I’m looking forward to see if I will be able to cope with my S.A.D without any “help” from my Dr. this winter :)

    Though I don’t miss the coffee anymore, I do miss drinking something warm in the mornings, as it’s getting cold here. Can’t wait to try your Morning Choco-Latte!

  10. I am totally a coffee addict, but without remorse. I love it and everything about it. However, it is a huge source of extra sugar.. I have recently switched to sweetening my daily dose of joe with raw agave… at least it a move in the right direction. Question for you.. Have you heard of the HCG diet? Its all the rage here in California. Many of my friends are taking the supplement and are dropping weight like flies. I am curious but cautious. I would love to drop a dress size but dont want to regret any weird hormones later. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  11. I love some ginger tea, but a nice cup of hot chocolate on a cold nice sounds wonderful.
    Does the 3 cups of water make for a watery hot chocolate? I like mine rich and creamy.

  12. This is the second time someone mentioned chicory in the past couple of days, I will have to try this! Sounds delicious and just what I need when I’m feeling the need for some coffee (which is rare these days, but it does happen!).

  13. I love your take on caffeine. . .in a relaxed setting with friends and fine health, sure, no problem! If we all drank it that way, we’d be healthier all around, I’d say. And no need to veto it entirely! :)

  14. TeaOpia makes a tea called “Rise and Shine” which smells like those “coke bottle” candies we/I used to eat when I was a kid and it tastes like hot gingerale….it’s sooo good and totally makes me NOT MISS coffee because I wake up excited to have my Rise N Shine tea.

    It has lapacho in it, which I guess gives kindof a kick to the adrenals, but I dunno for sure. I just know it’s so tasty I can forgo coffee for it (most days!)

  15. I’ve never been a coffee drinker.. but I love the taste and smell of coffee (I have maybe 1-2 cups in a year, if that). This looks delicious. I’ve done the cold version, now for the hot version! This would also be delicious with Yogi Tea as the base!!

  16. Steamed milk with a touch of fresh orange juice, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg and orange zest. I use almond milk which i find enhances the flavors with the nuttiness. Nice to warm you up after that cold evening walk. I drink hot chocolate a lot too.

  17. This sounds delicious and wonderful an afternoon of tobagganing with my toddler!
    I’ll have to post this on my blogs FB page :)

  18. I have never had a cup of coffee or regular tea in my life. Recently I tried some flavoured herbal teas and there are only a couple that I like. I do not drink Hot chocolate either. But I do feel the need for something warm sometimes so I will look forward to trying your hot chocolate recipe.

    Thanks for the recipe

  19. This looks so delicious! We usually have a berry smoothie with greens, hemp, etc etc and a piece of toast – but something warmer would be nice now. Do you find this smoothie fills you up as a full breakfast?

  20. I was seriously addicted to my morning and afternoon coffee. I think I may have adrenal fatigue so I decided to take a break from the coffee. I’ve been off of it for 2 months and I still miss it so much, especially the routine of sipping it in the morning. This has been a wonderful replacement for me!

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