It’s no secret that café-hopping is an expensive but all too common habit that can eat up anyone’s budget in a heartbeat, whether you live in a city or the suburbs or even in a more rural area. Cutting back on outside coffee purchases is routinely included in budgeting guides as an easy and surprisingly potent way to save money: even if you’re on the frugual/conventional side of the barista spectrum, a cup of drip coffee will cost around $2 a pop, and in a month that adds up to quite a lot!
I’m usually pretty disciplined when it comes to unnecessary spending, but as I find myself frequenting more cafés lately, my coffee and tea bill seems to be skyrocketing from these single-drink splurges that I can justify as “business.” The fact that so many menus now include fancy, artisanal (and expensive) drinks touted as healthy, eco-conscious, and otherwise altruistic—from fair trade or locally roasted coffees to “super” lattes with ingredients like matcha, beet root, maca, and turmeric—plus an extra fee for non-dairy milk, doesn’t help matters. I’m torn between overall quality and its subsequent, literal cost; is it really worth $4.50 + tax to spend a few hours (or less) in an ambient setting, sipping a drink made just for me with a heart swirled into the milk, people-watching or reading without apartment-distractions or enjoying the company of a friend or colleague?
When this question, which I fully realize is not one that deserves as much brain space as I give it, reaches a pitch that interferes with how and where to work, I take comfort in one of my most useful life skills: DIY. I get a literal thrill out of making things myself, especially if it ultimately saves me money and falls under the self-care category. Enter this week’s triple threat, inspired by the hot drink I turned to throughout the winter to keep me warm sans caffeine and the treat I allowed myself at one of my favorite cafés in town, Ground Support in Soho. (Conveniently located next to Eileen Fisher, where I happened to go that day after finishing a project for a new sustainable outfit…It was a big day.) This drink has gone by several names since it hit the wellness circle just about a year ago. There are just as many ways to blend the spices, but to me this recipe hits the sweet-and-spicy spot just right without having to add extra sweetener. It’s sort of a hybrid between chai and traditional golden milk; but together, the potent blend of turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon make up an anti-inflammatory dream team that also happens to benefit nearly every Ayurvedic dosha. I’ll whisk up a big batch to keep on standby for whenever my stomach is on the fritz or I’m just in the mood to give my apartment the vibe of a European sidewalk…Cue Coffee Shop Jazz playlist.
Iced turmeric Ginger Latte
- 1 heaping tsp. each ground turmeric fresh grated ginger, ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp. Ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup almond milk more or less to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine spices and whisk to break up any lumps (I used a matcha tea whisk).
- Add water bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator, around 2 hours. (I put the whole pot right in the fridge with a lid, to keep out any odors.)
- When ready to serve, strain the tea into a glass, pressing the liquid through the strainer and stirring to break up any small lumps. Add ice (optional if you like it *really* cold) and milk to taste. Store any remaining tea in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.