Healthier Version of Starbucks Vanilla Latte

Healthier Version of Starbucks Vanilla Latte the second in a series of posts.  Our first version was a Cafe Mocha.

One of my favorite Starbucks drinks is a rich and creamy, slightly sweet vanilla latte.

Starbucks offers their “healthy” version, which is just sugar free syrup and skim milk. Since artificial sweeteners don’t interest me that much, and the regular version of the vanilla flavored syrup they use is fake vanilla flavored high fructose corn syrup, I decided this was a drink I could easily tackle at home.

A latte is basically espresso with milk that ends up being extra creamy when steamed, frothed, and foamed. At Starbucks, they use enormous espresso machines that are too expensive and cumbersome to have in a home kitchen. You can buy home versions if you want, but these are still pretty expensive. There are a couple options to do it at home that you may not have thought of, one of which uses equipment you probably already have in your kitchen, and one which uses a compact tool you can get for about 20 bucks at any kitchen store.

Start with your milk. 1% is a good choice here; a little creamier than skim, but not as much fat as whole.

The first option is to use your blender. Simply take a half a cup or so of milk, put it in a microwave safe glass, and microwave it for about 30 seconds if it’s straight out of the fridge. You want it to be hot, but not boiling. Pour in the blender, and blend at high speed until frothy and foamy. That’s it.

The second method is to get yourself a handheld milk foamer. Basically this is a battery powered mixer type contraption that whips your milk to foam in less than a minute. It’s small (you can store it in your silverware drawer), easy to use and produces great results. If you drink a lot of lattes, it’s worth the 20 bucks. It works the same as the blender method in that you have to heat (or “steam”) your milk prior to foaming.

To make a vanilla latte, just add a teaspoon or so of pure vanilla extract and a teaspoon of agave nectar or other healthy sweetener to the milk before steaming, and then foam it up. Pour the milk into your favorite mug and pour brewed espresso or really strong coffee on top.

Super easy, creamy and delicious, without the bad for you syrup you typically get at Starbucks. You can also use this method with other extracts, almond, coconut, whatever your preference.

Have a favorite Starbucks drink that needs a healthy makeover? Let me know in the comments, and you might see it here!

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