Thick and frothy ‘dandyccino’

Thick and frothy ‘dandyccino’

I confess to enjoying a cappuccino, but as ever, I have a keen eye for ways of improving the health benefits of it and minimising any possible downsides. I set about exploring ways to improve the health benefits of the standard offering.

There is no real problem with the coffee itself providing it is organic coffee. We are extremely fortunate to have a great local shop, Pret-A-Manger, that serves up both organic coffee and milk!

One website lists eleven potential benefits you could derive from drinking your daily cuppa. 7

  1. Cut the pain
  2. Increase fibre intake
  3. Protection from liver cirrhosis
  4. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  5. Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  6. Reduced risk of depression and suicide
  7. Protection against Parkinson’s disease
  8. Reduced risk of heart disease
  9. May strengthen DNA
  10. Reduced risk of multiple sclerosis
  11. Reduced risk of colorectal cancer

Yes, that is eleven, even though the link only makes claim to seven.  And to go further, they add some more possible benefits.  The link given above will take you to further links if you want to know more.

  1. Reduced risk of liver cancer
  2. Less risk of gout
  3. Increased longevity
  4. Reduced kidney damage
  5. Prevention of dental cavities, provided you don’t add milk or sugar. Drink it strong and black and drink so that it kills bacteria
  6. May help reduce the risk of melanoma
  7. May improve communication in the workspace – though that probably depends firmly on the quality of the coffee.

The coffee beans contain antioxidants, help to reduce inflammation, and more. If you are a dedicated coffee drinker and looking for reasons to further justify your habit, you will find more if you search online.

But what about the caffeine?

However, the general conclusion does seem to be that one or two cups a day should be the limit.  If you wake up and just know that you can’t get going in the morning without one or two good shots of caffeine, this is not good. You would be better advised to find the proper way to improve your health and your energy levels rather than relying on caffeine kicks.

There is another option. You can make a delicious drink out of the roasted, ground and boiled root of the dandelion plant.  Before you have visions of turning a noxious weed in your garden into a commercial coffee alternative, you should know that the dandelion plant has very slim roots, they take a lot of cleaning, and a lot of work is required to achieve the transformation. Fortunately, you can now buy packets of ‘roasted dandelion root’ and it is available from most good health food shops. Just grind the root, simmer in water for about 10 minutes, strain and pour.

At home, I always revert to ‘Dandyccino’s.’  When I’m out I drink the regular (organic) coffee variety for convenience.

But what about the milk?

Many people are concerned about drinking milk, so my next challenge was to experiment with the various milk alternatives. Fortunately, there are many options. The first step should be at least to replace cows’ milk with the milk from sheep or goats. For one thing, you have a reasonable chance of getting milk with casein II  instead of casein I [see an earlier Note, Milk and Charles]. The next step is to consider the various nut and other seed milks that are now available.  Here, there are a number of pitfalls to be avoided.

Milk and Charles

Most varieties of nut and seed milk are ‘enriched’ with vegetable oils, usually sunflower or rapeseed. These oils are not a good idea and their processing can introduce a number of risk factors. Olive oil which is usually safe is not typically used in these milk varieties due to the flavour. I tried both coconut and almond milk but found the flavours somewhat intrusive. Cashew milk, hazelnut milk and oat milk have a less intrusive flavour than coconut and almond and are all available with an ‘organic’ label.

The next addition to check for is sugar. Many of them have added sugar, dextrose, or glucose in some form. Avoid them if you are trying to be truly healthy. Unfortunately, these all make for a thin and somewhat watery ‘milk’ that does not easily froth up – and who wants a cappuccino without the froth?  The froth, after all, is the main reason for moving from a flat white to a cappuccino. I thought it was perhaps just my incompetence when all my efforts failed to produce the froth. The two baristas in the same weekend warned me that there would be little or no froth on my nut milk cappuccino.

It was time to explore my kitchen shelves, which are filled with a variety of weird and wonderful powders, bought on a whim, or when I have encountered them either in a new recipe or as a therapeutic suggestion.  I wondered if the problem was that lack of fat and so added coconut oil, but that did little to help. Then I dug out the jar of  ‘modified citrus pectin.’ Pectin, that would surely thicken up the milk. Worth a try. I boiled the cashew nut milk and brewed the coffee. Added a quarter teaspoonful of the powder to the cashew milk, blended, whisked with the stirring wand, and served.

Bingo.  The best ‘nutty dandy chino’ yet. The past several weeks I have been serving these up at our regular Open House Evenings, held every Friday fro 6:00 – 8:00 pm. If you are interested in learning more about these evenings, please phone our office at 020 7824 8153 or email We would love to see you there!

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