The Best (Healthier) Orders at a Coffee Shop

You guys know I’m a bevvie queen. Morning bevvies are maybe my favorite ritual of the day, and honestly, the 5 minutes it takes to make one sets the tone for my day. It forces me to slow down, get present, and gives me some space for a few minutes to check in with myself, before the busy-ness of the day gets started.

It’s this simple and sacred way to start the day that I am so into. With crazy days and a new baby (I can still say that now that he’s one, right?) and launching a new book and trying to fit it all in– this small morning moment has been so necessary –even more than ever before—to help me take care of myself in little ways that matter. And to get my mindset right for the day, before I do anything else.

But you know, things happen and sometimes my at home routine isn’t available. With travel, with early appointments or meetings– some days a coffee shop it is to make that bevvie moment happen. And that’s okay too. Because a ritual is a ritual in that we repeat it and stick to it, but it can be flexible and fit with your needs day to day, too. And so on the days when I can’t get my matcha fix at home, I have to outsource.

But you know me. I like to outsource in style– like I want to still have the same quality, elevation, and purity I’d get from making my own bevvie.

So let’s talk milk options first. The facts: 98% of coffee shops do not carry “clean” milk unless you have shop that offers organic whole milk or half and half. Non-dairy options can be a little bit tougher: most almond, coconut, or oat milk versions baristas use have lots of added sugar, gums, chemicals, and stabilizers. Which once in a while is totally fine (yup, really). I also don’t believe in being so ALL or NOTHING that you can’t enjoy your life, ya know? Just be aware of what and how often you’re doing it.

But if it’s daily? If you’re getting most of your coffee drinks out, those additives can create gut & digestive issues, sugar cravings, and some not great stuff.

So, it depends on the situation: once in a while doing a plant-based milk out if you don’t do great with dairy is great (this is what I do– I usually opt for the almond milk because it has the least amount of sugar and least amount of gums in it). And for the most part, this is why I make my daily at home. It’s a grounding ritual in my day, and it’s just hard to find good matcha out, let alone a clean milk to go with it.

Just as equally good of an option would be this: if your body does great with dairy, just choose it intentionally. As an—- use it as an taste enhancer vs. a full cup of milk with a little bit of coffee.

So think about an americano or organic brewed coffee with a splash of decadent heavy whipping cream, half and half, or whole milk vs. a venti latte. Or a beautiful cappuccino you sip and enjoy for 5 minutes vs. a caramel macchiato you’re gulping on the go while doing 9 other things, and starving an hour afterwards. Which experience would be a healthier choice for your body? It’s always good to think about.

Because when your body is stressed, distracted. and in auto-pilot, nothing you eat or drink digests well. The reverse is true when you stop and enjoy it, even for a just a few minutes, as a pause in your day. That’s where the real power is.

This leads into a much larger discussion of caffeine and sleep, which is a whole other post in itself ( I talk about that more in my nightly wind down, skincare and bedtime routine here if you’re curious).

But for now, I’m giving you the scoop on my order at a coffee shop. And like so much in my life, there are options so you can have what you like while still getting the best ingredients– for your bod, for your mind, and for your taste buds. All the important things. These are the best & healthiest picks for morning coffee/bevvies:

Here are my go-to healthy orders at a coffee shop:

Matcha— my one true bevvie love. If your coffee shop has good quality, organic matcha then have at it. If you’re new to matcha, think of it like this: it has the healthy antioxidants, metabolism boost, and healthy goodness of green tea, but minus the caffeine spike and crash. It’s the steadiest, calmest and most productive energy I’ve ever experienced. And it’s just so so good. Most people enjoy it latte style with a splash of honey you add in later. (Curious to learn more about it? I have a whole post about why I love it, where to get it, and how to make it. You can find it riiiight here.)

Decaf americano— but only if Swiss water processed. Americanos are so good because it’s a shot of espresso mixed with hot water, aka it’s like a bold tasting coffee with the rich nutty notes you love in espresso. Why decaf, and why Swiss water? If you feel good consuming caffeine, more power to you. But to me, it just gives me the shakes and then a crash, and so even though I enjoy the taste of coffee and espresso sometimes, caffeine-free is the way to go. It’s just not worth the jittery spike and low that follows. And then, Swiss water processed just means it’s processed to be decaf using a water process, no chemicals or solvents anywhere. And we LIKE chemical-free around here, k?

Iced tea unsweetened— crisp, refreshing, you really can’t go wrong with unsweetened iced tea. It’s just simple and easy, two of my most favorite words in the world. Take it to go, sip it on a warm day, and if you want some sweetness, stir in a little honey for a mild and natural sweetener.

Chai tea bag + inch of steamed milk of choice + honey packet— mmm k you guys, if you haven’t, you must try this one and soon. The warming, soft, spicy chai flavors are so good with just a little creamy steamed milk (I like almond the best, coconut tends to have more sugars added in it) and just a touch of sweetness from the honey. Chai is one of those super teas that’s good for you and packed with ingredients that can help with heart health, blood sugar levels, and digestion. Just trust me, it’s a goodie.

Organic coffee— this will give you the most caffeine of all if you want a boost without the sugar high. To me, choosing the coffee shop is just as important as choosing the bevvie. Go to coffee shops that source their coffee and supplies intentionally. Organic coffee is always going to be a best bet, with organic milk or homemade nut milk if you want a splash of something creamy.

Cold brew— for a boost that has less acid than any other coffee drinks, and is so good on a warm day.

Cappuccino— my pick for a “fancy” coffee bevvie because there’s less milk than a latte, but the same experience.

*Tip: stick with orders that use a splash of milk/cream/half and half, paired with tea, americanos, cold brew, or brewed coffee of your choice. Or, ordering with almond/oat/coconut milk once in a while, used mindfully as well. I often ask for a matcha made with 1/2 water and 1/2 steamed milk to reduce the amount of milk, but so that I still get the experience.

Ready to get your sip on and feel good from the inside out about your newest bevvie of choice? Cheers, friends!

And if you need any more ideas on great combinations to make at home, be sure to check out my healthy morning bevvie guide here right here. Plus there are even more beautiful and simple ideas for morning rituals and the best bevvie recipes to start your day in the new Simply Real Eating cookbook– get your copy here!

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Robert is a 15 year Web Developer and Photographer Living in Los Angeles. Born in Phoenix Arizona. Love's super cars, boating, and nature.