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The Plus Factor: These inflammation-fighting seasonal drinks are replacing hot chocolate and eggnog

bonafide provisions bone broth Pin It
Photo: Bonafide Provisions

Well+Good is your healthiest relationship, hooking you up with the best, most interesting things/people/leggings in wellness. And nothing gets at this concept better than the plus sign in our logo.

Inside this plus sign, which acts like a gallery window, we showcase the most exciting, transformative trends and ideas that add wellness to your life. This week on The Plus Factor, we’re focused on the healthy hot beverages now served at cafes (and that come in handy mixes for home) that want to help boost your immune system and gut health.

It used to be that the first sight of amber leaves meant one thing: pumpkin spice latte season. And when the first flurry of snowflakes arrived, creamy hot chocolate became the piping hot beverage of choice.

But lately, these sugary seasonal staples have been replaced by inflammation-fighting and good-for-you drinks like golden milk made with turmeric, white chocolate matcha (antioxidants galore!), and bone broth lattes sipped for better gut health.

Now, there’s no shortage of healthy, warming to options to fill your mug with during hat and scarf weather. (Heck, even the green juice crowd is getting into it, with Pressed Juicery debuting superfood hot tonics, made with apple, lemon, ginger, and cayenne, plus immunity or energy boosters.)

Instead of sugary seasonal drinks at cafes, this fall we’re seeing inflammation-fighting golden milk made with turmeric, white chocolate matcha (antioxidants galore!), and bone broth lattes, sipped for gut health.

Leading the trend are savvy cafe owners on both coasts. They’ve made it their business—literally—of having one hand in the wellness world, while keeping customers caffeinated with the other. Alfred Coffee and Kitchen founder Joshua Zad reveals that Alfred Tea Room has a few drink items coming out November 1 that are specifically crafted to keep you healthy all through winter.

“We developed a golden milk herbal tea blend of turmeric, ginger, black pepper, lemongrass, virgin coconut oil, a little bit of honey and sea salt, and topped off with cardamom,” shares Jordan G. Hardin, Alfred’s tea director. Fighting inflammation probably doesn’t get more delicious than that.

Gaia Herbs
Photo: Gaia

Also on the menu, a honey rose latte—Zad’s personal favorite—made with Chinese rose black tea, almond milk, honey, and beautifying Persian rose water. Not the delicate flower type? Hardin is prone to drinking butter tea regularly, for a boost of good fats and caffeine. (He believes Bulletproof Coffee totally stole the idea from the tea industry, as Himalayan butter teas have been around for centuries.) For that reason, butter tea is on the menu at Alfred’s, but he says you can make it at home—as long as you have high-quality tea and butter.

Photo: Vanessa Granda

On the East Coast in New York City, French bakery-cafe Maman is debuting a limited edition fall-winter beverage menu that includes the return of their popular seasonal lavender hot chocolate and introduces  Panatea matcha, lightly whisked with white chocolate.

And Cafe Integral, in Manhattan’s NoLita neighborhood, is changing up the nut milk game, serving innovative housemade milks like tigernut milk and cashew-pepita milk that almost make your almond milk game look super passe.

Savvy cafe owners have made it their business of having one hand in the wellness world, while keeping customers caffeinated with the other.

Bone broth served to go in a coffee cup started in the East Village at Brodo a couple years back. And now bone broth lattes are popping up in more places as a way boost your immune system, gut health, and collagen. If you don’t live near a place dolling them out like Brodo or Springbone Kitchen, you can make them at home—without waiting 12 hours—by adding some frothed coconut milk to one of Epic‘s ready-to-serve broths or even just popping a k-cup in your Keurig. If golden milk is more your style, try blending one of Bonafide‘s signature broths with turmeric, rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.

Dona Chai
Photo: Issy Croker

But you don’t actually need to make a cafe pit stop on your way to work, since plenty of healthy beverage companies are now making just-as-Instagrammable healthy hot drinks that you can whip up in a few minutes.

Dona Chai, which comes refrigerated in chic glass bottles, brews cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorn, and cold-pressed ginger as whole herbs and spices to maximize the health effects, blending them with organic loose leaf black tea. And Gaia Herbs, known for their herbal supplements, and has made whipping up a hot mug of golden milk nearly foolproof with its popular powder mix.

Plenty of healthy beverage companies are now making just-as-Instagrammable healthy hot drink mixes that you can whip up at home.

“We created our Golden Milk to be a modern spin on this revered ancient drink and as simple to use as possible,” says Ric Scalzo, Gaia’s CEO and founder. “You stir a spoonful of the mix into a warm plant-based milk of your choice….and I love to add a bit of ghee, or even a pinch of saffron for even more flavor.”

So whether you want to cozy up at your favorite cafe or stay cuddled up on the couch curled up with your favorite wool blanket, there are plenty of healthy hot beverages to trade your SwissMiss for. This winter, you’ll be passing the golden milk—not the eggnog.

Want to fight inflammation with what you eat, not just what you drink? Here’s how to put together the perfect meal. And if you’re looking for something to pair with your golden milk, try the Paleo pumpkin bread recipe that Lauren Conrad’s nutritionist loves.