The Maca plant is an indigenous plant of Peru and only grows at high altitude. It is often used as an alternative to caffeine and those who are interested in nutritional and herbal remedies frequently use it as a coffee substitute. The powdered maca coffee does not contain coffee but is roasted and prepared to have a coffee-like flavour. Occasionally, maca coffee is blended with other herbs, but some brands use only pure maca.
When did we start to use the Maca plant?
It is produced with the root of the Maca plant which is a much thickened underground part of a stem and serves as a food reserve as well as bears buds from which new plants arise.
Maca is an important root vegetable in the mustard family. Only a few crops can be grown at extremely high altitudes (up to 15,000ft / 4500 meters) and in extremely inhospitable regions. The best quality and most effective Maca comes from the Peruvian Central Andes, where it is still cultivated to this day. The medicinal root of Maca grows well in other climates as well, but it is smaller and less potent than when cultivated high in the Andes.
A bit of history around the Maca plant
Archaeological evidence suggests that the domestication of Maca began about 2000 years ago in what is now Junin, central Peru. Other literature from the Spanish conquest of America indicates that both indigenous and Spanish soldiers used high dosages of Maca to prepare themselves for battle. One chronicle relates that Maca was banned for use by some Spanish soldiers after battle because it heightened their libido too much.
In 2013, Maca became a national craze in China due to its alleged ability to increase sexual stamina. A few seasons ago, farmers in Peru, where maca is grown, made a great deal of money until one day the Chinese buyers disappeared. They had taken Maca seeds and grew the root at home rather than purchasing it from Peru. The Peruvian government is now seeking to stop them, using an obscure new law to prosecute the companies it claims are engaging in acts of biopiracy.
Take a look at this short Vice News documentary to learn more about the problem of Maca piracy. By understanding the issue, you will be able to make a more informed decision when purchasing fair trade maca.
Maca Plant Pirates in Peru - Vice News
What does it taste like?
When adding Maca to coffee or other foods and drinks, it helps to know what it will taste like. The flavour has been described as nutty, similar to an earthy, mild peanut butter flavour. You can make it much tastier by adding other ingredients and spices if this doesn't sound appealing to you. The flavour of Maca lattes is sometimes compared to that of butterscotch.
Other types of maca powder are usually available for those who do not like coffee but are interested in Maca's other benefits. It works well in baked goods and smoothies due to its slightly sweet, malty flavour.
How do you prepare a maca latte?
The most common base for an all-Maca latte is dairy or coconut milk. You can stir the Maca powder into the heated liquid after it has been heated. Spices and flavourings are usually added to give the drink more body and help it taste more like a traditional coffee latte.
Here is a popular & traditional maca latte recipe for you:
You can also have fun with it!
For more flavor:
- Add some vanilla
- Try adding pumpkin spice to make it seasonal
- Adding MCT oil will make it keto (bulletproof Maca Latte)
Miracle Maca Latte Recipe (Maca Powder, Vegan, Paleo)
Try this flavorful recipe, with a variety of ingredients.
While adding turmeric powder will make it anti-inflammatory. And adding a shot of espresso or your favourite coffee to make it caffeinated.
Here is a delicious Peruvian recipe, the Spicy Vanilla Cacao Maca Latte
Cacao Maca Latte (Paleo, Vegan)
And for the cold season, why not warm up with a Cacao Maca Latte
Protein Balls and Maple Quinoa Balls with Maca
If you feel snacky, some even bake with Maca!
In this video by Simply Quinoa teaches you on how to make Protein Balls and Maple Quinoa Balls with Maca.
What are the benefits of maca?
While maca is a common food in the areas where it grows, it is typically sold as a nutritional supplement in North America. There is some debate about whether maca is effective in treating any health condition, but it is generally considered safe. The effects of maca may include:
- Improved moods
- The prevention of bone disease
- The reduction of anxiety
- The reduction of inflammation
- Increased libido
- Increase energy
- Ease menopause symptoms
In maca, flavonoids are believed to be responsible for mental health benefits apart from being a mood booster, maca contains a lot of nutrients. Vitamin-dense and high in carbs and proteins, this food is widely considered a superfood. A person may feel more energetic and more stamina after consuming it. There are also many health benefits associated with it when it comes to hormones and sexual health. Both men and women can benefit from increased libido, according to some studies. Menopause symptoms are eased in some women by this treatment.
Research on maca must be conducted on a larger scale in order to determine its effectiveness.
Are there different types of maca?
There are 3 types of Maca. The yellow maca is the most common making up approximately 60-70% of the entire harvest, the red maca is a rare form of maca making up approximately 20-25% of the harvest and the black Maca is the rarest form of maca making up only 10-15% of the harvest. They are all believed to have specific health benefits and are all safe to consume.
Maca coffee is sold under a variety of names by supplement companies. Various brands of maca may have different roasting methods, and some may taste better than others. Consumers may wish to try several different brands. It is also important to consider that some companies add additional herbs to their blends, such as ginseng. It is often believed that these herbs offer energizing or aphrodisiac properties. Maca coffee may also contain real coffee, sweeteners, or powdered creamers, depending on the producer. A maca coffee that contains only roasted maca root may appeal to users who are trying to avoid caffeine and processed foods.
Where can I buy maca for my coffee?
These are some of the products we like:
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the side effects of maca consumption?
Maca is safe for most people, yet it hasn't been tested for safety in pregnant women, some experts advise against drinking maca coffee in case of side effects. Another possible exception may be for people who have thyroid problems, who should use caution and speak to a health professional before consuming it. Your body may take several days to adjust to maca when you add it to your diet. The effects of maca accumulate over time. If you use it consistently, you'll find it to be a much more powerful supplement than if you use it infrequently.
How much maca powder do I put in my coffee?
Add about a teaspoon to your mug along with cream, maple syrup, sugar, or anything else you like. Though you can't overdose, maca affects people in different ways, and some people might feel a little jittery, headachy or unable to sleep from the stimulant properties.
Can I put maca powder in my coffee?
You can prepare a Maca Latte by adding maca to your morning cup of coffee or making an all-maca latte to eliminate caffeine altogether. It is best to let the coffee drink partially cool before adding maca, as extreme heat may destroy some of its health benefits.