Thursday, September 25, 2014

Coffee Kick & Thrift Store Win

I have always LOVED the smell of coffee.  It reminds me of my parents and makes me feel warm and comfy inside.  But, I’ve never been big on the flavor.  Even in college where many young adults find, not only a love for the stuff, but an undying need for it, I remained a hot tea drinker and coffee sniffer.

Torani Collage But, with my new job has come a new appreciation for coffee drinks.  Recently, a coworker purchased me a vanilla latte from the infamous Starbucks and I actually really enjoyed it.  So, for about a week and a half I have been on the mission to “recreate” a similar drink at home with home brewed coffee, vanilla syrup (see collage to the right; the right half is how I’m storing/displaying the syrup in my kitchen), DIY milk frothing, etc.; since, I absolutely refuse to pay that much for a cup of coffee everyday or to make an extra stop everyday.

One of the keys to getting the consistency I have discovered is frothing the milk.  This is a pain in my rear.  I first tried a hand mixer after warming the milk in my microwave.  This did not work overly well.  I ended up frustrated and giving up before I accomplished any real froth.  Next, I tried my immersion blender after warming the milk in my microwave.  This actually works, just takes a little while.  Plus, I reallllly do not like warming my milk in the microwave.  Let’s just say my microwave is really clean right now.  But, I’m obviously not going to warm my milk on the stove… who has time for that?  So, I began a hunt for a milk frother.  But the only one I have found in town thus far has been a carafe style for $35.00!  Ah, no.

And then there is the coffee part of my coffee drink.  I have tried using my Keurig, but honestly, a) it makes too much in a serving, and b) it isn’t strong or robust enough.Espresso Machine Collage

On my way home from the doctor’s office yesterday afternoon, I stopped at a new thrift store (a major hobby in my family).  I was super excited to find an espresso machine with a built in milk steamer/frother and most of its other components!  A $50.00 machine for $6.00!!!  As soon as I got home I started deep cleaning it.  Yay for the internet where I found the user manual :)  And yay for vinegar.  I tried using regular Folgers Classic Roast Coffee brewed strongly with frothed milk and a splash of French Vanilla Syrup.  It was good, but not quite right.  I am going to look for an espresso roast and grind on my next grocery run.  I’m also excited to attempt an adapted version Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe in the October issue of Food Network Magazine, which I will definitely post my version soon :)

I don’t know if I will ever give up my teas and I doubt coffee will ever take the favored spot over hot tea, particularly herbals, but coffee is definitely gaining.  Anyone out there have a yummy latte or cappuccino recipes to share?

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