High-end coffee in your home, whether it’s with an espresso machine, cappuccino machine, or something else, is the exciting opportunity to learn how to make your favorite coffee drinks in your own kitchen. One tool you may not have thought about is the milk steamer and it can be the difference between a plain shot of espresso and a professional quality latte.
The Wonder of Beautiful Coffee
Learn about the varieties of steamers and the ways you can use them so you can have the luxury of the latte whenever you please.
- Know Your Steamers
You can learn to master equipment that is a little complicated or you go with a fully automatic steamer that does everything for you. The choice you make really depends on what kind of effort you’re willing to put in to making your coffee drink. If you need something quick, fully automatic steamers might be the way to go but there are more functions and options that come with some others. Factors like temperature, foam consistency, milks besides cow’s milk, and the kind of drink you’re looking to make all play a factor. Peruse the selection and be sure to look at every feature as well as the maintenance instructions to find out what’s best for you.
- What Kinds of Drinks Do You Like?
If you’re not a latte lover, this conversation about steamers might be lost on you, or you could become a convert who decides they need a steamer in their kitchen. You may not realize as well that the macchiato and the cappuccino can also be achieved with the help of a steamer. If you’ve never had a latte before, it may be a good idea to head to your local café and try one before you commit to purchasing a steamer. There are also other ways to make your own latte at home if you’d like to try your hand at your own version to sample.
- Entertainment Value
In addition to the sheer joy of making your own latte, you’ll be opened up to a whole new way to entertain your guests. It could be the next gathering with your family and friends, a book club meeting that needs a bit of perking up, or even a casual night at home with your significant other. Any event large or small can be enhanced by foaming milk over gourmet coffee. Add some garnish and you’ll see a simple coffee drink turn into a beautiful presentation.
Speaking of presentation, owning your own steamers is a great reason to find new coffee drinks or even invent something new. Try layering milk foam with coffee or garnishes or adding new serving elements to the table that pair well with the concoctions you create. Let your imagination run wild with the spices you add to your coffee and the garnishes you top your drinks with to wow those you entertain with drinks they’ll never find at a café.
- Steamers Work With Other Milks Too
If the idea of using cow’s milk is stopping you from enjoying a latte, you might be surprised to know that other milks can also be used to make the drinks you can’t usually order at the café. Goat’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk can also be used to make coffee drinks and are good alternatives for those who can’t handle dairy. If you’ve ever cooked with different milks as alternatives when dairy is called for, you may have noticed that the finished product isn’t the same as when you use cow’s milk. With a little bit of finesse and the right equipment, you can learn to make the drinks you love and get the consistency you want.
- Adjusting The Method
There is more than one way to make a latte and there are other drinks besides lattes that can be made using steamers. The cappuccino and macchiato are just a couple of the other options. In order to get the perfect drink, you’ll have to learn about temperature, froth, steamed milk, and getting the consistency right which isn’t the same for every drink. You can learn to do this without a steamer to see what froth looks like in a larger capacity in a pan if you’d like so you can used to what to look for. When you see it, you can graduate to a steamer and do the same thing in a mug to make your coffee drinks at home.
- Don’t Forget Maintenance
Whichever one of the many steamers you choose, make sure you never skimp on maintenance. Learn about how you should clean the steaming wand and if other parts need regular cleaning. With some machines, especially the fully automatic ones, there is a self-cleaning mechanism that makes this step a lot easier. Otherwise, find out which parts can be detached, if any of them are dishwasher safe, and how often they should be cleaned. Look through the user’s manual and call customer service with your questions before you make a plan. Good maintenance makes your steamer last longer and work better.
Enjoy Your Latte
You might be a latte lover, a cappuccino crazy, or a macchiato match. Milk steamers help you enjoy your passion no matter the kind of gourmet coffee drink you’re inclined to create. Now that you know about how to make your own drinks at home, try your hand at one or more of them and look for the steamer that’s right for you. It could be a fully automatic variety, a petite machine, or something more complicated that allows you the freedom to choose temperature, milk variety, and different drinks. The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless. Simply choose your beverage, obtain your ingredients, and enjoy turning your kitchen into your very own café.
Buying an espresso machine means you’ve decided to add the opportunity to have delicious espresso and lattes (provided you have learned about milk steamers) in your home whenever you want. The first time you try making your own, though, it doesn’t exactly come out like the coffee drink you so love from your favorite café. You go through the steps wondering what you’ve done wrong or if you’ll have to attend a barista school in order to make coffee in your own house. Your latte construction skills may be perfectly fine, but the beans you put into your machine along with the way they were ground before packing them can be key factors in how your latte looks, tastes, and boosts your energy.
Grinders Come in Many Types
The way your espresso beans are ground and stored plays a major impact on how they’ll taste when after they’re packed into your espresso machine and brewed for a drink. You want a fine, even grind for your beans that can be packed correctly into the basket of your machine, without worry about clumping or large pieces being distributed unevenly.
- The blade grinder you may have used for your regular coffee beans isn’t a good fit for espresso beans. If you can get the beans finely ground at all, they’re often uneven and powdery.
- There is such a thing as TOO fine for your espresso grounds. Some grinders may have the capacity to grind correctly but you want to also be sure there is control in the machine. Settings for specific fineness of the grounds are available and you should look for this feature in your grinder.
- A burr grinder is ideal for espresso beans. The difference between conical and flat burr grinders is negligible but it only takes a little research to find out more detail.
- As opposed to blade grinders, which grind by cutting the coffee the way a blender would, a burr grinder literally grinds the coffee between two surfaces. Many of these machines offer differences in the size of the grinding surface and so the size of the grounds but the main thing to take away is that the grounds are uniform in size with this type of grinder.
The world of espresso beans can be confusing but this is a major part of how you’ll use your espresso machine. The grinder is not something you should purchase just because it’s trendy or on sale. Take a look at the factors discussed above to be sure you’ll be able to grind the beans you buy into the perfect espresso blend.
Becoming a coffee connoisseur is not an easy task. You’ll have to learn what the differences actually are between the medium and dark roasts and what happens when different plants are grown in high or low altitudes. After it all, the coffee that seems to be the hottest thing at the moment could be extremely expensive and then next week, another blend is hogging the spotlight. The best thing to do is learn about the beans you love, so that you can always make the best use of your espresso machine. Just because it’s new or everyone says it’s the best because it’s so expensive doesn’t mean it’s the espresso you’ll love. Read about it, keep up with the coffee trends, but at the end of the day your machine is there so you can have your favorite brew whenever you want, not the brew that everyone’s talking about.
A Few Things You May Not Know About Coffee Beans
Did you ever wonder how your coffee goes from the plant to the store? The coffee bean is just a small part of the plant that is harvested for processing and the state of the plant, where it grows, how it’s harvested, and how it’s processed all play a part in how it will taste after the beans are ground up and brewed in your espresso machine.
- If you learn about where and how the best beans are produced, it could stop you from paying an inflated price for subpar coffee. Read about the trends, even though they tend to change often, and make it a hobby you enjoy.
- Find a “coffee guru” who knows all about what’s happening in the world of coffee production and ask that person for their opinion. They should be well versed in the kinds of coffee that are available, how they should be priced, and what might be new or on sale in the future.
- Talk to other people who own espresso machines to find out what works for them. Use message boards, chat rooms, and the customer service sections where you bought your machine to find out what people who already use one every day might think.
- Experiment with different beans even after you find the one you love. With all the changing trends in the world of coffee, you might find one you like even better if you keep trying what’s new!
Try and Try Again
The first time you grind your espresso beans and put them through your machine, you might not yield the perfect product, even if you do have a good grinder and excellent beans. This doesn’t mean that you should just give up and return your espresso machine. It takes a certain amount of trial and error before you find the beans you love in the brew that tastes best for you. You might have to try different grinders or milk steamers before you perfect the home latte but when you do, you’ll be happily whipping up your favorite drinks every day! There is no one specific type of coffee that you use in your machine. Try and try again to discover a whole new gourmet experience you never imagined you’d have in your own home.
The simple aroma of a good cup of coffee can be enough to put a smile on your face and make you feel happy about the day ahead. Now, what if you could make that aroma a gourmet experience that keeps you from having to stop at a café on the way to work every morning? Adding an espresso machine to your kitchen gives you the opportunity to fill a part of your home with a smell that you associate with great positivity and an overall sense of getting started on the right foot.
Your Past Home Coffee Experiences
In the past, you may remember your parents waking up a few minutes earlier than they had to so they could fill the coffee machine’s tank with fresh water and the filter basket with grounds from a can on the counter. They’d walk around the kitchen with grunts and droopy eyes until the brew was finished and then pour their steaming cups for consumption with breakfast. It was an essential part of going from zombie to actual human every day. When you decided to buy your own home machine in your first apartment, you might have found out that those grounds from the can and the vigilante coffee maker you found on sale at the local big box store produces something between lighter fluid and bitter dirt. You developed a ritual for adding flavored creamers and sugar to your drink to make it consumable and eventually, when the pot was half finished and you wondered if you might also drink the cold dregs of the rest of it, you started to wake up.
The advent of some fully automatic machines and other types of coffee grounds has made the home coffee experience a little better but there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to the effectiveness of your home brew. Throw your bad coffee experiences behind you and forget about them when you add an espresso machine to your kitchen. The decision to end the abuse of past coffee machines is taking control of your morning and learning about what gourmet coffee can really do for you.
Using Your New Machine
An espresso machine is similar to using a regular coffee maker but there are some distinct differences. While these differences may seem to make the machine more complicated, don’t forget about the product you’re getting from the sum of its parts and how good it smells, tastes, and makes you feel.
- Espresso is made by hot water being pushed through finely ground and tightly packed gourmet coffee beans by a pump within the machine. The parts should be cared for and cleaned regularly so they work properly and the basket that holds the grounds emptied after each use.
- Some people find espresso to be bitter but you don’t have to add a ton of milk and sugar to make it bearable if you’re one of those people. You can add spices to the grounds like cinnamon, cardamom, or even shaved chocolate to cut that one flavor and still enjoy your espresso straight. Simply add the ingredients to grounds before brewing and the pressurized way that the water is pumped through the beans incorporates everything together very nicely and smoothly.
- The fully automatic espresso machine is a wonderful way to wake up to the beautiful smell of espresso brewing in your kitchen. Simply prepare the machine the night before and when you get up in the morning, you’ll get a gourmet brew that takes only one cup to get you jump started.
- Serve espresso in tiny cups on saucers with the finest baked goods your local bakery can muster up and you’re next gathering of family and friends will be an impressive feat that is talked about at every other gathering after it. You’re guests will feel like they’re in a trendy coffee house when really they’re at a nicely decorated kitchen table and that espresso came right form your own kitchen.
Espresso and Your Productivity
Everyone knows that caffeine gives you a boost for a few hours that makes you feel like a super hero, especially when it wears off and you see how much you’ve gotten done. What you may not realize is that the source of your caffeine matters. Coffee and energy drinks might get the job done but an espresso machine delivers a product that is top of the line in more than one way. The taste and smell contribute to its potency, elevating your mood and relieving stress at the same time. You won’t have to drink several cups or keep refreshing the one that goes cold before you can finish it because you only need a little bit of espresso to go a long way. Treat yourself to one good coffee break after lunch from your espresso machine and you’ll find that you’re not wasting your time making cup after cup of coffee that doesn’t work as well as espresso. Also, you’ll look like the trendiest person among your friends when you’re posting your selfie with a tiny cup of espresso to sip on instead of an oversized mug of whatever brew is available.
A Labor of Love
An espresso machine may take a little extra maintenance and effort to brew the perfect cup but the end result is something far superior to the average cup of coffee. Whether you’re making it for yourself or you’ve convinced the office manager to add an espresso machine to the beverage station at work, you’ll be much more satisfied with what you get from this new machine as opposed to the regular coffee maker your parents used. Don’t hesitate to step up your coffee game and graduate to a brew that will give you a better morning every day of the week!
The coffee enthusiast will spout soliloquy about how it feels to wake up every morning, smell the aroma of coffee brewing, and the feeling of euphoria that comes with the first sip. People who have spent some time on the internet reading articles about coffee might scoff at said soliloquy and talk about all the ways coffee can make your life shorter and diminish your health. Believing it all will only stop you from enjoying the real benefits of coffee but if you take a moment to debunk the myths that are out there, you’ll be able to see the ways that beautiful coffee will enrich your life and the reasons why everyone should own a home machine.
Coffee causes hyperactivity and makes you anxious.
This is one of the biggest myths about coffee that stops so many people from wanting to own a home machine. While it’s true that coffee naturally contains caffeine and is a stimulant, it’s not a club drug and it’s not dangerous. Sure, if you drink cup after cup all day you’ll be jittery but the same bad effects can be achieved by consuming any beverage in mass quantities.
The Facts: Coffee can actually be relaxing and the stimulants in it are natural, as opposed to artificial sugars or the supplements in energy drinks. In overly hyperactive or anxious people, the effect can be counteractive and the stimulants serve to even you out.
Coffee gives you extra energy, but you’ll crash soon after the burst.
Many people believe that coffee gives you this huge burst of energy that lasts for a couple of hours and then you come down and feel worse than ever. This can happen but the risk is exacerbated by not including enough exercise in your routine and eating unhealthy foods, which makes your burst of energy burn through your body in ways you can’t handle.
The Facts: Coffee isn’t a magic energy potion. It takes about 30-45 minutes after drinking coffee for the energy boost of caffeine to kick in and it lasts for several hours. If you exercise and eat a healthy diet, the energy from caffeine won’t burn you out and the rumored crash will be nonexistent.
Drinking coffee leads to rampant insomnia.
People believe that owning a home machine helps give them access to the late night coffee binge and then leads to incurable insomnia. The truth is that this is one myth that really varies from person to person. The extreme is only true if you’re guzzling coffee by the vat in the late hours of the night but no one should do that whether they have a home machine or not!
The Facts: Different people process coffee in their bodies in different ways so a person who metabolizes it slowly might feel the energizing effects for a longer time than someone who metabolizes it quickly. Find your own coffee personality and regulate your intake accordingly to avoid any issues with caffeine hindering your good night’s sleep.
Caffeine will give you racing thoughts.
Coffee doesn’t actually contain enough caffeine to give you racing thoughts that you can’t handle. It will stimulate your thought process and make you want to move a little faster but it’s not so strong that it will make you crazy.
The Facts: Coffee can improve your ability to concentrate as well as elevate your mental acumen. A home machine allows you start your day off with this boost and be more productive at work and whatever else you do.
Regularly coffee drinking can lead to cancer.
Probably the most frightening myth about coffee is that drinking a few cups every day will stress out your organs, weaken your immune system, and allow cancer to grow in your body. If you research practically anything these days, there will be some tie to causing cancer but in the case of coffee the opposite applies.
The Facts: While your doctor may not prescribe coffee as an anti-cancer medication, there are studies that show drinking 2-3 cups a day can improve your chances not to get certain types of cancer. A home machine gives you the opportunity to explore better kinds of coffee and these brews contain more antioxidants, which gives you a wonderfully healthy experience.
Coffee throws your hormones off balance.
A lot of people believe that drinking too much caffeine can throw your hormones out of balance and lead to depression, manic behavior, and even cause permanent damage. This is really only true if the caffeine is abused severely, which can happen with virtually any substance including processed sugar, alcohol, and other caffeinated beverages.
The Facts: When used in moderation, the taste, smell, look, and caffeine of a good cup of coffee can elevate your mood and make you feel good, especially on a particularly stressful day. A home machine gives you the freedom to enjoy those effects any time of the day and relieve your stress when you get home without having to wait on line at the café.
Do Some of Your Own Research
The real lesson here is that these myths are a result of many people getting a little bit of information and blowing it out of proportion. If you’re really unsure about owning a home machine, do a little bit of research of your own. If you’re wondering about possible health concerns, ask your doctor if they’re true. A home machine doesn’t only give you the benefits of gourmet coffee in your home, it gives you the opportunity to explore different types of coffee and all the ways you can enjoy it. Let yourself have a new and wonderful way to wake up every morning and beat the after lunch energy dip no matter what day of the week it is!
Mothers who choose to stay at home and care for their children often end up stuck at home all day, or even for many days at a time. They cook, clean, and run after tiny humans on a few hours of sleep and caffeine tends to be a large part of their lives. Unfortunately, as many stay-at-home mothers will attest, all of that work leaves no time to slip out for a latte that can make a tough day seem like a light breeze, and that’s where a cappuccino machine can come in very handy.
Choose Your Machine
Every stay-at-home mom is different, which means they each from a situation that makes their experience relative. Children are unique and one parent may be taking care of several of different ages or one that demands the attention of the same. Either way, a home machine can work wonders for making the day a whole lot more enjoyable.
- A cappuccino machine is indulgent in a way that doesn’t take up all the space in the kitchen. A mother can have her cappuccino and her preparation and cooking space too! This is the machine for someone who wants to savor their coffee in more ways than one because it’s not just simple, it’s beautiful and it produces a drink which is exactly that.
- Pod machines offer a simpler solution to the gourmet experience on the go. The machine uses coffee pods instead of measuring grounds into a filter basket and then water pours through the pod instead of dripping slowly. The result is a cup of delicious coffee but some say that it’s not as strong as drip coffee and, depending on the type of pod machine you have, the selection of coffee may be limited.
- An espresso machine is the crème de la crème for any coffee enthusiast. It provides a cup of coffee that is rich, aromatic, flavorful, and has an excellent kick. The issue that a stay-at-home mom might have with this machine is that it often requires a bit more work to get the finished product, however wonderful it may be. The benefits include a finer drink and a better experience overall so for some that might outweigh the cost of a extra prep time.
- Many cappuccino, espresso, and other machines come in fully automatic varieties, which can be the saving grace of the stay-at-home mom. At the touch of a button, the drink of choice could be poured and ready to go.
Any one of these machines saves a trip to the café, no matter how busy the day gets, and still offers the stress release and luxury benefits of a gourmet coffee drink any time of the day or night.
Expand the Concept of Coffee Drinking
The life of a stay-at-home mom is not always glamorous but it is very important. A mother has to stay healthy and full of energy to keep up with her little ones and coffee may not be enough. Enhance your concept of coffee drinking to include it in a healthy lifestyle and get even more out of your home machine.
- Incorporate energy packed snacks like fruit and almonds or walnuts into your daily cup of caffeine. Extend this concept to the children and offer them the same healthy snacks to lead by example and start good habits early.
- Enjoy socialization with the home machine you choose. The shiny contraption you’ve added to your kitchen will impress your friends and family and they’ll be even more impressed with the drinks it produces.
- Explore the types of coffee drinks you can make with your machine with additions, spices, flavor syrups, and different kinds of coffee beans you’ve never tried before. Bring the kids into your experiments by making drinks with hot chocolate and similar ingredients to yours!
Having a cappuccino machine or other home machine in your kitchen will make you the most popular mom on the block! Bring the café to you, your friends, and your family and enjoy all of the benefits from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Include Your Home Machine in the Cleaning
When you first buy a cappuccino machine, it can be easy to let it sit there and only do the cleaning you need to on a daily basis but this is a very bad idea.
- Include your machine in your home cleaning schedule, making sure you check the users’ manual to find out which parts need to be deep cleaned and when.
- Learn about how your machine’s insides should be cleaned when you first get it so you know what you’re doing from the start and you can get any necessary cleaning products you don’t already have.
- Ask friends and family who already have a machine about what difficulties or challenges they might have had with cleaning and maintenance over the course of owning it. This way, you’ll learn how to avoid these things and give your machine the care it needs to last for many years.
- Find ways to make cleaning easier like keeping a specific area for coffee cleaning, storing accessories, garnishes, and other ingredients. Organization is the key to saving time!
Give Mom the Gift of Coffee
Whether you’ve long since moved out or you’re still living in your parent’s house, give Mom the gift of coffee on the next occasion that warrants a gift. She’ll be ecstatic when she opens the cappuccino machine that now allows her to have her favorite coffee drinks right in her own home. If you know a stay-at-home mom or have a family member who has taken on this responsibility, the gift of coffee is just as wonderful. These women have so much in their lives to worry about and they’re probably not even thinking about purchasing a home machine of their own. It’s a gift that any parent would love!
There are a lot of fitness buffs out there who will tell you that the worst thing you can do after a workout is to have coffee because of the diuretic effect of the drink and the ways it can cause dehydration. However, a lot of those same people are changing their minds about iced coffee and especially gourmet beans that are brewed right. An espresso machine can be the perfect addition to your home gym, giving you the tools to make a drink that gives you energy and indulgent bliss after working up a good sweat. Learn about what makes this type of home machine special and how you can make the most of it to enjoy a gourmet experience every day.
Your Kitchen and Your Workout
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast, you know that eating healthy goes well with working out. It’s natural to increase the amount of baked goods in your home after adding an espresso machine but there are other things that go with espresso which are also excellent for your health.
- Fruit and nuts offer a sweet and slightly tart taste with a bit of salty bite to cut the bitterness that often comes with even the best espresso beans. These items are also great for increasing and maintaining energy levels and that works with the caffeine in espresso to let your endorphins keep flowing after a workout.
- Chocolate with a high concentration of cocao (70% or more) pairs with espresso and has many health benefits on its own. Eat a few pieces, mix some shavings into hot espresso, or garnish an espresso drink over ice with chocolate shavings.
- There is a coffee recipe making the rounds on the internet that you can make on your own with your home machine. Use about a tablespoon of unsalted organic and grass fed butter, a cup of chilled espresso, and a tablespoon of coconut oil and mix it all together in a blender. Add a scoop of chocolate or coffee flavored ice cream for more flavor. You’ll have a delicious drink that improves your cognitive function, gives you a nice energy boost, and provides many of the important fats you need in your daily activities.
- Sprinkle cinnamon, cardamom, or a bit of cayenne pepper into your coffee grounds before brewing and enjoy a flavor kick as well as the benefits of improved circulation that these spices have been known to promote.
- Try to choose healthier options than processed sugar and baked goods to make your espresso experience healthy as well as enjoyable every time you drink it. Instead of reaching for cake or a brownie with your coffee, go with one of these other options instead. The choice will give make you feel good and give your workouts even more power.
Keep these items in your kitchen to not only make the most of using your espresso machine but also to improve your own health and the effect your workouts have on your body.
The Importance of Hydration
One of the reasons that some health professionals shun coffee drinking with working out is because it is a diuretic that may increase the risk of dehydration. This is an issue easily combatted by drinking more water. Sugary drinks that boast extra electrolytes aren’t really enough and can also make the problem worse. If you purchase and espresso machine that you plan to make regular use of and you’re working out a lot, simply be sure to drink more water and stay hydrated!
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Machines
This is an important part of a healthy life style not just for your home machine but also for yourself. Ensuring a clean and working machine means your drinks will be prepared with sanitary precision every time.
- Keep a basin of soapy water close by so that you can immediately transfer parts that have been used to a place where they’ll be more easily ready to clean when you have the chance.
- Organize your materials and ingredients well. Keep espresso beans in a cool dry place or in the freezer to keep them fresh and keep all other ingredients sealed and in separate containers.
- Tools for mixing and serving should also be kept clean. Spoons, blenders, mugs, and even decorative items should be cleaned after each use. Don’t forget about napkins, doilies, saucers, and stirrers.
- Do a deep clean on your home machine whenever necessary. If you’re unsure of when that is, consult your users manual or call customer service to find out the details. Be sure of how to maintain your machine before you try to do so.
Use these points to care for your machine and ensure that you always have a clean and top performing tool for your espresso drinks. Keep up with cleaning and maintenance! It only takes a little effort to keep it running well for many years, giving you the boost you enjoy for your healthy lifestyle.
Bring Espresso to the Party
Your espresso machine may not be portable but you can still mix up a batch of your favorite coffee beverage to the next social gathering you attend. Hot or iced, you can put your drinks into a large carafe and travel with them to a party or event. Wow every crowd and experiment with flavors and healthy alternatives to traditional coffee beverages. Your own ideas might be excellent for your workouts and healthy lifestyle and bringing them with you to share with friends and family only makes that more effective. Give everyone else a treat, and energy boost, and a new option for enjoying caffeinated beverages that they can also make in their own homes. Who knows, you might even bring the next healthy sensation to your group of friends and family! Have fun with your espresso machine and share your enjoyment with everyone you know.
Picture a sunny day on the French Riviera with a view you never imagined and a plate of croissants, fresh fruit, and a cappuccino steaming and foamy. The French Riviera might be a bit of a stretch for you but the scene doesn’t have to be completely imagined. You can create a café worthy of a beautiful view right on your own patio. Don’t let travel limitations stop you from enjoying a gourmet coffee experience outdoors in the summer sun. It won’t take much to bring it to your backyard.
What Are You Working With?
Take a look at your patio area and think about how you wish it looked. There are a few considerations you should keep in mind while starting to transform your backyard into an outdoor café.
- Do you already have a garden or do you want one surrounding your café? Gardening can be a very relaxing and rewarding experience and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even create a container garden with mini fruit trees for a small space.
- Are you keeping your café to only a cappuccino machine or do you plan to add another home machine and other accessories to your setup? The answer to this question is the difference between a small preparation table and a larger one as well as the amount of space you have for other decorative items.
- Would you like to upgrade the furniture on your patio? Folding mesh beach chairs don’t exactly scream French Riviera but good patio furniture can be out of your budget. Take the DIY route and cover cheap furniture with pretty fabric and a couple of throw pillows for an upgraded look that doesn’t break the bank.
- Is your new outdoor café for just your enjoyment or for entertainment purposes as well? A café for a single person (or a couple) is ideal for a small space and requires less furniture and probably fewer machines. If you pan to be entertaining on your patio, the space will have to be oriented differently so people can move around and you may want to make use of a variety of machines and accessories to accommodate several different tastes.
Make a plan before you begin transforming your space. You can even draw up a rough sketch to help you stick to your plan or use magazine pictures to make your imagination come to life. Invite the help of friends who are familiar with DIY projects or make a party out of it!
Choose Your Machines
Your cappuccino machine might be all you want and need to create your dream patio café. However, if you’re looking to create a better gourmet experience, especially for the use of entertainment, you might want to add more to your coffee arsenal including accessories and ingredients for the best recipes.
- Pod machines are perfect for entertaining. They allow the guest to choose what flavor and strength of coffee they want for their cup without you having to make an entire pot of each one.
- Spices and flavor syrups offer new ways to make your coffee beautiful. Have fun experimenting with different flavors and mixing and matching to create the perfect drink.
- Grinders and milk steamers offer ways to dress up plain coffee or your cappuccino. You can have the freedom to steam whatever kind of milk you want (like goat milk, almond mil, soy milk, coconut milk, etc.) and to grind gourmet beans with spice mixes to your heart’s content. Grinders allow for more variety because you can find whole beans easier than pre-ground ones.
- A fully automatic machine may be a good idea for your outdoor café, as it requires less maintenance than other home machines. Whether you’re entertaining or not, you’ll be able to have your favorite coffee drinks at the touch of a button.
Cleaning and Maintenance
There are different concerns when it comes to the cleaning and maintenance of machines that are used outdoors instead of in your kitchen. If you’re using your machines outside on a regular basis, you should either have a designated area where they can be enclosed or be prepared to bring them inside every day.
- Keep a basin of warm soapy water outside where you use your machines so you can transfer dirty parts immediately after use. They’ll be soaking and cleaning before you bring them to the sink and easier to clean completely once you bring them inside.
- Monitor any machines that are fully automatic so you don’t leave them sitting too long and make cleaning more difficult. Monitor water levels of pod machines and remember to clean them inside and out on a regular basis.
- Consult the users’ manual for any machines you use and follow the instructions for cleaning and maintenance whether your machines remain indoors or outdoors.
Your home outdoor café can be something you enjoy for many years if you observe proper cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis. Don’t neglect your machines just because they remain outside! Take care of them and you’ll always have your coffee with a view.
Creating a Real Experience
Once you have your plan and you’ve chosen your machines (even if it’s only your original cappuccino machine), it’s time to create the experience you wanted in the first place. Design your patio café, add decorations, garden your heart out, and sit down on your enhanced furniture with a cup from your cappuccino machine. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and go to the French Riviera without ever getting on a plane. Impress your friends and family but remember above all that your experience is your own and it doesn’t have to be French. Choose what makes you happy and you’ll have a sanctuary that makes you feel relaxed and beautiful every time you step out onto your patio.
You’ve learned to use your espresso machine like a pro and you love having a cup of this magical brew whenever you want. Even though you know how you want your coffee to look and taste and that urge to spice things up and try new things will eventually come around. If you know what to add to the beans before you grind them, you’ll know how to make your espresso adventure more exciting.
The Wonders of the Espresso Machine
When it comes to other drip coffees, there are ways to brew them in a pinch that don’t need any kind of machine. The same is not true for espresso. It needs to be ground finely, packed tightly, and the hot water to brew it must be pushed forcefully through the packed grounds and that requires the expertise of the right equipment. As an espresso machine owner, you’ll know exactly how all of this works and that makes additions easier. Some machines have grinders included and that reduces the time and work involved with making your drink but even if you’re grinding on your own and you have to put in a little extra effort, the finished product is worth it!
There are many things you can add to coffee that you may have never thought of in the past. Some you may have heard of and weren’t sure how to do it right. Here are several options that you can try and all the best ways to spice up your espresso.
When it comes to good coffee, this ingredient should never be necessary but with espresso, the bitterness is often something that can’t be avoided. A pinch of salt added to your beans before you run them through the grinder cuts that bitterness and gives you a smoother taste.
Vanilla or Almond Extract
A drop or two of either can be added to espresso grounds or brewed coffee for a flavor kick that can’t be out done by any flavored syrup. Be careful not to add more than one or two drops per cup or you could end up with a very strong flavor that ruins your drink.
Cayenne Pepper and Chocolate Shavings
It’s no big secret that chocolate and cayenne pepper go well together but it can be a big surprise that they can both pump up the brew that your espresso machine produces. You’ll get a smooth taste with a hint of chocolate and a little spice. Add about two tablespoons of the mixture to espresso beans before you grind them for the effect you desire.
Dried Berries and Almonds
Plump fresh berries won’t work well in coffee grounds. The added liquid will cause clumping that makes it difficult for dry grounds to pack together correctly, but dried berries are the perfect alternative. Pair about two tablespoons with a few almonds in the grinder with whole beans and grind it all up together.
This is a tradition in other cultures that has been said to have added health benefits and even slightly neutralize the effects of caffeine. You can enjoy as many delicious espresso drinks as you want each day without worrying about the jitters they may come along. Add a quarter tablespoon to beans before grinding or up the amount as you taste how the addition affects your brew.
Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, or Apple Spice
When leaves begin to change and you’re craving that autumn spice that you love in your coffee, try adding combinations of these spices to your espresso beans before you grind them. Add a pinch of one or combine to see how it all comes together. Add steamed milk and use a sprinkle on top for a latte you’ll love to create in your kitchen.
The Trial and Error of it All
Adding anything to your coffee is a matter of your own taste buds. The recipes that you create and enjoy may not be what your friends and family love. Experiment with different combinations, garnishes, and espresso beans to find out what you love and what those who visit want at the table.
- Throw a tasting party and put together carafes of a few different flavor additions for people to try. Get their opinions to add to your own and explore what your espresso machine can really do.
- Do a week of special additions where each day you get to try something new. Note which ones you like best so you can put together batches ahead of time to grind up when you need them.
- Expand on these ideas and find new additions that turn into drinks that rock your world every morning. There is no end to the amount of combinations to be tried.
- Post about the things you learn and like on social media to share with your friends and become the espresso guru of your group.
Clean Between Experiments
The best way to prevent crossover flavors from occurring is to clean your espresso machine thoroughly after trying each new addition to the beans you grind. Clean the parts, filter basket, and grinder to be sure that one flavor won’t linger before you try something new. Also, the addition of courser ingredients or things that aren’t normally brewed in an espresso machine can build up if they’re not cleaned out properly, causing damage to your machine.
Enjoy Your Espresso More
Whether you love your espresso plain or you’re looking for something more, you’ll enjoy trying these new ways to brew your favorite drink. There is no end to the possibilities and experiments that you might discover. Impress your friends and family on special occasions and bring the best to every party you throw. Pair with baked goods or enjoy alone but all in all, the most important part is that you find even more reasons to use and adore your espresso machine every day.