The day begins and you’re already late but you know that you can’t get moving at work without your favorite brew from the home machine in your kitchen. Your choices are to make a cup of coffee and drink it way too fast, buy a latte at a café later on and hope it will suffice, or do without. None of these options are ideal but you can bypass them all with a good travel mug. Finding one that goes well with your machine so you can brew it right there instead of transferring from a regular mug is not always easy but this short guide will give you a few insights as to how to choose a travel mug that works for you.
- What Kind of Machine Do You Have?
This matters because some machines simply won’t allow for brewing directly into a travel mug and you really have no choice but to transfer at some point or another. For instance, an espresso machine leaves no room for anything but the smaller mugs that shots are pulled into and some fully automatic machines have no way to adjust the floor by removing the drainage tray. Pod machines allow for this and are usually ideal for brewing directly into a travel mug and the same goes for a cappuccino machine. Check the parts and see if there is any way you can adjust the machine’s floor so that a travel mug will fit. There are some travel mugs made specifically for desk use that are shorter and will easily fit into a machine. Before you choose your mug, see how much room you have.
- Transferring Your Coffee
If you have to transfer your brew, do it in a way that doesn’t make a mess and that allows you to keep the drink you make constructed properly. This means that you add steamed milk directly to a latte or cappuccino in the travel mug and transfer only the base after it is made. You’ll be making this part in a separate cup either way. Add any toppings after transfer and make sure you leave room in the travel mug for the lid to go on with the proper seal. Employ the use of a funnel or strainer cup to pour transfers quickly and with less risk of spills.
- Where Are You Going?
Wherever you take your travel mug, it will have to hold up in tough situations. Your home machine sits on the counter, safe in your kitchen, but the products it makes can go anywhere if you have the right mug. Read reviews about the mug you’re planning to buy to see if there are any people that used it in the way you plan to use it. This will help you determine if it will work for you. Commuters may want to make sure that their mug will fit in the cup holder in their car and that the mug can be used with one hand. People who take their mug along with them on a hike or while walking around in a city will want to be sure that the seal is airtight. Eco friendly space savers may want to try a collapsible travel mug and parents with kids will need something that is durable enough to be knocked on the floor without a scratch. Everyone has different needs and the travel mugs you use need to suit yours.
- Care for Your Mug On The Go
Just like your home machine needs care and maintenance, your travel mugs also need to be cleaned and cared for even if you’re not at home. Usually this can be accomplished by a bit of rinsing after you’re done with your drink. You don’t have to clean everything spotless, you can do that when you get home, but you do have to rinse out as much of the residue as possible. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with sticky old milk, coffee, and flavoring or sugar coating your travel mug. What’s worse is it will start to smell bad. If you don’t have access to a sink when you’ve finished the drink in your mug, you can simply use water from a bottle to rinse it. Bring some water with you and in a pinch, you can find a bottle of water that’s much cheaper than a latte at any kind of convenience store, market, or gas station.
- Reuse Your Mug
Even if there is no cappuccino machine or espresso machine at your office, it’s likely there’s a coffee machine of some kind. You can reuse your travel mug at the office even though you’re no longer traveling. If this is something you’d like to do, you might want to look into an insulated mug that keeps the coffee hot as it sits on your desk or a shorter desk model that doesn’t fall over as easily as others. The other advantage you have is that your travel mug should have a seal and a lid so if your mug does happen to fall over on your desk, you probably won’t be worrying about having to clean up so much coffee and replace your keyboard.
Don’t Neglect Your Home Machine
Before you begin using your home machine for coffee on the go every day, make sure it’s in good working order. If its been neglected, it might need some cleaning and maintenance before it can be used on a daily basis. Check your owner’s manual and check over every part of your machine. You may want to consider upgrading if your machine doesn’t appear to be up to the task. You’re better off spending a little extra a good machine that works for many years than waking up one morning to one that doesn’t work at all. A little bit goes a long way and with the right travel mug, you can enjoy a gourmet experience wherever the day takes you.
Monday arrives every week and nearly every individual with a new work week beginning looks for a cup of coffee that will make the day go by faster and turn them into a productive person that doesn’t slump over in exhaustion before lunch. This is where your espresso machine comes in handy, delivering a beautiful shot of dark roasted strong coffee and possibly even some steamed milk and flavoring to top it all off. Suddenly, Monday is just another day and you’re ready to conquer it. Here a few ways you can make that feeling last and get more done throughout the day, the week, and all the time.
- Get Your Routine Down
One of the reasons that a lot of people don’t make use of a good home machine is because they don’t think they have the time. You can learn to use your machine like the experts and get a routine down that lets you enjoy your favorite boost and not show up late to work. Decide how you want your espresso prepared the night before and get things ready so that when you wake up, you’ll be able to get things started right away. You can also choose to trade in the machine you have for a fully automatic model or add one to the growing collection in your home café.
- Experiment with Options
Before you can get a good routine down, you’ll have to know the way you like your espresso best. Take some time on a weekend or day off to experiment with different ways to make a latte or pull a shot just the way you like it. Try using the steamers to get a different foam consistency or experiment with different grinders to get the perfect size grounds that pack into the portafilter exactly as you want them to. Use different milks like almond or coconut and try flavor syrups and spices you may not have tried before. This is also a good time to pair different pastries or other breakfast foods and add them to your routine for an entire breakfast experience that gets you going.
- After You’ve Left
Starting your day off with a great product from your espresso machine is excellent but we all know it doesn’t last. There are ways you can get another boost from your home machine even when you’re nowhere near it. The best way to do that is to bring a thermos along with an extra latte. Some travel mugs have a plug-in option that allows you to heat up your latte so you can enjoy it just as you would have fresh from the machine. You can also choose to bring an iced latte that is kept in the fridge. If this isn’t a possibility, there are other ways you can bring fresh espresso grounds from your grinder with you and improvise what your machine does. It may not be as good but it will remind you of home.
- Avoiding the Temptation
On those days when you don’t have time to make a second latte to take with you, you’ll have the temptation to stop at a café to buy one. You can avoid this temptation and spending unnecessary money by remembering what you have at home and keeping a few things on hand that keep you from giving in. Chocolate covered espresso beans are a delicious snack that will give you a nice pick me up, as are coffee mints, some good dark chocolate, or coffee hard candy. You can keep them in your bag or at your desk and you’ll only have to remember to get more when your stores are low.
- Enjoy with Friends
Not everyone’s workday ends at five and a lot of people have to stay a lot longer, well into the night. Perk up everyone at the office with a latte boost if you have some time to stop at home and whip up your specialty. You can also talk to your employer and get an espresso machine in the office. Many cafes have introduced a “coffee happy hour” but you don’t have to drag everyone out for that. Create your own coffee happiness with the creations you’ve imagined and share it with your friends at work.
- Wind Down
The coffee enthusiast knows that an espresso machine can do just as much to calm you down as it does to perk you up. There are other ways to use your machine besides making lattes and pulling espresso shots. Your machine likely has a spout for hot water. Use this component to brew a cup of tea or hot chocolate at the end of your day to ensure that you wind down and get a good night’s sleep, ready to conquer the next day in your work week and continue being as productive as you were on the first. Your home machine will give you the means to wake up well and go to sleep soundly. Relax at night and then wake up with the taste, smell, and feeling you love most.
Starting out your work week with a good routine is one thing but you won’t feel the full benefits of your espresso machine unless you follow through day after day and week after week. Find ways to keep making espresso fun like the ways you share your creations with friends and the creative options you use to bring them along. Don’t forget to clean and maintain your machine each day as well, so that you’ll be able to continue your routine even easier. Work these little tasks into the way you do things to make a flawless program that makes you want to love making espresso and putting your machine to good use every day.
Summer isn’t over yet and there’s still time to get in a few last camping trips before the weather cools down. Whether you’re roughing it in a tent or you travel with an RV or camper trailer, there are ways that you can bring your home machine along and enjoy your mornings in nature with a fresh brewed cup of premium coffee. You don’t have to choose between your morning coffee and your love of the great outdoors. Learn how you can bring your coffee maker along and ensure that you’ll be able to keep using it when you get home.
- Do You Have Power?
None of these tips will work well for you if you don’t have any power at your campsite. The home machine you have will need electricity in order to run and there are a few options you have to provide it where you camp. Some sites will provide you with a small cabin that has electricity and this is the ideal option. If you use an RV or camper trailer, you should have electricity but be aware that you’re probably also hooking it up to your car or truck or the RVs power source which means if you use too much power, you’ll drain the battery and you won’t be able to start the engine when you need to. If you’re a tent camper, you can always bring along a portable generator to provide power for anything, including your coffee machine.
- Traveling to Your Site
Along with your other camping equipment, you’ll have to make sure that your home machine is safe while you travel. This means that you need to put it into a place in your vehicle where it won’t move or slide around as you drive. A specific box with padding placed on the floor will keep your machine from being jostled or tipping over and becoming damaged. Don’t ever place your machine on a seat or any other raised area where it can fall. You can’t plan for every contingent while you’re traveling but you can do your best to keep your machine as safe as possible.
- Setting Up Your Machine
The biggest issue with setting up your home machine at your campsite is dealing with protecting it from the elements. This goes along with the setting up the rest of your food. The machine you use at home is not the same as other camp cooking equipment. It’s meant to sit on a countertop and operate on a level surface. With more complicated machines, this might not be possible at all but with a fully automatic machine or something a little more compact, you can bring a small table or folding card table that won’t take up much space at your site or in your travel accommodations and will give you the surface you need.
- Bringing Coffee and Extras
The coffee that you put in your home machine on a regular basis is likely to be whole beans that you grind up every morning. Unless your machine includes a grinder, it’s a good idea to grind the beans you’ll be using before you go on your trip. Keep your grounds in an airtight container and, if you can, keep them in a cooler or in a container with an icepack. The cold will ensure freshness throughout your camping trip so you’ll have coffee the same way you have it at home. Milk and creamers must also be kept in cold airtight containers. Sugar, flavor syrups, and any other ingredients that are kept in dry places need dry places at your campsite also. The elements can be cruel and you’ll have to protect your ingredients and all food products from damaging them.
- Travel Alternatives
If you’ve had bad experiences attempting to travel with your home machine or you’re still not sure, there are alternatives that still allow you to have your favorite brew while you’re on a campsite. These alternatives work best for short trips that only last a couple of days as the idea is to bring already brewed coffee with you and it won’t stay fresh for longer than that. Use a samovar or large thermos to hold brewed coffee and heat it up with the heating element you have at the campsite. You can do this with a camp stove or over a fire and you’ll have the coffee you want along with all the beauty of nature.
- Emergency Coffee
Of course there are times where you may not have your home machine with you but you still want a cup of coffee on your campsite. You can bring your favorite coffee grounds and brew them in a camp coffee maker that fits with all of your other equipment. Be sure to research each option thoroughly before you make your purchase and test it out at home before you bring it with you to a campsite. The last thing you want is to try making your coffee when you really want it and not be able to! Work out all the kinks so you don’t have any issues later.
Your home machine requires maintenance when you use it at home and it requires even more when you’re on a campsite. You have to keep dirt and dust out of the parts and clean after every use. It might be difficult but you won’t be sorry when you get home and your machine is still in good working order. If you travel with your coffee maker a lot, it could be prudent to get something fully automatic that you use just for travel purposes. Even this type of machine also requires maintenance while on a campsite so don’t neglect its parts knowing that you use it only for travel. With a bit of extra work, you can have premium coffee on your campsite whenever you set up in nature.
All kinds of people like to start their day with a cup of coffee, from fitness enthusiasts to busy professionals, artists and corporate honchos, stay at home mothers and dads who work from home. Everyone has their own particular way to prepare their coffee and each method is sacred to the person who has become accustomed to it. However, if your morning jolt isn’t lasting past lunch time and you want to add a little extra kick to keep you moving through the day and keep your mind sharp, you can create your own version of an energy coffee drink using your home machine. You might have seen commercial versions of this concept at the store but the added sugar and supplements might make the consumption of too many in a day something you don’t ever want to experience. Plus, the cost of those drinks really adds up. Learn how to make your own energy-enhanced coffee without leaving your kitchen and have a morning beverage that lets you stay alert and focused all day.
- Begin with Black Coffee
Whether your home machine produces espresso or a light roast brew, you should begin your addition adventures with straight black coffee. Don’t put in the milk and/or sugar that you usually put in or pour it over ice. Every body is different and the best way to see which supplements and additions work for you is to try them one at a time to see how they affect your energy and focus levels. As you see what works for you, mix the ones you like the most to create recipes for beverages that taste delicious and get you through your day better than ever.
- About Your Machine
Before we talk about mixing things into your black coffee, it’s imperative that you inspect your machine and ensure that it’s clean and in good working order. If you don’t use your home machine every day, it may not be able to handle the new traffic that will be coming through your kitchen. If you believe your machine is producing substandard coffee, you should first consider upgrading before you start trying other new things. You need a black coffee base that is of high quality in order to really appreciate the benefits of energy enhanced coffee drinks.
Among the first things you’ll probably want to try are ingredients that will cut the bitterness in the coffee that comes from your home machine. There’s more than just sugar in the world of sweeteners and many of the things you can use are healthier for you than regular sugar (and especially artificial sweeteners!) and you may also find that you like them better. Agave syrup, liquid stevia, raw sugar, and cocoa powder are a few alternative sweeteners to try. The natural sugar that comes from products like these is said to have more benefits than processed sugar without the side effects that come along with adding sweetener to 2-3 cups of coffee a day.
After you’ve found your sugar bliss, try adding some spice to your morning jolt and see if there are any mixtures that strike your fancy. You may not have even thought about adding spices to your coffee in the past, especially not some of these, but you’d be surprised how they change the taste of your brew and enhance the energy you get from drinking it. Adding a bit of salt with syrupy sweeteners gives the bit of tang that cuts the bitterness of dark roasts and espresso so you don’t have to add as much sweetener. Cinnamon and chicory have health benefits like improved circulation and boosted antioxidant power that help you process food better and keep other systems in your body work more efficiently.
- Milk, Dairy Alternatives, and Other Types of Cream
When you order a cup of coffee at a restaurant, they usually ask “milk or half and half?” Sometimes the options expand to soy milk, heavy cream, or steamed milk but that’s about it. You can use almond milk or other nut milks to add a little lightness to your coffee and even steam them for cappuccinos and lattes. Grass fed unsalted butter has several benefits like naturally occurring omega fatty acids, oils, and proteins that aid in curbing your appetite and keeping you energized without a crash later in the day. As you experiment with these options, be advised that adding them might require the use of a blender to make your coffee drink smooth.
- Other Supplements
There are many health supplements on the market that claim to be brain boosters and weight loss helpers but they don’t always work with your body chemistry. Some recipes for energy enhanced coffee to make in your home machine include crushing up vitamins or other supplements to add to your brew but before you try this, it’s important to ask a doctor if using them or mixing them with caffeine and/or other medications you’re already taking could cause a bad reaction.
Mix it Up
Once you’ve tried the different additions and figured out what works for you, it’s time to create your own recipes for use with your home machine. Mix and match your favorites or create something entirely new. Don’t forget to post your discoveries on social media and share your adventures with your friends! Let others know that coffee can be even better than it already is and that an energy boost that lasts all day can be made right in their own kitchens. You can also create a space near your coffee machine specifically for mixing up your favorite beverages whenever you want them. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Changing the way you enjoy coffee doesn’t mean you can’t still return to your old faithful preparation routines. You might find along the way, though, that there’s something you’ve been missing in your coffee that makes it a beverage you enjoy in ways you never imagined.
These hazy days of late summer can take a toll on anyone and sometimes it takes more than a cold glass of lemonade, water, or iced tea to beat the heat and get out of the lazy mood caused by ultra hot temperatures and humidity. Brewing iced coffee at home can be a bit difficult and it never seems to come out the way the baristas make it at your local coffee shop so you resort to buying your refreshing drinks there even though you have an espresso machine at home. You can learn to make premium iced coffee drinks with the espresso you already know how to brew with a few tips that give you a product as good as the pros can make. Enjoy iced coffee in your own kitchen and serve it at every barbeque and pool party you host to give everyone a chance to beat the heat and perk up their summer.
- Coffee Quality Matters
There are many kinds of instant coffee sold commercially that is advertised as “cold brew” but what you get is usually a bitter tasting semblance of the iced coffee drinks sold at cafes, even when the branding states that it’s the same thing. The grounds you brew in your espresso machine are much better and more concentrated so when you add ice to the brew, it doesn’t taste watered down. Your favorite espresso might not be strong enough to shake up with some ice but the only way to really find out is to try it for yourself.
- Good Grinders Help
The way you grind your espresso beans directly affects the finished product. If your espresso machine is giving you a weak brew no matter which beans you use, the problem may lie in the way you’re grinding them. Burr grinders employ the use of two surfaces for which to grind the beans between instead of blades that chop them up without a uniform consistency. When you pack grounds that have been put through a burr grinder, there are less air spaces and the water goes through grounds and grounds alone.
- Cooling Methods
This is the place where a lot of people make mistakes that end up giving them a less than desirable iced coffee drink. The most common way to make iced coffee at home is to brew the coffee and then pour it over ice. This is easiest way to water down the shots you pull from your espresso machine. One alternative is to use a shaker to shake up the hot espresso with ice. It will get cold but the ice won’t melt as much into the coffee, causing a watered-down flavor. Coffee that hasn’t been sweetened and has no milk in it can be left out to cool and then refrigerated overnight. The refrigerated coffee can be poured into ice trays to give you a way to cool your espresso quickly without watering it down.
- Adding Sweetener and Flavorings
Adding sugar to cold espresso won’t do much for what’s in your cup because it won’t dissolve much. If you’re drinking espresso that has been cooled overnight and you didn’t sweeten or flavor it, you can use flavored syrups or liquid stevia to add the flavors you like. The best way to sweeten your iced coffee is to add the sugar or flavoring while it’s still hot. The heat will dissolve the flavoring, helping it adapt to the coffee so that it sticks even after it’s cooled. If you want to add milk, whether it’s cow’s milk, soy, or nut milks, it’s best to add that to the cold drink when it’s already finished. Milk added to hot espresso shortens its shelf life so you won’t be able to make a large batch that you can cool overnight and drink for several days. Try a few different recipes and decide what you like best, then write down what you did and you’ll be able to enjoy the same drink again and again.
- Dressing Up Your Drinks
Iced coffee drinks don’t exactly look right when they’re served in mugs and it’s always a bit of a dilemma to find the right vessel for the brew you love. The tiny cups that fit with your espresso machine are perfect for pulling shots but after that, you may want to sweeten your drink, then cool it and drink it with milk or lots of coffee ice cubes. Invest in a couple of pretty ceramic or other heat resistant pitchers, shaker cups, and tall glasses so that you’ll always be able to enjoy your premium iced coffee in style. Aesthetic matter even if you’re making iced espresso for one. Glass and ceramic are best for any kind of coffee drink because metal tends to leave behind a sliver of its own taste.
- Serve with a Flourish
Your own style of glasses and pitchers will dress up your iced coffee and adding the right accents will also help you serve your guests in a way that they’ll never forget. Serve your iced coffee and then pour the milk at the table to show it twisting and turning around the ice in the glass. The effect is beautiful as well as interesting. Garnish the straw in the drink with a curl of chocolate or add a slice of apple to cinnamon spiced coffee drinks. There are a million ways to serve beautiful coffee. All it takes is a little bit of creativity.
The Best Equipment
If you want premium coffee drinks that taste like the pros make them, use an espresso machine that is similar to what the pros use. A gourmet machine will have a portafilter that gives you the perfect sized reservoir to pack espresso grounds, regulates water pressure and temperature, and can handle heavy use so you can enjoy iced coffee as much as you want until the weather cools.
Your Home Coffee Use
There are a lot of ways that people enjoy coffee at home and your own ritual is sacred to your morning (and afternoon and evening) routine. However, you might be like many others who are wondering if there is a more convenient machine with which to brew your coffee depending on the type of preparation you most enjoy and how much you make on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a new home machine and you have thoughts of upgrading for convenience in mind, turn to this handy guide to find out if you should consider a single serve machine, a commercial grade machine, or something in the middle.
- What Kind of Coffee Do You Drink?
Each home machine has different functions that can produce specialized coffee drinks as well as parts like milk steamers and even built in grinders that give you functions you may or may not need for the type of coffee that you drink. Consider carefully how you like your coffee on regular basis before you decide on the functions you’ll need your machine to perform. If you generally only brew regular coffee at home, you probably won’t need a machine that has steamer wands or can pull an espresso shot. On the other hand, if you’re hitting the local café every day and spending precious dollars on the lattes you’ve grown to love, it might be time to purchase a machine that will deliver this drink in your kitchen with the same (or better) quality for a much better price.
- How Much Coffee Do You Brew At Home?
Of course, we’d all love to save money and brew every cup of coffee, latte, and cappuccino at home but in many cases that’s just not possible because we’re not at home to brew it whether we have a capable home machine or not. If you’re not at home often and you’re brewing a quick cup to take on the run, a single serve coffee machine is probably for you and you may also benefit from one of the many kinds of pod machines that are out there. This could be your first single serve machine and even if it’s not, it’s a good idea to research the kinds of single serve machines that are available before you choose one. Just like commercial grade machines, there are all different kinds that each have different functions and you’ll want to be sure that the one you choose not only fits well in your kitchen but also makes things as convenient as possible for your busy day.
- Entertaining and Home Office Use
Having parties often means impressing your guests as the host or hostess of the event and that includes the coffee served at the end of a meal. Your home machine can help you shine by brewing coffee drinks that everyone loves. Entertaining large groups several times a month could warrant purchasing a commercial machine but before you make this decision, first consider if you have the space for the machine and the time to learn how to use it because the functions on a commercial machine will operate much differently than the average home machine. If you’re entertaining smaller groups or you have people coming in for meetings at your home office, a fully automatic machine will be a better choice. People will be able to choose how they want their drink made individually and you won’t have to spend too much extra time preparing each one specially.
- Commercial Office Use
For a lot of adults, the office is a place they spend almost as much time as at home during the wake, sometimes more. Coffee makes everyone smile, increases productivity, and gives people reason and motivation to socialize and work as a team. At the office, the coffee machine is likely to get a lot of use and you can’t always be sure that the people that use it are maintaining it correctly. A commercial grade machine is a good purchase for this situation but it is also a good idea to have a designated person assigned to handle the coffee or higher a barista who’s sole responsibility is the coffee machine. These machines require a little more knowledge to operate and someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing could break the machine or incur injury to themselves. Another option is to install a couple of fully automatic machines. More than one machine will share the heavy use and these models require less maintenance and knowledge to keep up.
- Creating a Home Café
You can be really original and put an entire café in your home with the commercial machines that have more than one steamer wand and can handle the heavy use of you and all your friends. Decorate your home café in your own individual way and let your coffee style shine! For the extreme coffee enthusiast, this option merges the passions of coffee and all the culture that goes along with it.
No matter which home machine you decide to purchase, be sure to ask questions about the way it works and how it should be maintained. Upgrading to a gourmet machine or a high-end commercial model is a big step and requires some education before you’ll be able to operate it at the level you need it to work. Also, the maintenance on a commercial machine is different than what you’d do for a standard home machine. There are more complicated parts and you have to know how they work. If you’re unsure about how any part of your new machine might function, ask the customer service representatives for help. You’ll be happy when your machine lasts for decades and you can enjoy the best gourmet brews right in your own kitchen.
There are a lot of ways to make espresso into a delicious beverage creation that looks impressive when serving. You can make a latte, cappuccino, or ice cream blend in a cinch but there’s a lot more your espresso machine can do and the results are better than you can imagine. In fact, there are competitions where baristas rise to the challenge of making the next great coffee creation and last year’s winners were surprisingly simple. Learn how you can add some simple twists to your espresso creations and enjoy a subtle new flavor that packs a punch.
- Make Sure Your Machine is In Order
Before you start playing around with new ways to use your espresso machine, it’s a good idea to check all the parts and functions to be sure they’re working properly. There may be some parts of the machine that you use a lot or don’t use often that need a little bit of extra maintenance before they’re put through their paces.
- A Twist on Foam
The steamers on your machine are usually used to steam milk for foam that tops off a latte or cappuccino. One twist you can try is to add enough air to the milk to create a stiff foam that is infused with a flavoring of your choice. This is one of the more popular creations among the competitive circuit, with several flavors being combined to subtle additions in the espresso for a smooth addition throughout. You can add a drop or two of artificial flavor or extract before you steam the milk or fold a more substantial addition into stiff foam after it is formed. Be careful how much you add because with any kind of dairy, a little bit goes a long way.
- A Solution for Iced Drinks
Many times, syrups are added into iced drinks with whipped topping to add flavor, but the syrup almost never incorporates entirely. The person drinking it is then left with the unpleasant surprise of eventually gulping down a big sip of only syrup. You can create iced drinks with your espresso machine and add a flavored solution to the finished product instead of syrup and it will mix together much more smoothly. Try apple, cinnamon, or raspberry extracts diluted with some water and add it to the bottom of the container before you put in the espresso and ice. Then use a shaker cup to mix everything together and serve through a strainer. The result is a cold espresso creation that has nothing but flavor and espresso in the glass.
- Another Glass
Espresso is often served in miniature versions of coffee mugs or in taller glasses for lattes and cappuccinos. While your espresso machine really only allows for the use of one of these small cups, you don’t have to serve your finished product in that cup. For instance, try serving the iced espresso drink from the example above in a martini glass or small wine glass with a tall stem. You’ll have to mix it up in a shaker and serve it through a strainer and you can pour it right into one of these interesting looking glasses in front of your guests. They won’t know what hit them when they taste what’s in their glass.
- Garnish and Other Service
Your guests might see you making up your new drinks with your espresso machine but when you serve them and they don’t look like what they were expecting, they might be a little wary about trying something new. You can use garnish and other service additions to let them know what’s in the glass. An iced espresso creation made with an apple solution could be garnished with an apple slice on the glass. Add a cinnamon stick on and an apple blossom on the napkin next to the glass for flavor infused foam. These little things can make your drinks look beautiful and your guests won’t be able to resist giving them a try.
- Café Research
Many of the competition winners are being (or already have been) adapted at your local café. You can ask the baristas there about which drinks might have been inspired by competitions and give them a try before you attempt the same twists with your own espresso machine at home. Take your time, and be sure to ask what makes each one special before you try it.
- Gather Ingredients and Test Your Creations
Choose your recipe and learn about each ingredient you’ll need before you try it at home. Not everyone has cinnamon sticks, apple blossoms, or flavor extracts in their cupboards and you’ll be hard pressed to find them in a haste. If you’re planning to serve your new twist on espresso at an event or gathering in your home, test it out first a few days before the date you’re planning to make the drink. If it’s not something you think your guests will like, that you can make well enough to serve with a flourish, or that your machine won’t be able to handle, it’s better to know that well before you try to serve it so you can make a new plan.
Don’t Forget to Love Your Espresso Machine
While you’re testing out all these new recipes, your espresso machine is getting more use than ever. Be sure to maintain it properly and clean all the parts thoroughly between test runs and after you’re finished. If your machine doesn’t seem up to the task, it might be time to upgrade to a better model that can handle all of your adventurous espresso needs. Ask customer service about the functions you plan to use and if the machine you’re considering can handle it.
The Australian and New Zealand café enthusiasts have been enjoying a drink called “Flat White” since the 70s and 80s that has been making its rounds in the US for a little over a year now. Many big chains and cafes are featuring this type of beverage and it is fast becoming a favorite among latte and cappuccino lovers all over. Learn how you can make the Flat White with your own home machine and turn your kitchen into the new hip spot with your friends!
- Learn Your Machine
Whichever kind of home machine you have, the first thing you should do before attempting to make any kind of new beverage is to learn about how every part of works. There could be milk steamers on your machines, grinders, a hot water spout, a special way to pack the grounds, and other parts that you’re not entirely familiar. Look to your user manual (or ask others who own a similar machine to help) to master these functions and become a barista to rival those at the cafes you use to frequent.
- What is a Flat White?
When you think about a latte or cappuccino, you think about espresso with layers of milk and/or steamed milk on top. Sometimes there’s a garnish or flavor to the foam or the coffee and sometimes it’s pure espresso and milk. Either way, the espresso is meant to travel through the milk when you tip it to your mouth to give you a combination of beautiful coffee bliss. The Flat White brings you this combination before it ever hits your lips. The milk and cream is poured into a double shot of espresso, mixing the two together similar to the way you stir cream and sugar into regular coffee. The result is a velvety blend that is incredibly smooth and tasty.
- Cappuccino or Latte?
There is a lot of debate among coffee enthusiasts about whether the Flat White is a cappuccino or a latte. Australians and New Zealanders who come to the US looking for their beloved drink are sometimes disappointed when the barista hands them something resembling a strange cappuccino or latte. The consensus is that the Flat White is neither. The beverage is a sort of marriage between the beauty that comes with the light foam on top of a cappuccino and the rich flavors and textures of a latte. Making a Flat White with your own home machine means that you’ll always get the right beverage and not something a barista believes to be “the same thing.”
- What’s So Special About It?
Aside from the flavor and texture, many lovers of the Flat White attest to the extra boost that comes from using milk steamers to get the best milk steamed and foamed in the best way possible. Perhaps this energy can be attributed to the feeling a person gets when tasting this beverage or maybe its especially steamed milk and preparation really do have some sort of extra power over the drinker. The only way to know for sure is to try it yourself!
- Constructing Your Own Flat White
A Flat White is actually easier to construct with your home machine than the traditional latte or cappuccino. You’ll have to employ the steamer wands very carefully because that is the key to making a perfect Flat White. Pull your double shot of espresso and set it aside. Then comes the part where you steam the milk. You’ll want to add enough air to the milk to get a smooth and velvety texture but you don’t want it to become a stiff foam. After your milk is steamed, pour it into the espresso and watch it swirl together. This is another key part of the Flat White. You’ll be pouring the steamed milk into the espresso freely instead of spooning it carefully onto the top as you would with a different type of drink. The end result looks a lot like something with which you might be more familiar because the steamed milk creates a swirl on the top that resembles the foam designs of a latte or cappuccino. When you taste it, however, you’ll notice the difference.
- All About Milk
Constructing a Flat White that truly lives up to the hype really does depend on the milk you use and how you steam it. The best way to get steamed milk that acts the way you need it to is to start out with very cold milk. Even if you measure it out before you use it, keep the milk in the fridge until just before you use it. You’ll have to pull your espresso shots and prep your machine before the milk comes into play and that leaves time for it to warm and those few degrees can make all the difference after you put the milk under the steamer wand. The same goes for other types of milk like soy, almond, or coconut.
Can Your Machine Handle It?
You might have an excellent espresso machine or a cappuccino machine you love but if you decide that the Flat White is your new hot beverage of choice, you need to know that your machine can handle making it as much as you want to drink it. A good choice is to go gourmet, to make sure that your machine can not only handle your needs but it will also deliver espresso for your drink that is delicious, flavorful, and aromatic. You’ll need your machine to have a steamer wand and the ability to pull a double shot. You can always pull two single shots but this will add wear and tear to your machine that isn’t necessary. View the functions of the machine you’re considering before you buy one and if you need to, ask questions. With the right machine, you’ll be able to enjoy your new favorite beverage every day!