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The Benefits of Owning an Espresso Machine Vs. Buying Soda

There will be some people who see your beautiful and shiny espresso machine in your kitchen and scoff over the prospect that you get to enjoy as much espresso as you want, whenever you want, saying that your habit is unhealthy and overly expensive. These people might try to tell you that you spent too much on your machine or that you’re wasting your money on the coffee you drink as well as the equipment to brew it. Learn how to arm yourself with an arsenal of facts and information in order to defend your beloved coffee over those who tell you that soda is the better caffeinated option or that it’s cheaper.

The Cost

Purchasing soda or “pop” might seem simple but there are several different varieties, including diet, flavors, and all natural or hand crafted versions. On the other side, there are even more varieties of coffee beans, espresso beans, coffee pods if you choose to use a pod machine, whole bean varieties, flavors, and fair trade organic coffee as well as machines in addition to the pod machine like an espresso machine, fully automatic versions, or a cappuccino machine. Choosing the type of home machine you’d like to purchase, learning to use it, and deciding on the coffee beans you love most might seem like a much steeper cost than simply purchasing a few bottles of soda for your caffeine intake every week. However, there is more to consider besides money and flavor variety when it comes to what decision you make about which is better for you.

Each type of beverage has its own specifications on caffeine content, sugar content, and other ingredients that contribute to your health and happiness. While you might be looking for simplicity, the idea of purchasing and drinking soda on a regular basis might be more complicated than you realize after you consider these factors.

Caffeine Content

Depending on the type of coffee beans you purchase and the way you brew them, coffee tends to have a lot more caffeine than soda and many people view this as a negative characteristic of the beverage. If you look at it in terms of simplicity, though, the fact is that you’ll have to drink less coffee than soda to get your jolt throughout the day and the effect on your health can be positive. If you plan to have a beverage you can sip all day, a home machine is still a good idea as you can purchase decaffeinated coffee to use in your machine that has barely any caffeine and, unless you add it to your beverage, no sugar content, carbonation, or artificial ingredients. Clearly, that is better than the artificial sugar in diet sodas!

Sugar and Flavors

In nearly every variety of soda, there exists a very high sugar content or some sort of artificial flavoring that makes it taste so good. Granted, there are fruity flavors in addition to the vanillas, chocolates, and cola flavors but all of them have this one flaw: excess sugar content. Even the varieties of soda with labels that indicate zero sugar include artificial sweeteners that may be damaging to your health, especially when consumed in high contents. Many people who have the habit of drinking soda consume at least a couple bottles a week and, unless you’re adding a lot of sugar or artificial sweetener to your coffee several times a day, will amount to much more than the recommended amount of sugar you should be having on a daily basis. There are many studies that show that excess sugar intake is damaging to the immune system, kidney function, and pancreas function, which can lead to the development of type two diabetes. Some of these studies also indicate that soda is the cause of these issues in many cases.

Machine Operation

Another factor in choosing between owning an espresso machine or other home machine and purchasing soda on a regular basis for caffeine intake is learning to operate the machine you decide to install. When it comes to a professional or commercial grade espresso machine, there might be a lot to learn before you can use it in your home with any efficiency. However, there are other varieties of home machine including fully automatic varieties, or a pod machine that works simply by dropping a pod in a reservoir and pressing a button to get a delicious cup of gourmet hot coffee. With all the different flavors to choose from, there are all kinds of options to provide ease and variety in your day-to-day consumption. The big difference is that the flavors don’t have to be achieved by excess sugar, syrups, or artificial chemicals.

The Organic Option

Some kinds of soda are hand crafted and use no artificial ingredients and swap out syrups and artificial sugars for all natural cane sugar and organic ingredients. While these varieties are still better than the commercially produced soda you’d usually find on grocery store shelves, it still has a lot more sugar content than is considered healthy and in many cases these hand crafted organic options have no caffeine content at all.

On the contrary, coffee has its own organic option and any home machine can handle these varieties. Organic coffee often includes “fair trade” labels. This means that the coffee beans were farmed on a plantation that pays its workers a fair wage and trades with companies that adhere to specific regulations.

The Verdict

In the end, the matter of using an espresso machine or other home machine vs. buying soda on a regular basis comes down to personal preference. Judging by the facts, coffee is the better option but if you can’t stand the taste or you’re still averse to learning to use even the simplest machines, the home machine option may not be for you. Weigh all the options and do your research before you make a decision. After you find out more about the different kinds of coffee and soda, choose wisely and remember the positives when defending your choice to those who still believe that soda is better.

How Your Home Machine Can Cut the Work At Home Monotony

For many work at home professionals, the dream of freedom is alive but at the same time monotony sets in after doing the same thing in the same place day after day. You go to book stores and coffee houses to break up the week and sitting at those tables all day compels you to make purchases out of mere courtesy. The result is a brain hopped up on caffeine and sugar that can’t concentrate and a sizable dent in the wallet. Your own home machine can solve this problem by creating a positive atmosphere and adding a delightful activity to your daily routine.

Set The Stage

The first step to ending the monotony of your work at home life is to create a space that you can move around your house or apartment. This way you can switch around which room you work in and achieve a change of scenery without having to leave the house. Dress up the shed or garage to make a separate office space where you can meet clients, film videos for your blog or website, and have room to keep your things organized or store inventory for your business.

If you are moving your work around the house, your home machine will probably be in the kitchen and this forces you to get up and go to the machine for your next caffeinated beverage. If your space is away from the house in a shed or garage, you should still keep your home machine in the kitchen because this provides a real change of scenery when you get up for a coffee break. You can feel like you’re taking a walk to your very own café every time you go back to the kitchen in your house for the hot beverage you love.

Your Coffee Space

An espresso machine, cappuccino machine, or other home machine can take up a decent amount of space. Utilize this to dedicate a piece of your kitchen to a home café. You can use a couple of decorative touches and coffee cart or accent table to make the space look like something you’d find at the coffee shops or book stores you used to frequent for a change of pace. You can even add a high table with bar stools or a separate folding table to use as a café table and make your home café one of work spaces you rotate through within the house.

Take It Out Of The Kitchen

When you own a business that you operate out of your home, it’s likely that other employees are at your house on a regular basis and you’re meeting clients there as well. Your home machine can be a part of the professional and positive environment that you hope to convey to every person that comes through the business area of your home. An espresso machine or cappuccino machine not only adds ambience but is a good incentive for anyone working with you in your home to do better and feel good about what they’re doing. The luxury of a gourmet hot beverage instead of the average drip coffee makes them feel more appreciated and will make all of your clients feel like VIPs. It cuts the monotony of a regular work at home space simply by the aroma, sounds, and actions of operating the machine. You can’t help but be happy with those sounds and smells filling the room while you work.

Accessories and Sharing

Not every home machine comes with a built in steamer or grinder, which are accessories that give you more beverage options and make constructing beverages a lot more fun. If you don’t have your own steamer or grinder for your home machine but you work with other people, inquire within your team about who might have the accessories or if they’re willing to pitch in to buy them. You can work together to widen the pool of beverage options and teach each other about making new beverages.

As you share equipment or invest together, make sure that the home machine and accessories you’re using are all operated correctly and cleaned appropriately. If you’re the only one working from home and you use your machine often or use it with clients when they come to visit, make yourself a schedule to clean the machine on a regular basis. You might find that working with the parts and caring for your machine can be a zen-like activity that clears your mind.

Your Home Machine Is A Benefit

Purchasing, operating, and maintaining a home machine can be time consuming and expensive but that shouldn’t be a reason not to purchase one of your own. With all of the other benefits of working from home, a cappuccino machine or espresso machine is definitely another reason your job is a luxury. Take the time to get to know your machine and to learn about how it works and the ways to clean it. Once you’ve really gotten to know your machine, you’ll be able to use it for all of its functions, not just pulling shots and foaming milk. Discover new recipes and the ways you can personalize your beverages in ways that a coffee house never would.

Connect With The World

Your work from home life as well as the way you utilize your home machine can be an inspiration to others. Share photos, beverage recipes, techniques, and the ways you’ve decorated your home café space with other coffee lovers and work at home professionals. Connecting with others and the use of social media can be an excellent way to cut the monotony of a day-to-day routine when working from home. You can learn from others who have been at it longer than you and teach those who don’t have a home machine how to use their own new acquisitions. With a few simple connections, your world will get a lot bigger and your home café enjoyment will be better than ever.

Make a Whole New Latte With Tea and Your Espresso Machine

Owning an espresso machine is a wonderful thing because not only do you get to have gourmet espresso whenever you like but if your machine has a steamer wand attachment you can also make lattes. When you stop at a café with friends, the choices there will never be the same as the custom brews you can make in your own home. You may have noticed items like “matcha tea latte” and “chai latte” in the mix on the menu at the coffee shop you frequent. Your eyes dismiss this at first, thinking that nothing can be better than the espresso in your own machine at home but there is something to be said for the tea latte and you can make one in your machine with all the same benefits of custom additions and mixtures. All it takes is your espresso machine, a steamer (standalone or the steaming wand on your machine will work), a grinder, and the ingredients for the latte.

The Home Machine Difference

Aside from the freedom to use whatever recipe you desire, there is another major difference to the tea latte you’ll get from your home machine and what you’re likely to be served at a café. Most tea lattes you’ll get when you order out are made with brewed tea and steamed milk poured over with syrups and/or spices added for flavor. When you make a tea latte at home, you can use a grinder to get fine tea particles that you pack into your portafilter like you would do with coffee grounds. The product in this case is a concentrated brew that takes seconds to steep.

Espresso is the process by which the coffee is brewed you can do the same thing with tea. This gives you the base for your latte and it becomes a superior tea product, much different than what you’d order at a café or coffee shop. Add your flavorings, then carefully pour milk from the steamer over the base you’ve brewed and you have your latte. It’s easy to do, especially if you’re well versed in operating your espresso machine. The process is basically the same as a coffee latte, but the grounds in the portafilter are made of tea instead.

Clean Your Brew Head

Brewing tea in your espresso machine will cause the tea that you put through your grinder to get all over the brew head and the basket that goes into the portafilter. If you plan to brew coffee in the machine as well, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the brew head, portafilter, and basket to prevent flavors from mixing. Consult your user manual or call the help line for the manufacturer before you detach any parts for cleaning and make sure that you re-attach everything securely.

If you don’t get all of the ground up tea out of the brew head and basket, it’s not going to do any harm to your machine so don’t go crazy getting every tiny particle out. The issue is that the flavor of the tea you brew, especially if it’s a strong fragrant blend, will linger until all of the tea is cleaned out.

Exciting Flavors

There are many ways to add flavor to the coffee you brew in your espresso machine but the benefit of using tea is that the flavors are already right there in the grounds. Chai is a popular blend to use for tea lattes with exotic eastern spices and a warm flavor that smells delicious and it’s a good recipe to begin your tea latte experiments.

Another excellent point about the flavors of tea is that you can serve over ice and the flavors remain strong. When the weather turns warmer, trade in the tea latte for simple brewed tea using your espresso machine and serve it over ice or use a mixing glass to toss the drink with ice before serving. The concentrated brew will still have tons of flavor without having to add sugars or syrups, making it a refreshing treat that you can include into practically any diet.

The Matcha trend

You might have heard about the “special” green tea called matcha and wondered what makes it so much better than regular green tea besides that it costs a little extra. For one thing, the tea is not really a leaf form but more of a powder and this means that when you brew it in your espresso machine, you can skip the step of putting the leaves through the grinder. You may have a more difficult time during clean up but it’s well worth the extra work.

The flavor is something that may take an acquired taste because it’s not the same as the green tea you’re probably used to but in the end you get an antioxidant boost that many other teas and hot beverages won’t be able to deliver. It’s another blend that is also good served over ice, with some honey, or all by itself. Pair it with steamed almond milk and you have a drink that will pack a serious punch in the morning or give you a good boost to avoid the mid-day slump after lunch.

The Decaf Advantage

At the end of the day, you may long for the warmth that will lull you softly to sleep but you know that if you use your espresso machine for coffee or even make some hot chocolate, you could be cursing yourself to a sleepless night. Try using your machine instead to make a tea latte with herbal tea that is naturally caffeine free. Vanilla, chamomile, and lavender are aromas and flavors that can have the relaxing effect you need to unwind and get to sleep. The steamed milk on top is just the perfect touch to give you a treat that makes you feel warm all over. End every day as well as you started it with your espresso machine and a tea latte.

How Does Your Home Machine Fit Into Your New Year’s Resolution?

The first week of 2016 means that social media, work chat, and every conversation with friends and family is filled with answers to that looming question, “So what was your new year’s resolution?” When someone answers that they want to cut back on their coffee consumption, you go wide eyed because you remember your home machine and all the ways it might help you succeed with your own resolutions. If someone tries to persuade you to pack away your machine, here are some points you can bring up arguing why that would be a very bad idea.

The Love of Good Coffee

On the first day of the year, it’s likely that you woke up with the wonderful feeling that you didn’t have to go to work and that first cup from your home machine was one you could savor even longer. Keep that feeling going all year long and resolve to savor every first cup of coffee just as much as you enjoyed the first. Use this positive feeling as a baseline to continue with all the other promises you made to yourself on the last night of the year. The aroma, flavor, and caffeine content of coffee can give you more than an energy boost. Let each quality lift your spirits and kick your drive to do more into high gear.

Start Off On a Positive Note

If you’ve resolved to eat healthier, lose weight, quit smoking, or simply do more, your home machine can help. As you make a plan to execute your new year’s to do list, remember that you have gourmet coffee to help you make it happen. Here are some of the many ways coffee will enrich your new year:

Resolve to include a cup of coffee in the afternoon to help you get that extra boost of energy you need to go to the gym and suppress your appetite just enough to keep yourself from snacking after lunch. Come back from your mid-day break with none of the mid-day slump and watch the pounds melt off. The extra exercise can also improve your mood to help you get more done for the rest of the day.

Your home machine can be your saving grace when the kids are coming home from school and you’ve been working, cleaning, or keeping up the house in other ways all day. Savor a cup of coffee or treat yourself to a latte or cappuccino before the kids walk in the door so you have the energy and good mood to help with homework and encourage more face-to-face interaction.

Invite your friends over for a weekly get together, book club, or arts and crafts night and use your home machine to make everyone some coffee. You’ll give them more incentive to attend the gatherings and you can use the time to catch up with each other or learn a new skill together.

Refresh or Replace Your Machine

Planning to use your home machine more to assist in your new year’s resolution can mean more wear and tear that can cause damage. Be sure to give your machine a good cleaning, check all the parts, and refer to your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s web site to site any issues before they occur. If your machine still doesn’t seem up to the task, it may be time to get a new one. You’ll be able to use your home machine to keep your mood light and your energy up.

Give the Gift of Gourmet Coffee

One of the best ways to do better and start the year off right is to give to someone else. The time for gift giving might be past but that doesn’t mean you need to forgo the pleasure of making someone’s day…or year. A friend or family with a January birthday, your significant other, a parent, or anyone else can be the recipient of a home machine that gives them all the benefits that you enjoy with your own machine.

When gifting a machine, remember that not everyone else has the same enthusiasm for brewing gourmet coffee that you do. You’ll want to purchase a machine that the recipient can operate easily and maintain realistically. Take into account the time a person has to spend preparing and brewing their machine and they’ll be happy to receive it and use it all year round.

Share Your Love

As the weeks and months go by and you uphold the resolutions you made on New Year’s Eve, share your success and your love of coffee using social media. The creations you make with your home machine to boost your energy, mood, and health can inspire others to do the same. Smile, add decorations, and dress up your coffee to make each post a thing of beauty. Join coffee blogs to get new ideas and use hash tags to attract other coffee lovers to your posts. You’ll learn how to best use your home machine and perhaps even make a few friends along the way.

Keep it Going!

This is the first week of the year and everyone is flush with the energy of the new year and making sure to keep the promises they made to themselves. You might feel this same energy next week and the week after but to stop yourself from giving up before spring begins, use your home machine in the ways you’ve always used it in the past. Make coffee that keeps you moving through the year with gusto and lets you feel good about your decisions. By this time next year, you’ll see that your resolutions were met (or exceeded!) and you can make new ones that you know you’ll be able to keep again. All it takes is a good attitude, the drive to succeed, and the help of gourmet coffee.

Tips For Installing an Espresso Machine In a Camper or RV

For all the convenience in travel that most camper trailers and RVs offer, they often lack in modern and luxury kitchen appliances, including the espresso machine. While it may be possible to travel with your machine and install it in the mobile kitchen for use while traveling, it is not prudent and can result in damage to the machine that’s easily avoided. Instead, opt to install a dedicated home machine in your camper trailer or RV kitchen and never again be without your favorite gourmet experience when on the go.

Water Conservation

In a camper trailer or RV, water conservation is incredibly important. If you’re traveling to a place that doesn’t have a water hookup, you’ll have to rely on whatever supply is in your tanks for the duration of your trip. You may think that this precious supply should not be wasted on a thing like your espresso machine but there are ways around that.

Bring designated kitchen water with you in bottle or extra water tanks to be stored in the kitchen area. Do not pour any excess water down the sink to be collected in the waste tanks and instead dispose of it outside since it is all organic and biodegradable matter from your kitchen without chemicals that can damage the environment. You’ll be able to run and service your espresso machine without using up the water supply you need for other essential tasks.

Making Space

If you’re an avid RV or camper trailer traveler, you understand the importance of every cubic centimeter of space in your vehicle. You can utilize your skills or learn a few more in order to accommodate a home machine that is kept in the vehicle at all times. Take stock of your travel kitchen and decide where the best place to use your machine will be and from there you can see what kind of space can be made to store the machine when it’s not in use.

Rolling shelves underneath cabinets, or inside pantry areas are ideal for this purpose. You can roll the machine out, plug it in, and fire it up for your espresso experience. You can even plug the machine into a rechargeable battery pack made for these kinds of situations and you won’t have to worry about putting the machine near a power source. Make sure that you have easy access to the machine and that it can be operated safely. Remember that it uses highly pressurized hot water. Cabinet and pantry spaces at countertop level are best for operation because you won’t have to bend down, stretch, crouch, or use a step stool to get to the machine.

Accommodating Accessories

Several gadgets may be involved in the making of your favorite type of latte, including a grinder, stand alone pour over steamer, strainer, large spoon for pouring steamed milk carefully, and any flavorings you enjoy. Your espresso machine can give you better gourmet coffee but in order to make a latte or other beverage you need a little more than this one machine, Fortunately, these accessories are more easily mobile and don’t necessarily need to be kept on board your RV or camper trailer. If you believe you can suffice on simple espresso shots during your trip, you don’t have to bring them with you and if you choose to do so, they can be transported in a box back and forth.

The same principle goes for other extras like flavorings, milk or milk alternatives for steaming, specialty glasses and mugs, and other things you may want to bring along. You can decide to make as special corner in your travel kitchen for these accessories or you can transfer them back and forth depending on how often you travel.

Storage

Some RV or camper trailer owners may make the decision to winterize their vehicles and put it in storage during the winter. If you do, there are some things that you need to consider about your espresso machine in order to maintain its top condition. First off, you’ll want to make sure that everything, including your machine, is strapped down or stored properly in cabinets so it won’t move around or fall over during transport or while things are settling after the vehicle is safely in storage. Check what is on top of the machine or underneath it because unnecessary pressure on top of the machine can damage it and any leakage can damage things underneath.

Prevent leakage by emptying the tank and prevent mold or other bacterial buildup by cleaning all the parts of the espresso machine thoroughly before putting into storage. Unplug the machine and store the power chord safely without tangles and without winding it tightly. Although you may not be using your vehicle for several months, it’s still a good idea to check back on its contents on a regular basis. You may still be a bit unsure about the safety of your espresso machine and in that case, you can always remove it from the vehicle and store it at home for the duration of the winter months.

Enjoy Better Outdoor Entertainment

These few tips and tricks will help you travel with your espresso machine in your RV or camper trailer so you always have the gourmet experience of beautiful coffee. One of the benefits you may not have considered is also the ways you can entertain guests at the campfire during your travels using the best beverages they’ll ever taste in an outdoor camping setting. Give everyone the means to keep roasting marshmallows all night long and sing louder with the aid of the espresso you serve. A night stargazing can be made infinitely better by bringing along this experience. You’ll be able to wake up to a sunrise wherever you are with the coffee you love most every time you travel!

You Can Build Your Espresso Machine Into the Wall to Save Space

Every kitchen has its merits and downfalls but one of the most challenging aspects of arranging appliances is saving space. An espresso machine can be a luxury and convenience that you feel you can’t live without but the question remains: where do you install it? There are compact models that make the answer a little simpler but if you’re not willing to sacrifice function for space, there is always the option to build the machine into the wall and forgo the deliberations about where to put it on the counter all together.

Feasibility Between Kitchen and Machine

Before growing attached to the idea of a built in espresso machine, you must first discern if it is entirely feasible with the machine and space you have available. Some machines are made to be built into the wall and the consideration will be minimal but if you have a machine that is not one of these models, several plans will need to be made before undergoing the project. First and most importantly, do you already have an espresso machine or are you planning to purchase one specifically for this purpose? If the answer is the latter, you won’t have much to worry about because you’ll be able to confer with the manufacturer about which specific model is best and how to go about building it into the wall in your kitchen.

If you already have a home machine that you’d like to build into the wall, you’ll have to consider the size and weight, cutting into the wall to insert the machine, and installing it to a suitable power source. It is wise to consult the manufacturer on these matters as well as they will have the best advice about where and how to complete the endeavor, but you can figure out some of these things for yourself.

Size and Weight

When measuring the space in the wall where you want to install your espresso machine, you’ll need to allow extra space to get the machine in (and eventually out) and you’ll need to choose border material for those gaps after the machine is installed in order to keep the space aesthetically pleasing. The weight of the machine also matters because it will have to sit in the wall either mounted to the top of the space with brackets or secured on a sort of platform at the bottom of the space. Make sure that the mounting hardware to be used can support much more than the full weight of the machine. It will have to hold on and keep it in place for a long time and if the wrong hardware is used, you can be facing damage to your machine, your kitchen, and yourself.

Power and Water

You’ll need to be able to supply power and water to your espresso machine in order to use it and if you’re not using a machine meant to be built into the wall, you’ll need to allow for the power chord to reach a power source and room for the water tank to be removed for filling and cleaning. The power chord can be snaked down inside the wall and a hole can be drilled for it to come out and be plugged in. Check how your water tank is removed so you can ensure you’ll be able to get it out or bring a pitcher over to fill it. These considerations make it easy for you operate your machine once it’s built into the wall so think about them carefully and remember that you may be using your machine several times a day.

Utilizing Cabinetry

Cabinets are often built in rows above and below the counter tops and the places above are idea for placing an espresso machine. Again, you’ll want to measure the size and weight of your machine carefully but if you are willing to sacrifice some cabinet space in exchange for counter space, you may have a perfect placement.

Before considering this space, remember that an espresso machine produces a lot of steam. Anything stored above or around the machine may be affected by the heat and humidity caused by this emission. It’s a good idea, if considering cabinet space to build in your espresso machine, to use one entire cabinet specifically for the machine.

Move Other Appliances

You may find that there is no way to build your espresso machine into the wall to save space in your kitchen but there are other ways that you can move things around in order to make it fit more efficiently. Try finding a different appliance to build into the wall like the microwave, toaster oven, or storage cabinet. These things may be easier to build in and you’ll still be able to make more room to enjoy your home machine every day. Take stock of what you have and think about how much you use each appliance. Can you move anything to a storage space off the counter? An espresso machine is usually difficult to move around. Once it’s installed that’s where it stays but not every appliance is the same way. In fact, many are created especially for easy mobility and space saving purposes.

Make It Mobile

Instead of moving your espresso machine around on the counter or attempting to build it into the wall, an easier option and solution to the space issue is to create a mobile coffee cart for your machine and accessories. There are several attractive options on wheels that will allow you to move the machine and all of its extras around the kitchen for use when you need them and storage when you don’t. Be careful with this option that you secure the machine to the cart so it doesn’t fall off while you wheel it around. Remember to always measure, consult the manufacturer with any of your questions, always be kind to your machine so you can continue to enjoy it for many years!

Learn How To Add Flavors To Your Cappuccino Machine

Your cappuccino machine is a lifesaver for you, allowing you to make café-like beverages right in your own home. You can take these beverages up a notch by learning how to add flavorings to the coffee you brew and the milk used with your steamer and spice up the beverages you drink and serve. Wow every guest you entertain and enjoy the luxury of a barista quality cappuccino with a few simple guidelines.

The Many Ways of Flavoring

When most of us think about flavoring coffee or cappuccino, we think about using syrups or mixing in flavored creamers after the coffee has already been brewed. The methods discussed in this article are about incorporating flavors in the mix that goes into the cappuccino machine so the finished product is an already flavored beverage ready to drink and looking professionally beautiful. The added benefits of these methods include being able to use the heat of the brewing cappuccino to emulsify flavors and mix properly as well as the extra convenience that comes with not having to mix in more things after the beverage is poured.

The Chemistry of Cappuccino

In order to figure out the best way to flavor the mix that goes into your cappuccino machine, you need to understand how each flavor mixes together with coffee. Temperature plays a key role in this equation, as does ratio of flavoring to coffee. Think of the flavor adventure as a sort of chemistry experiment. Use a plain cappuccino as your control and then use different flavors in trial and error to see what you like best. There are cappuccino recipes out there but in this case it’s more a matter of personal preference. You’ll have to play around with the way you add flavors to your coffee before you get it right.

The Importance of a Burr Grinder

One of the best ways to spice up your cappuccino is to add spices and flavorings directly to the coffee grounds before they’re brewed. Achieving this in a way that satisfies the taste buds and doesn’t create too much extra air space in the packed grounds is to use a burr grinder. This kind of grinder uses plates that move the particles back and forth to literally grind them instead of cutting them up like a blade grinder would. The result is uniform particles that fit together like tiny little puzzle pieces.

Grinding fresh spices will create a better and fuller flavor than sprinkling dried spices into the grounds and mixing it all up. You can also try adding dried fruit or dark chocolate for a new kind of flavor profile you may never have thought about. The idea of chemistry also comes into play when adding spices or other additions to coffee grounds. The additions must be dry before adding them or the grounds mixture may clump up before it’s ever brewed and cause issues with the way they’re packed or the way they mix together.

Flavoring Foam

A cappuccino machine creates three layers for the beverage that comes from it, which consist of the bottom coffee layer, steamed milk in the middle, and foam on top. The steamer in the machine does the work for you and it is never a good idea to add anything to the machine that will come out of the steamer wand. However, you can add flavors to the milk or milk substitute that you use in order to give you steamed milk that has extra punch.

An important part of this process is to ensure that the milk being foam starts out very cold. This will help it stiffen and thicken correctly. If you decide to use flavored syrups, sugar, spices, or other flavorings, then mix them into warmed milk before chilling it again to put under the steamer wand. The warmth will help the flavorings mix together with the milk but if you let it get too hot before chilling it for steaming, it may cook or change composition so it’s important to only warm it a little bit.

Infusions and Stirring

After you’ve made your flavored cappuccino, you may decide that the brew needs a tweak before it’s perfect. This is where infusions become handy and stirring extra flavors into the finished beverage but it must be done carefully or the effect will blend the layers together and defeat the entire purpose you have a cappuccino machine.

You can infuse foam with a couple drops of candy flavoring and stir it up to distribute around the top of the beverage uniformly. It’s better to use a stirring stick instead of a spoon because it will disturb the surface of the beverage less. The same goes for sprinkling spices on top of the cappuccino to add flavor but in this case it will be easier to distribute in a uniform manner because the spices aren’t as concentrated as drops of flavoring.

Garnish and Flair

A beautiful cup of coffee is only enhanced by a garnish that shows the drinker what kinds of flavors may lie beneath the surface. Your cappuccino machine will deliver a gourmet beverage but it’s up to you to present it to any guests with flair. You can garnish the drinks you make for yourself as well to make them more aesthetically pleasing and boost your mood just by looking at them. Try something like a mint leaf for mint chocolate or a chocolate curl for anything with cocoa based flavorings. A berry sprig garnishes fruity additions and a sprinkle of cinnamon shows the spice of an autumn infused cappuccino. Have some fun adding flair to your beverages. You’ll be a gourmet cappuccino expert in no time with just a few little experiments in adding flavors in this way. Get creative and enjoy serving cappuccinos at your next event or gathering that make your guests wonder if you’ve hired a barista.

Dessert Recipes for Use with Your Espresso Machine

As you go into a frenzy looking for a new way to impress your friends or in-laws this holiday season with your culinary prowess, consider that the answer might lie in the espresso machine right on your counter top. There are all kinds of dessert recipes that use coffee as a flavoring ingredient. If you substitute espresso instead of coffee, you’ll get a much bolder and interesting flavor that provides a factor to make your desserts unforgettable.

Choosing Your Menu

Dessert can be easy or incredibly complicated, depending on the rest of the menu you’ll be serving. You can combat the complicated by centering the dinner on what you’ve made for dessert. For instance, if you make a tiramisu you could try a something that will provide a cushion for the espresso and alcohol used in the dessert. A good steak, something that involves pasta or bread, and other heavier meals go well with the light tiramisu.

You can cater other menus around desserts you’re thinking about making. The general rule is that if the dessert is decadent, the meal should be lighter. This provides balance to your meals so that people feel satisfied after eating but not so full that they’re going to burst.

Grounds Vs. Prepared

Not every recipe you use with coffee will call for prepared shots of espresso. In these cases, your grinder will come in very handy and a burr grinder is the best bet at getting the consistency you’ll need for a recipe. Usually, coffee grounds are used to fold into frosting, egg whites, or other batters to provide flavor without changing the consistency of the batter. Prepared coffee has to be added in precise volumes so that it doesn’t end up changing the way the recipe comes out. If your recipe includes prepared coffee, be very careful about measuring to avoid this issue.

Snacks

Of course, you don’t have to limit your preparation of espresso machine treats to holiday dinners and events. There are all kinds of snack items you can bake up from cookies and brownies to cupcakes and the frosting that tops them. One of the most popular ways to turn espresso into a snack is with mocha brownies. Add coffee grounds to your batter before you add nuts or other additions and then bake them up for a treat that will make your entire kitchen smell like a café with fresh coffee for hours.

Go Gourmet

If you have an espresso machine capable of producing gourmet shots, why not use them to make gourmet desserts? There are many cookie and pastry recipes that call for coffee. Delicate meringues, flaky pastries, and light little cakes that are beautifully presented and taste like you’re in a five star restaurant.  These recipes will take more skill than others and the quantity and quality of the coffee you’ll use is very important. If the recipe calls for something specific, it’s a good idea to follow that exactly.

Gourmet recipes use methods that are more complicated and so the instructions are incredibly important. Be sure to read through every part of a recipe before you try it and be conservative in your estimates about your own skills. If you’re not sure, try a recipe that’s simpler and work up to gourmet later. The skills you learn from more basic recipes will ensure that your gourmet choices are perfection when they come out of the oven.

What About the Caffeine?

Are you planning to serve your dessert or snacks to children or people who are not fond of caffeine? There are ways around this issue and to make sure the kids aren’t running around bouncing off walls because they accidentally ingested four shots from the espresso machine. When a recipe calls for coffee and you’re concerned about the caffeine content, the simple answer is to use decaffeinated coffee instead of regular grounds. You can also make two batches of the dessert, one with caffeine and one without, or you can provide an alternative dessert along with the one that contains espresso. These are options that make the choice to use real espresso simple so you can enjoy the taste and feeling that comes with gourmet coffee while others enjoy the alternative. If they don’t want it, that’s more for you!

Espresso Temperature

When you first pull a shot from your espresso machine, it’s steaming hot and it’s supposed to be that way. However, when you add prepared espresso to a recipe (especially a baking recipe) you’ll need to cool it to about room temperature before combining it with other ingredients.

The best way to do this is just let it sit out or put the mug over a bowl of ice. Espresso straight without anything like milk or sugar added to it will keep without worry. Do not put the ice directly into the espresso because this will change the flavor, consistency, and measurement of the liquid to be added. Brew shots before doing anything else for the recipe and by the time you’re ready to add the coffee it should be cooled.

Other Blends and Coffee to Use With Desserts

An espresso machine comes in handy when trying to add pizzazz to your desserts using gourmet coffee but another home machine can also do well in this endeavor. Brew flavored coffees or try different blends to add different flavors to the desserts you make that use coffee. You can try a tiramisu with hazelnut or caramel flavored coffee to add a new kick to an old favorite or try peanut butter brownies with a bold espresso for a combination that brings out every flavor. The possibilities are endless and you’ll have a lot of fun trying out the different desserts you can make with coffee, espresso, and all the favorites you’ve enjoyed in your mug in the past.

Can Your Home Machine Help You Digest After Big Holiday Meals?

It is common practice to have coffee with dessert, especially after big meals like the ones served during the holiday season. Everyone gathers around for pie, cookies, cake, and the delicious premium coffee drinks that you create with your home machine. The question at hand is: can these beverages actually aid in your digestion or are they doing more harm than good? Learn about the pros and cons of drinking coffee and espresso after a big meal to find out if it’s the right choice for your dessert beverage.

The Beans Matter

It can be exciting to choose holiday and flavored blends when the time of pumpkin pie and gourmet baked goods comes to call and chances are that they’re different from what you usually make on a daily basis. Depending on the type of machine you have, each blend can create a beverage that caters not only to your specific tastes but also to your digestive needs.

Light or dark roast refers mostly to taste and not to caffeine content but the blends also each have their own ways of affecting your system. Light roast or blonde blends will be the easiest to take whether you’ve had a feast or a small meal. They’re good for people who have regular issues with coffee but would still like to partake in the types of beverages that are made with coffee. Dark roasts are bolder in flavor and strength. If you’re not a seasoned coffee drinker, they can be hard on your system.

The Sugar Paradox

Many types of desserts and dessert beverages contain a good deal more of sugar than one should ever consume in a single sitting. We tell ourselves that it’s okay because it’s the holidays and we’re not going to eat like this all the time but these kinds of foods can still be damaging to the system. According to Harvard Medical School, the antioxidants in coffee can help minimize the absorption of sugar.

A good shot from your espresso machine or a light blend from a different type of home machine can aid digestion in this way during dessert, acting as a sort of extra filter for the added sugar. However, herein lies the paradox because the common practice is also to put sugar in coffee, brew something delicious and sweet from your cappuccino machine, or add other flavorings that compliment dessert foods.

The Cons

There is another side to this argument that has some sense but is often spouted by those who are opposed to coffee in the first place. Some of the issues that can be caused by frequent coffee consumption will not aid in digestion no matter the size of the meal you’ve eaten. What it really comes down to is your body chemistry, your tolerance to the acids and caffeine in the coffee you drink, and the beans that you’re using in your home machine.

While it’s true that coffee consumption can lead to acid reflux, anxiety, dehydration, and other issues, these things are often caused by over consumption and not by having a cup or two a day or with your dessert after a big holiday meal. If you are sensitive to these effects and notice them in your own body after having coffee, then it’s likely you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits. The bottom line: know your body, stay in tune with what’s happening inside it, and consume everything (including coffee) in moderation.

Gourmet Coffee Beverages As Dessert Replacement

Combat the sugar paradox by brewing up treats only from your cappuccino machine or other home machine instead of also pairing them with desserts. Some of your guests may be disappointed but if they’re watching their sugar and calories, they’ll thank you for not forcing them to make a choice between coffee and dessert. With a large meal behind you, many times we’re all wondering how in the world we’ll be able to get dessert in without feeling like we ate a planet but with coffee as a dessert replacement, everyone will get a treat and also feel energized enough to take a walk around the block rather than fall into the familiar food coma that can happen after a very large meal.

Save the Best for Last

Another way to battle the exhaustion that befalls us at the end of holiday dinners is to serve coffee after dessert is over. When your guests are sitting at the table hoping the buttons on their clothes don’t fly across the room, pull some shots from your espresso machine and serve them straight or with a little cream and sugar to cut the bold flavor as desired. The espresso may aid digestion but the main benefit is the energy boost that guests who have to drive to travel home will receive. If you served wine or other alcohol with dinner or people are simply too full to want to move, espresso can be just what they need to help bring them back to their cheery selves and drive home safely.

Note that espresso or any coffee beverage is not an alternative to waiting after drinking alcohol but can be a good energy boost after the waiting period has already passed.

Bring the Gift of Beautiful Coffee

Your home machine may be an excellent way for you to brew gourmet coffee beverages at home but if you’re not the host of the occasion, its benefits will be lost on those with whom you’ll be sharing your holiday dinners. Bring the gift of beautiful coffee by brewing up a large batch of your favorite beverage and putting it in a coffee urn or samovar that can travel to your destination with you. Instead of the usual pie or other item that your host already has tons of, you’ll be contributing something unique as well as delicious to the meal you plan to enjoy with friends and loved ones.

Explore New Varieties of Coffee for Use in Your Home Machine

The coffee you drink every day is comfortable. Your home machine delivers a brew that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything during the rest of your day and it’s not just the taste that does it. There’s an aroma to your familiar blend, and you know exactly how you like it prepared without even thinking about it. There are other varieties of coffee out there, though, and you might be missing out on something even better than what you’re used to drinking. Explore new types of coffee and find out the nuances in each blend that make you want to try every one.

Whole Beans Vs. Pre-Ground

A lot of people purchase pre-ground coffee for use in a home machine. It’s easy and faster than using a grinder to prepare whole beans fresh every time you want some coffee. Pre-ground coffee now comes in several varieties, especially with the advent of the pod machine that brews coffee one cup at a time and caters to households that have diverse tastes and people who entertain a lot. Whole bean coffee is still vaster in the choices you’ll have available and it’s a good idea to purchase a grinder to explore these options.

Preparing and Storing Your Whole Bean Coffee

Trying several varieties of new coffee is likely to give you a surplus and you’ll have to store it properly in order to continue to use it. When you first purchase a whole bean coffee, you’ll have to use a grinder to prepare it for use in your home machine but you won’t be grinding it all at once. Grind whole bean coffee by the batch right before you brew it. The rest should be kept in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator or freezer. Be sure to store your coffee beans away from any place that’s humid or where something can leak on the container. If you have extra coffee grounds after preparing your machine and brewing your coffee, store it in a separate airtight container and use as soon as possible.

Find New Varieties

When attempting to discover new varieties of coffee beans, you will be faced with a lot of choices that you might not understand. For this reason, you’ll want a good buying guide in order to help you decide which varieties you want to try and which ones you may not like. A little research goes a long way and you’ll be happy that you put in the time to learn a little about each different type of coffee. The coffee you love is where you should begin. Find out where those beans come from and what their flavor profile is and from there you can find similar varieties that you know you’ll enjoy.

The Power of Social Media

Social media can be an excellent tool for discovering new things if you know what to look for. A few search terms are really all you need to find groups and other enthusiasts that can teach you about finding new coffee bean varieties. Hash tags have gotten a little out of hand in some cases but what you may not realize is that the hash tag is a tool for searching more easily for what you want. Try terms like “exotic coffee,” “whole coffee beans,” or “flavored coffee beans.” Talk to your coffee loving friends, tag them in posts about coffee, pictures of drinks you like, and ask them what they like and where they buy their coffee to find new places and varieties to try.

Know Your Machine

Your home machine may have limitations but it may also be able to do things you never realized it could. Take some time to learn a little more about your machine so you can find out what it can really do and utilize all the features with any new coffee bean varieties you decide to try. Discover new drinks to make with your machine and methods of brewing that you’ve never tried in the past. Revisit your owners’ manual in detail to see all the functions your machine can perform.

If you’re unsure about how to use any of the functions on your machine, contact the manufacturer with your questions. It’s better to spend some extra time than to damage your machine and not be able to use it again. Talk to friends who have the same machine if you know anyone or consult the internet. Remember, though that the internet has an overabundance of information so research well and be aware of the websites from which you get your information.

The Espresso Brewing Method

It is a common misconception that espresso is a type of coffee but really it’s the espresso machine that makes the variety so special. Espresso is a brewing method, not a type of coffee. It delivers espresso shots that have a signature texture and taste but it is the method that makes espresso special.

On an espresso machine, there is a portafilter that holds the tightly packed coffee grounds and puts them into place for brewing. A mechanism within the machine pressurizes the hot water that is pushed through the grounds and gives you a shot of espresso that is bold, dark, and delicious.

Enjoy Beautiful Coffee

Discovering new varieties of coffee beans is an experience that will open you up to all kinds of flavors and coffee beverages for you to love. As you find more, don’t forget the coffee that you originally enjoyed. You don’t have to give up the comfort of your favorite brew in order to discover something new. Store the grounds you already have according to the guidelines above and you’ll be able to keep it fresh for when you want it again. Enjoy beautiful coffee in all of its wonderful varieties, including the one you like most.

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