When you’re feeling under the weather, tea with honey is a popular remedy to soothe whatever is ailing you but this is not the only way you can incorporate honey into your diet. Depending on the type of honey you use, it can be a healthy way to sweeten espresso machine beverages (and basically anything else) along with added benefits aside from eliminating regular white sugar from your daily routine. Learn about how you can begin adding honey to your favorite beverages all the time for a better way to enjoy espresso.
Raw Honey vs. Processed Honey
You may have heard all kinds of debates about the differences between raw and processed honey and it can be confusing if you go searching for unfettered information so here’s the main idea before you get started incorporating more honey into your diet. The idea of substituting honey for sugar is that you’ll be eliminating regular table sugar, which can damage your health exponentially over time. White table sugar is usually processed and it’s high glycemic index can be the cause of type two diabetes and other issues that are caused by putting extra stress on the pancreas to filter processed sugars. One of most common ways that many people overuse sugar is by adding it to coffee or espresso machine beverages several times a day. We all do it and we don’t even realize how much sugar we’re actually adding to our daily routine by doing this.
Processed honey, like processed sugar, has a high glycemic index. It may be simpler to find at the store and less expensive than raw honey but substituting processed honey for sugar is the same or worse than using processed sugar all the time. Raw honey is unprocessed and not as popular because it has a different taste than the honey you’re probably used to. However, when used in the right ways and with the right ingredients, raw honey is delicious and has all kinds of health benefits that make it a much safer way to sweeten espresso, other beverages, and foods, especially if you’re adding it to coffee several times a day.
Specific Benefits of Alternative Sweetener
Using honey as an alternative sweetener has several specific health benefits, even though it is known to have a higher caloric value than other alternatives like artificial sugar and stevia. While these alternatives may have less calories, they’re not as vitamin rich or naturally healthy as raw honey. There are several reasons besides vitamin content that you’ll want to choose raw honey over other alternatives to sweeten your espresso machine beverages.
Espresso is already an excellent antioxidant and raw honey is not only another good antioxidant but is also known to be an antifungal and effective disinfectant. You’ll be giving your espresso machine beverages an extra boost to work for you throughout the day, aiding your immune system in fighting off colds and other germs. Raw honey is also said to be an effective pain killer so, along with caffeine, espresso with honey can be the best remedy for a headache when you’re sinuses are irritated or you’re suffering a cold.
Choosing Your Honey
After you make the decision to substitute raw honey for sugar in your espresso machine beverages, you’ll go to the grocery store and notice that there are several choices in the type of raw honey you can purchase. This choice can be overwhelming but that shouldn’t deter you from your decision to use raw honey. Generally speaking, local honey is the best kind of raw honey you can get, not only for it’s health benefits but also because you’ll be supporting local honey farmers but you may not be able to find this at a regular grocery store. You can look for it at a farmers’ market or go directly to the source and find local beekeepers from which to purchase honey. In the grocery store, you should still be able to find raw or wild collected honey on the shelf.
Within the category of “raw honey” there are also different kinds and in the end it’s really a matter of personal preference. Some types are more solid or crystalized because when honey is processed these properties are removed using heat. If the honey is solidified, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. That’s just how some types of honey become in their natural state. You simply scoop it out and stir it into hot espresso and it will melt and incorporate easily. You will also notice that many varieties of raw honey also have bitterer taste than the processed honey you may be used to and it seems that they won’t be able to sweeten anything. Rest assured, you’ll still have a sweetened beverage when you stir this honey into hot liquid.
Using Honey Around Your Espresso Machine
It is important to realize that you cannot use raw honey inside your espresso machine. Don’t try adding the honey to coffee grounds or putting it into the cup to sweeten milk before you use the steamer wand. The machine parts can get sticky and they’ll be pretty difficult to clean properly, especially if you don’t see accumulation before it happens. If you do happen to get honey on or in your machine, cleaning it right away with hot water can prevent any damage or dirt accumulation before it becomes a problem.
Mixing Other Flavors
Now you’ve learned about raw honey with espresso machine beverages and it’s likely you want to learn more about flavoring your beverages in other healthier ways. Don’t hesitate to get creative and use cinnamon, nutmeg, and other dry spices with your coffee grounds and in your espresso beverage recipes to construct new and delicious hot beverages. You’ll be able to enjoy your favorite treat in a whole new way as well as enjoy the added health benefits of the new ingredients you discover.
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.
A hot beverage from your cappuccino machine with all of its beautiful layers can make even the bitterest cold day seem a little warmer. Your hands around a tall mug of flavored coffee and foam and the aroma of everything from the spices and beans you used to the garnish at the top helps to chase away frost and snow to keep all of its properties outside the windows instead of in your moods. Pair this beverage with decadent baked goods and not only will your oven warm your home while your treats bake but will also fill the place with the smell of anticipated tastes you’ll get excited to eat.
It Starts With Cappuccino
Before you can go pairing decadent pastries and other baked goods with the beverages that come from your cappuccino machine, you first need to have an excellent cappuccino. You might be an espresso and steamer newbie who just started learning how to pull shots or you could be an experienced home barista who knows how to make a top notch brew. Either way, there’s always more to learn that will make your skills and the results of your efforts even better.
Take a look at your cappuccino machine and reacquaint yourself with its parts and how they operate. Pull a few shots, steam some milk, make it foam and learn everything there is to know about the steamer on your machine. Experiment with your favorite spices and flavors. Discover everything you love most and put it together into one perfect cappuccino that will pair with the decadence of baked goods and provide the aroma to compliment whatever you decide to make.
Cookies and Brownies
Crunchy or soft, cookies are the best way to share the decadence you make with your cappuccino machine. They’re easy to serve and great for gatherings and parties that include a lot of people. Cookies also come in “bar” form, which is a sort of cousin to the brownie and still easy to serve but tends to be softer and use more ingredients than most cookies. Choose carefully, according to the type of cappuccino you plan to serve or the theme/mood of the event where they’ll be served. You can also use crushed cookie crumbs as a garnish for cappuccino beverages. Try cookie straws that are served in the cappuccino. They’re crunchy and best for dipping, as are mandolins and the classic chocolate chip.
Brownies are one of the most decadent baked goods available to bake. Pack them with chocolate chips, use coffee grounds as flavoring, or top with foamed milk or coffee infused whipped egg whites before placing in the oven for a cappuccino themed twist. A lighter blend of coffee with chocolate shavings as a garnish on top of the foamed milk is a wonderful pairing with any kind of thick and gooey brownie. On the contrary, brownies that are chocolaty and very sweet cut the bitterness of the boldest brew. No matter what, you can’t go wrong!
The Beauty of Cake and Coffee
There’s simplicity and graceful elegance that comes with serving cake with coffee and using your cappuccino machine is only different in that you get to take the concept up a notch. You can bake up a light and airy angel food cake or embrace the decadence of rich chocolate or pound cake. Cater to your guests or enjoy something that only you love. There’s no limit to the beauty that you can create with cake and you can pair all kinds of cappuccino beverages with each one.
One excellent way to pair cappuccino with cake is to use icing that has a coffee flavoring and looks similar to the foam on top of the cappuccino. The harmony created will taste delicious and also look amazing on your table. A cappuccino-flavored cheesecake can be a lighter way to enjoy decadent flavors without all the calories. Explore all the ways that cakes can enhance the flavors of your favorite cappuccino and wow every guest at your next family dinner or social gathering.
Have a Storm Party
When the weather turns really brutal and your friends and family are stuck inside, battle the stir-crazy feelings and depressing moods by baking up some goodies at a storm party. Use your cappuccino machine to get the party started and perk everyone up and then start mixing batters and adding chocolate chips. Take your treats to the couch to enjoy a movie marathon, board games, or interesting conversation to pass the time until it’s safe to go back outside.
If you’re friends and family are not able to be in the same place during the storm, organize a cookie or treat exchange. Everyone bakes up their own favorites and then trades them amongst each other after the storm has passed. Post your findings on social media, use the pictures to lift everyone else’s moods without leaving your home, and let your own creations comfort you while you’re watching the snow fall. The best way to throw a storm party could be to get all of your friends together and everyone works to shovel each other’s driveways, and then bake some treats and enjoy some cappuccino to warm up when you’re all done.
Time Saving Decadence
Storms can also mean a lot of work for your home and that means you won’t have much time to bake treats or brew anything from your cappuccino machine for your friends. You can still enjoy things yourself by brewing your own cappuccino beverages and making cake, brownies, or cookies in a mug. Mug cakes are a single serve sensation that has yielded all kinds of recipes that you can enjoy with your favorite hot beverage. Don’t let time constraints stop you from enjoying decadent treats with your cappuccino. A few ingredients and a microwave will have you sitting down with your sweet snack in just a couple of minutes. No matter what the situation, you can pair decadence with your cappuccino machine every day!
The new year has brought some brutal weather to all kinds of areas and we’re all feeling the winter blues set in, as well as sinus pain, headaches, and the hopes that we don’t catch a cold. If you own an espresso machine, you have an advantage over everyone else because you have the power to make hot drinks that boost your energy, mood, and (with the right additions) maybe even your immune system. Explore the ways that home remedies for sinus issues, headaches, and getting over a cold can be incorporated into the drinks you make using your machine in your own kitchen every day.
The Obvious Solution
When the cold weather really begins to bite, you know that the obvious solution is to seek warmth. Holding a hot cup of coffee or tea in your hands is one way to achieve this, as is the warm steam that comes up from the mug, the aroma that comforts, and the feeling you get when you sip your brew. This is, of course, the simplest way to beat the cold when it comes to using your espresso machine to help but it’s actually just the beginning of the ways your beautiful machine can give you respite from the winter blues.
Spice it Up to Relieve Sinus Pressure
Even if you don’t catch a cold, the freezing weather is likely to dry out your sinuses and cause your nose to run. No matter what we do to combat these issues, they seem to always come back to get us. There a few spices you can add to your coffee grounds before adding them to the brew basket of your espresso machine that, along with the hot beverage produced, can help relieve sinus pressure. These ideas are taken from home remedies that others have tried and may offer a good alternative or supplement to other ways of dealing.
Cinnamon, ginger root, turmeric, mint leaves, cayenne pepper, and curry are all spices that have been used to help relieve sinus pressure. If you don’t want to grind up the spices yourself, you can use the ready made powdered versions but the organic whole herbs are likely to be the most effective. Some of the spices might be an acquired taste but once you find something that works, you’ll be able to combine your love of espresso with a boost for your day to keep your nose from running and your head from aching.
Skip the Sugar
One of the things that many people don’t realize is that refined sugar can be quite taxing on your immune system. Instead of adding the sugar or any other artificial sweetener to your espresso, try an alternative sweetener. Dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa or more, cinnamon, nutmeg, or sea salt will cut the bitterness of bold coffee without compromising your ability to fight off all the germs and sickness flying around at this time of year.
Caffeinate Your Headaches
There are many over the counter medications for headaches that include caffeine as a major ingredient for a reason. A cup of espresso when you feel a headache coming on can be just what you need to stop it from ruining your day. A touch of mint leaf or some cinnamon can serve as an extra boost that makes you feel energized and pain free throughout the day. Since these spices may also relieve sinus pressure, an espresso drink made with them can work for you in more ways than one.
Brew a Tea Latte
Your espresso machine probably includes a hot water spigot that is perfect for quick hot water that you can use to brew tea. There are all kinds of herbal tea out there to help you fight a cold, relieve sinus pressure, or get rid of a headache, or you can use herbs to create your own. The steamer wand attachment on your espresso machine allows you to brew your tea and then add steamed milk for a tea latte that not only assists in healing but also comforts. Try using raw honey, almond milk, coconut milk, or fresh squeezed lemon in your tea for an added boost.
Tools For Healing
If your plan is to make up your own herbal blends, there are a few tools you may want to employ to keep things simple. First, a mortar and pestle is excellent for crushing up herbs that go directly into a strainer for brewing tea. Next, a burr grinder will make adding herbs and spices to coffee grounds an easy task. You can put the additions in with the whole coffee beans to grind everything into uniform particles that pack into your espresso machine’s brew basket as tightly as they should. Next, a good blender will make all kinds of drinks that you may not have even thought about yet but will inevitably want to try once you get going experimenting with different recipes.
Lastly, a few good travel mugs are invaluable when you are on the go but want your own homemade brews available wherever you are. If you plan to bring more than one beverage with you to work or a long day of any kind, invest in a large thermos. There are varieties available that plug in to heat up the brew when you’re ready to drink it so your beverage is always hot without having to deal with searching for a microwave.
If You Can’t Beat the Cold, Join It!
This might sound insane, but a good shot from your espresso machine poured over ice or mixed with ice can be a good way to beat the cold. Many establishments overdo the heat to try and keep their customers comfortable and we can all be guilty of the same in our homes. Going from the heated areas to the cold outside can be the worst way to overtax your immune system and make it work extra hard to keep you fighting whatever is out there to catch. A cup of iced coffee may not seem comforting but it can work wonders when you’re inside, you need a boost, and the cold has you wishing for summer sun. Either way, when it comes to beating the winter blues, your espresso machine has all the answers you need!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Using your cappuccino machine is a convenience and a luxury that you enjoy on a daily basis, perhaps even more than once daily but as you do this your machine is gathering coffee grounds and other trace minerals each time you brew a delicious beverage. Regular cleaning is a must and you know that but it’s also a good idea to deep clean the machine every now and then. Learn about the best ways to take get at the tiny nooks and crannies of all the parts in order to keep the machine running at its best for as long as possible.
Your Unique Machine
There is more than one type of home machine that can brew a cappuccino and it matters which kind you have before you start attempting to deep clean. Fully automatic machines might have their own cleaning setting that will do the work for you. A machine with a grinder built in will need to have the grinder parts cleaned separately and dried completely. A steamer wand has a special cleaning regimen as well and the portafilter and pumps in all of these machines must be cleaned carefully since they handle a lot of pressure when being operated. It is imperative that you check user manual for your specific model before you begin any kind of cleaning. This information should tell you about the parts, how they should be cleaned, and how to remove them for cleaning if necessary. Be sure you understand this information before you begin because it will tell you how to do everything safely and in the simplest way possible.
Disconnect and Create a Cleaning Space
The first thing to do before cleaning is to disconnect the machine and bring it to a clean, dry, and stable surface away from the sink. This seems counterproductive but you’re dealing with an electronic machine that has a plug in connection to the wall. It’s best to clean the outside and the parts away from the running water and wet surfaces of the sink.
Create a cleaning space with all of the tools you’ll need to deep clean. These will include: a wash basin, a pitcher for water, clean cloths, and small brushes that will help you get into the tiny places that a cloth can’t reach. You won’t be cleaning the steamer wand at this time. You’ll do that later after the machine is plugged back in.
The Parts You Use Most
When you make a cappuccino, you’re making several different components that, when layered together, create the beverage you know and love. First is the espresso shot, then a layer of hot milk, and a topping of milk foam. This is where it differs from the latte because a late uses more milk and only the foam and not the extra layer of hot milk underneath. The result looks like a light coffee with a foam layer on top and you can see the coffee layers whereas with a latte the top only looks like foam. You might be using your cappuccino machine to pull straight shots of espresso when there’s no time for a full cappuccino or you might have an espresso machine that you use to make lattes, pull shots, and make cappuccinos. Which parts do you use most? Most likely, you’re portafilter will be the part that most needs a deep cleaning because coffee grounds are packed into it no matter which drink you’re making.
The Parts You Should Deep Clean
There are a few parts that you should concentrate on most when giving your home machine a deep cleaning. The portafilter and the brew head are among those parts and they’re tricky to disassemble and this is where the information you gathered from your user manual will come in handy.
Turn the machine on its side and make sure the part you’ll be cleaning is dry before you unscrew it. Be sure to use the right size screwdriver so as not to damage the screw and if there are any gaskets take note of how they’re placed. Clean all the parts and dry thoroughly. Use a small cleaning brush or a toothbrush to get into every place and clean it out. These parts deal with pressurized hot water and coffee grounds so you’re going to see a lot of gunk come out of them and that’s normal. Once the parts are clean and dry, reassemble them onto the machine, making sure that all the screws are tight.
Steamer Wand and Water Pumps
The next parts to clean are a little easier but should still be disassembled and reassembled with great care. Use the same caution with gaskets and screws as you did with the brew head and portafilter. You can use pipe cleaners to clean the steamer wand and use an all purpose cleaner and clean, dry cloth to clean the outside of the machine. Do not use soap and water because they’ll be difficult to rinse since the machine cannot be submerged.
Water pumps don’t get that dirty because they mostly only carry hot water but they could have mineral deposits that cause damage, depending on the type of water that you use. Combat this with a deep cleaning using a mixture of three parts water to one part white vinegar. After the other parts are clean and dry, plug the machine in again and pour the water and vinegar mixture into the water tank. Run the mixture through the machine but don’t let the water tank go completely dry. Once it’s almost empty, refill it with clean water and run that through and run one more tank of water through after that.
How Often Should You Deep Clean?
Disassembling and reassembling parts can take a similar toll on your home machine that dirt and mineral deposits can so it’s important that you deep clean only when you have to. If you use your machine on a daily basis or more, give it all a deep clean monthly or bimonthly. If you use it less than that, limit deep cleaning to two or three times annually and clean the parts without disassembling on a more regular basis. These tips and instructions are guidelines and you should always look to your specific user manual and manufacturer’s information for your specific model before performing any kind of maintenance. When you do, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your machine and keep enjoying cappuccinos, lattes, and espresso in your home whenever you please.
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.
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.
You love your espresso machine and you want to take it to the next level and create a whole café experience in your kitchen but you don’t have the time, the money, or the space to do something like that. You can still add some elegant coffee style with an espresso bar in your home that looks good and keeps all of your materials and ingredients in one place near your espresso machine. Use this piece as the center and beginning of your designs for a home espresso bar that makes you feel good about your kitchen coffee space and wows every guest that comes to visit.
Measure Your Space
Before you beginning designing your espresso bar space, measure the area you want to use at every angle and write down each measurement. Move your espresso machine out of the space it’s in (be sure to put it on a safe and sturdy surface while you’re measuring!) and measure that as well. You’ll need all of these numbers in order to move the espresso machine around and to plan any additional furniture, shelving, and decorative features. It will be a major convenience as you’re deciding what to get because you won’t have to go back and keep measuring over and over to find out if things will fit. You’ll have all the dimensions you’ll need to reference right there when you want to check.
Decide on a Theme
Does your kitchen have a theme? Most people decide on a simple color scheme but sometimes rooms have specific themes that you may want to stick to or deviate from when designing your home espresso bar. You can use the same theme throughout your espresso bar and kitchen, change the entire space to suit what you’d like to do for the espresso bar, or create something different to give the coffee space its own character. Decide on this before you begin designing and purchasing items for the space and you will simplify many other decisions throughout the process.
Assess Your Equipment Needs
Your espresso machine may be the beginning of your home espresso bar but are there other pieces of equipment you’ll need in order to really make the gourmet beverages you dream of making? You want to make sure you have the room for these important parts of your espresso bar before you design anything else.
Some pieces of equipment you might want to consider including are: a drink shaker for iced drinks and making up quick whipped cream, a grinder for whole coffee beans to be fresh ground, and a steamer wand for your espresso machine or stand alone steamer for foaming milk and milk alternatives. Next, consider utensils you’ll need such as spoons, strainers, and mixing and steaming cups, measuring cups and spoons, and stirring utensils. Make space for these things at your espresso bar so they’ll always be in your reach when you need them.
Additions and Extras
You know how to pull a shot from your espresso machine and you’ve decided on the types of drinks you’d like to make as well as the equipment you’ll need to make them. Next up will be ingredients, flavor additions, garnishes, and spices that you may want to keep at the espresso bar. Some of these additions and extras have specific storage requirements such as refrigeration, cool dry space, or sealed containers.
One thing you’ll have to decide on right away is the idea to put a mini refrigeration unit at your espresso bar. If it’s close enough to the main fridge in the kitchen, this really isn’t necessary but if you decide to move your espresso bar to a different room or set it up farther away in the kitchen, it will be prudent to include refrigeration at the bar. This is a major decision and a piece of the design that will take up a lot of space so it’s important to be finite and practical when making the choice to add this feature.
Include a Cleaning Station
Adding a sink to your espresso bar might be a little bit too pricey and cumbersome, especially in regards to moving or adding plumbing to the space. However, you should include some sort of area at your home espresso bar that aids cleaning and maintenance for your espresso machine and all the other equipment you keep at the bar. Instead of having to bring things back to the kitchen sink every time you make a drink, you can begin the cleaning process at your espresso bar and that will make it easier to make multiple drinks when you’re entertaining guests.
A cleaning station is easy to create and you won’t need that much space to do it. A large wash basin, a pitcher of hot water, and some clean cloths will suffice to clean and wipe the parts that you use between drinks. Use the water to rinse parts clean over the wash basin, the basin itself to hold dirty cups and utensils, and the clean cloths to wipe off the espresso machine, steamer wand, and grinder in between uses.
After you’ve made the practical decisions, don’t forget to get creative! The designing portion creating your espresso bar at home isn’t all the espresso machine and equipment. These are the main components, of course, but use the space to make your own dream coffee area. It’ll be a place where you can escape for a few minutes and where you can entertain guests with flair. Use colors and funky furniture or hang pictures and quotes that remind you of why you love coffee and will get you ready for the coming day as you make your drinks in the morning. The espresso bar isn’t only about convenience but is also about your unique style. Make it shine with everything you are!
Many espresso lovers enjoy lattes and the luxury of making your own at home with your espresso machine is more than just a convenience. However, if you’re intolerant to milk products, this luxury doesn’t mean much for you. There are milk alternatives that you can use for your lattes but they don’t work with the steamer wand the same way that regular cow’s milk does. The chemical make-ups are different and the temperatures and textures at which they foam up are also variant from what you’re used to if you’re familiar with steaming cow’s milk. Learn about these differences and how you can steam the perfect latte components without worrying about the irritation that cow’s milk may cause for you.
Temperature and Texture
When using milk alternatives, it’s important to know that you won’t be able to get an extra hot latte or the same foaming quality as cow’s milk. You may find that the foam is a bit thinner and more difficult to steam but with the right steamer proficiency, you can build a delicious latte that satisfies your tastes. It will take some trial and error before you can get it right but don’t be discouraged! There are also several milk alternatives so try them all before you decide on using one and be aware that it probably won’t come out perfectly from the beginning.
This is one alternative that is fairly similar to cow’s milk but it does sometimes cause similar irritation. Before trying out the milk alternatives, it may be a good idea to try goat’s milk with your steamer wand and see if you can create a latte similar to the ones you love. This is one alternative that steams into the billowy cloud-like foam of the traditional latte.
Soy has been a popular alternative to many allergens for people who suffer from irritation for a long time. For this reason, there are several different brands and all of them tend to differ slightly in the way they’re made up and the way they steam in regards to temperature and how long they stay under the steamer wand. When you steam soy milk, start with the brand you already use. If you have a favorite, stick with what you know but if you’re a new soy milk user, try a couple of different brands before you steam them in a latte. Ask friends that use soy milk or turn to social media for suggestions.
Almond and Coconut Milk
These two types of milk alternative are similar in the way they’re steamed because they’re both a bit thinner than other milk alternatives. They require a lower temperature to steam and more care must be taken while the milk is under the steamer wand in order to keep it from burning. There will be a similar choice in brands as with soy milk only there are likely to be far fewer choices when it comes to almond and coconut milk. There is also the choice between the milk that comes in a box and that which comes in a refrigerated carton. The boxed version can be bought in bulk and stored in a cupboard until opened but the refrigerated version in a carton tends to have a bit of a fresher taste.
Try both versions with your steamer wand and the different brands before you decide on what you like most. Take care to steam slowly and watch your milk while it’s steaming. You’ll notice it get shinier and thicker as you go.
Sweetened or Unsweetened
Most milk alternatives come with the option of a flavor or a sweetened version. A lot of people like the unsweetened version for the reason that it has fewer carbs or that it has a more organic taste to the original flavor of the milk alternative. The sweetened or flavored versions allow the home barista to skip a step and use the steamer to mix together milk foam and flavoring all at once.
Milk alternatives will not taste the same as cow’s milk in a latte. The alternative won’t even taste the same before and after they go under the steamer wand. Trial and error is key in deciding which kind of alternative you enjoy most and which one makes the latte you love. It’s important to understand that you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional latte and not something that replaces the taste of cow’s milk in your latte. Try the different brands, sweetened and unsweetened versions, boxed and fresh and you’ll find your latte bliss eventually.
Maintaining Your Steamer Wand
The steamer wand on your espresso machine can become clogged if not properly maintained. It’s easy to prevent this from happening by “clearing” the steamer wand before and after using it. All you need to do for this process is to run the steamer for a few pumps with nothing underneath it. You’ll see clear steam come out of it or you’ll see the last bits of milk come out of it. You should also wipe the steamer wand with a clean cloth between each use. These simple actions should be enough to maintain the steamer wand so that it’s in top shape every time you want to make a latte.
The Convenience of Home
One of the greatest conveniences of owning your own espresso machine with a steamer wand is to be able to use these milk alternatives whenever you like. Many establishments that make lattes don’t have these ingredients and even if they do they often charge extra for you to order them. You’ll save some money and be able to create the latte you’ve always wanted with the milk alternative of your choice. Your favorite coffee beverage will be right where you always need it, in your kitchen and close by when you want one.