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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
As the weather becomes more brutally cold, we all think about purchasing as many groceries as we can in bulk, including coffee, as a means of avoiding frenzied trips to the store through snow and ice. When you get everything home, you’ll wonder which items should be stored where in order to keep them as fresh as possible for use whenever you need them. Coffee beans used in your espresso machine can go bad whether they’re whole or pre-ground so it’s important that you store them properly. When you do, you’ll be able to enjoy a hot, fresh cup of espresso in your home while you watch the snow fall through the window.
Whole Beans vs. Pre-Ground
Storing coffee beans is a lot easier when you purchase them whole instead of already ground up. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy pre-ground beans at all. If you’ll be using the grounds right away, pre-ground coffee can save some time and some coffee shops will even grind up a bag of whole bean coffee right there in the store for you. There is an argument among espresso enthusiasts that flavor is affected by the choice to use pre-ground beans but in the end that’s all a matter of personal preference. The bottom line is that long-term storage works better if your beans are whole instead of pre-ground.
Keep Your Beans Dry
Once you get your beans home, it’s important to decide which ones will be used quickly and which will go into storage for some time. It may be a compelling choice to simply toss sealed bags into the freezer but this could end up destroying the integrity of the beans and their flavor after they’re put through your espresso machine. Unpack the beans and put them into an airtight container that is completely void of moisture. This factor will keep the beans fresh because even in the freezer, moisture can compromise your beans. When even small droplets of moisture freeze in the container, they’ll melt as the beans unfreeze later and that can cause mold or other bacteria to form.
Another option is to use a vacuum sealing food storage machine. This is the best way to store any food in the freezer and coffee beans are no different. Lay them in a flat layer on the material and then use the machine to pack them with a vacuum seal. When you’re ready to use them, defrost one packed layer at a time for grinding.
Invest in a Premium Grinder
If you’re going to be freezing or storing whole beans long term, you’ll need a grinder that does more than chop up the beans into different sized particles. An espresso machine needs finely ground beans that pack together tightly into the brew basket in order to get the bold flavor associated with gourmet level espresso. The coffee you try so hard to keep fresh is likely to suffer some diminished quality if you don’t use a good grinder.
The main difference when it comes to purchasing a new grinder is between the burr grinder and the blade grinder. The blade variety will chop up the whole beans into tiny pieces of inconsistent sizes while the burr variety will grind the beans between two surfaces into more uniform particles. The blade tends to cost less and is easy to operate and clean and the burr grinder lasts longer and performs better even though it costs more and can be more difficult to clean. The choice is once again a matter of preference but espresso machine lovers will always tell you to choose the burr grinder.
The winter is the perfect time to brew up a drink with your espresso machine that comforts and soothes using your favorite flavors. Sometimes you’ll use spices, other times syrups, and in some cases you’ll use both. If you’re purchasing any of these things in bulk, the simple answer to storage is to look at the instructions on the packages. Different brands and ingredients have varying storage requirements. Generally speaking, they should be put in a clean and dry place that will not incur much heat or cold above that of room temperature. It’s a good idea to check on those ingredients you don’t use as often on a regular basis to ensure they’re not clumping, crystallizing, or otherwise going bad.
Milk and Creamer
One of the best ways to enjoy your espresso machine is by making lattes using steamed milk but milk is not something you can purchase in bulk to be stored. There are some alternatives that can be substituted and will still give you an excellent latte. Almond milk and coconut milk are sold in boxes that can be stored for far longer than cow’s milk or goat’s milk. You’ll have to refrigerate each box after it’s opened but you can still purchase several boxes at once to be stored in the cupboard or pantry for use when you need them. As with any ingredient, refer to the package for expiration dates and storage instructions.
The other alternative is powdered creamer. This can’t really be used in the construction of lattes but it will serve as a flavoring and lightener for any kind of espresso drink. The advantage is that powdered creamers last a very long time and have minimal maintenance requirements in storage.
Warm Your Mood
A gourmet beverage from your espresso machine will warm more than your hands and your mood. The aroma and feeling you get from the familiar and delicious concoctions you love can warm the moods of everyone you serve in your home. Use these guidelines to store coffee beans and you’ll always have fresh espresso to create the beverages that make winter feel good again. Watch the bitter cold melt away from the comfort of your kitchen and never worry about having to go without a hot cup of gourmet espresso no matter how much snow is on the ground.
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!
Coffee with breakfast is a given for any enthusiast but there are also many kinds of recipes that use the products from your espresso machine baked right in to the foods you love. You can use espresso, lattes, and used grounds to create healthy breakfast alternatives that are easy to grab and go when you don’t have time in the morning for more. Learn how to utilize your machine in ways you never imagined and never again go without your espresso or breakfast because you think you don’t have time.
You can use your espresso machine to make ingredients that work with nearly any kind of baked good but if the original recipe doesn’t call for it, you’ll have to remember that you’re adding extra liquid or extra dry ingredients and compensate accordingly. It all comes down to basic chemistry. Adding extra liquid makes a batter runny and adding extra powdery ingredient or wet used grounds will also change the consistency of both the batter and the finished product.
Don’t let this extra work stop you from making the attempt at new and wonderful baked goods. Try out recipes that call for “espresso powder” or brewed espresso to see how it all goes together before you try to make your own. After that, the process will require some trial and error. Let that part be fun! You may find that a brand new mix that is better than any recipe out there.
Before you start any kind of trial and error process, fire up your espresso machine and do some recipe research. First, look for recipes you know you can follow, things you already understand how to make. You don’t have to stick to baked goods and can try other things like smoothies and breakfast beverages that are enhanced by espresso. When you have that down, go for more challenging recipes or try altering the ones you’ve already perfected.
Ask friends for help or for recipes that they’ve also tried and perfected. Look at social media and blogs in your recipe search or on websites that cater to high-end espresso machine users. Cafes and chains sometimes have recipes available and don’t underestimate the power of a general search. When searching for recipes online, be sure to look through the comments as well for alterations to the recipes that others have tried. Most recipe sites have sections where people who have made the recipe before have advice for others that plan to try it as well. Use those tips to make your own alterations.
We all know that coffee and chocolate are a beautiful combination but there are other flavors that also work well when adding espresso or coffee to your breakfast recipes. This is where a grinder comes in most handy. A burr grinder is best because it grinds particles into uniform pieces but when you’re cooking with coffee grounds instead of brewing them in the espresso machine this isn’t always a necessary consideration. A burr grinder is also excellent for ensuring the shots you pull from your espresso machine are super concentrated and flavorful, which makes them perfect for adding to recipes. You can grind dried fruit, spices, and other flavors in with coffee grounds to create more dimension to the espresso in your recipes. This will not only enhance flavor but may also provide opportunity for healthy additions.
Make it Healthy
Especially at this time of year, we’re all trying some new diet or meal plan that’s supposed to add nutrition to our food. What better way for that idea to be employed than baking it into breakfast foods or adding to smoothies? Ingredients like chia seeds, chopped and/or ground almonds, hemp seeds, and other ancient grains will enhance the flavor and nutrients of your recipes and they’ll combine nicely in the grinder with coffee beans.
The used coffee grounds from your espresso machine make an excellent ingredient in many baked goods that will still retain caffeine content. From cupcakes to iced cream, glazes and sauces, you can recycle already used grounds to create culinary masterpieces that stun guests and give you treats, snacks, and breakfast options to take on the go. You can even make homemade coffee ice cream that tastes great added to other espresso drinks and smoothies.
Night Before Prep
Enjoying a shot from your espresso machine in the morning means you have to brew it when you wake up. Unless you want your shots cold, they won’t taste the same unless they’re fresh and you know that. When you bake things the night before or put together the ingredients for a smoothie to be blended, you can cut your morning prep time by several minutes. You can have extra time to get ready, leave for work on time or a little early, and make sure you have everything you need before you go.
You won’t have to worry about a frenzy to get things together because you’ll have one last thing to remember. Simply grab the treat you prepared the night before and you’re all ready. You can also prepare a large batch and store the portions to be used all week. This saves time and, in the long run, money. Find out what you can buy in bulk and how to store prepared recipes in the freezer.
Espresso and Breakfast
After all is said and done, there are many different ways to prepare espresso and use your espresso machine that you have yet to realize. Give yourself time to explore every function and try out new things so that you can get the most of your machine and the most of your breakfast. Feel good and be energized all day long when you include espresso as a staple in the food you cook every morning.
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.
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.
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!