Thursday, April 6, 2017

Better than Starbucks: Guide to At Home Coffee

Today, I'm talking one of my favorite subjects: coffee.

Some might say that I have a problem. There is an entire section of my kitchen counter devoted to our coffee. The coffee love is strong and true in my world. I have co-workers, past and present, that don't talk to me before coffee. I'm not mean, just not very smart. Or not as smart. Either way, I'm better with coffee. I just love it.

Zinn Coffee Bar!
The past two years have been a journey in finding coffees I could make myself. I used to have Starbucks and coffee shops all around me when I lived in Cary. Then I moved. I moved jobs and neighborhoods. Now the closest Starbucks is ten minutes from my house in the opposite direction of my office. While it's great for my bank account,that just doesn't work for me. So I found my own.

Today, I'm sharing with you my favorite make at home (or desk) coffees.  I'll even tell you the various coffee machines I use! True story - I have three coffee machines between my house and my office. I've got cold, hot, espresso, bottled, keurig and regular old joe for you on this list! Let's get to it!

1. Bottled Iced Coffee - Califia Iced Coffee
Bottled iced coffee has been a long experiment in my world. I love iced coffee more than any other coffee. The obsession first started with International Delight's Iced Coffee.  It was one of the first bottled iced coffees to be sold in grocery stores (at least near me). Then I found Starbucks' bottled iced coffee. It was better than the International Delight and it sufficed for my coffee needs. I drank it for years. The Skinny Caramel Macchiato and Peppermint Mocha were my favorite.  Then came Whole 30 and messed up my whole coffee and milk drinking world.

And I found Califia. It's carrageenan, soy and lactose free. It's 80 calories a cup. And it's amazing.

First it was the XX Espresso, which is one of my favorites. Then we discovered the Salted Caramel, which I've only found at Target! It's made with almond milk instead of cow milk. Aaron even drinks it now, so we buy 3 bottles a week. Pretty sure I help keep them in business!

2. Homemade Lattes (Iced and Regular)
I am not a fan of plain coffee. I like it strong (think espresso) and I like it sweet. When we got married, we registered for an espresso machine. It's not the most convenient thing in the world (it makes one cup at a time), but it has gotten the job done for over 3 years!

Found at Bed Bath and Beyond
It's only $200, a bargain compared to other espresso machines, and does milk frothing and makes espresso, cappuccinos and lattes. Win!

Here's my favorite recipe for a latte at home:

  • Double shot of Espresso (I use Starbucks)
  • 1 pump of Torani Sugar Free Raspberry Syrup
  • 1 pump of Torani Sugar Free White Chocolate Syrup
  • 1/2 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Ice cubes
Brew a double shot of espresso directly into glass.
Add the pumps of syrup into the espresso.
Add milk to fill glass half way (using a 12-oz glass)
Fill the rest of the way with ice.

  • Double shot of espresso
  • 1 pump of Torani Sugar Free Peppermint Syrup
  • 2 pumps of Torani Sugar Free White Chocolate Syrup
  • 1/2 cup of milk (cow milk froths better than almond milk)
Brew a double shot of espresso.
If you are using a two in one (frother and espresso), fill the milk up as much as you want (I do about a 1/2 cup). The machine will add the milk and froth once the espresso brews.  If you are doing your milk yourself, then froth the milk and then add to the cup. 
Add the pumps of syrup and stir. 

3. Keurig Lattes
In case you haven't figured it out, I like special coffees. Lattes to be specific. When I started my current job, the lack of coffee near me was not conducive to my productivity. So I bought myself a single serve coffee machine that does regular coffee and K-cups. 
Bella Double Brew
My favorite K-cups were Donut Shop Iced Coffee. I haven't found them in a while, I guess it's a seasonal product? I've since found two varieties that taste like a fancy latte while never leaving my office: Starbucks Mocha Caffe Latte and Gevalia Caramel Macchiato.  They both have milk packets that you dump in the cup first and then the pod that you brew. 

4. Regular Joe
Aaron still drinks regular coffee. When we registered for our Mr. Coffee Espresso machine, he laughed at me for keeping our regular coffee machine. Yet he still uses it. I normally buy him whatever coffee is on sale, mostly sticking to Dunkin Donuts, Seattle's Best and Folgers brands. We normally add sugar and milk, but I've recently found a flavor that almost needs nothing: Folgers Mocha Swirl. So good!

What are some of your favorite at-home coffee drinks?

1 comment:

  1. I love your coffee bar! I need to learn how to make better coffee at home. I mostly drink decaf, which is strange I know, but I don't love it plain! I'm better since I going out for coffee now requires packing up a toddler rather than walking down the block from the office, but we still make plenty of time for little treats around here!