I have come to find lattes and other fancy pants café drinks to be a quick form of "me time." Whereas I tend to suck down my morning cup of coffee as a means to an end (and, on days when I'm going for a run after breakfast, I'm not just talking about quick energy ifyouknowwhatImean...), the frothy milk of a latte seems to demand that I actually notice it and enjoy it. I have taken a quick, inexpensive, healthy-as-I-desire frothy drink to the grocery store and shopped at a leisurely pace (hey, sometimes that's the only time away from kids I can get all week!).
I can't afford to purchase these drinks on even a remotely regular basis, and I can't afford (in money or in counter space) an espresso maker or milk steamer.
Here's the hardware I do own:
- coffee maker
- moka - this produces a flavor more like espresso than coffee, but I don't use it often even for my "fancy" drinks, because I prefer the ease and often the flavor of the coffee maker.
- milk frother - it's not steamed, but it's still nice and frothy
- French press - The Beast loves coffee from a French press. I never use it.
It's difficult to make anything akin to a cappuccino with these tools, since the frother doesn't get milk as velvety as a steam wand would. But everything else at your neighborhood coffee shop is really quite do-able!
I usually make a cheap and quick latte - coffee with frothed milk.
You can also add syrups (Torani and Monin are popular brands) for flavor - I've long had some syrups on my wish list, as I for some reason don't have the fortitude buy them for myself!
I have also made myself chai tea with frothed milk and lots of honey. And I recently discovered Firefly Chai from Mountain Rose Herbs for a decaf option later in the day. I have plans to make more traditional chai sometime soon - which means actually simmering milk with the tea and spice mixture, instead of steeping it in hot water and then adding milk. Less water more flavor? I expect yum.
I'll end with a quick recipe for a Frappucino-ish drink. It's all liquid and no ice, like the Frappucino drinks you'd get in a bottle at the grocery store. I have been contemplating freezing this mixture in ice cube trays and then blending it up to make a real frappe (if you try this, let me know how it turns out). This could be made with syrup instead of sugar and cocoa powder, or to make different flavors - I just used what I have on hand. It disappears pretty quickly!
- Make 3 cups of strong coffee (I use 1/2 cup beans and 3 cups water)
- Pour into a lidded vessel (I use an empty screw-top orange juice jug - even though, yeah, it's probably laced with BPA)
-add 3 cups of milk
- 3TBSP sugar and 2TBSP cocoa powder
Shake shake shake.
Shake shake shake.
Image Credit: thepinkpeppercorn on flicker