Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coffee break!

Friday I mentioned that I'd share how to make a perfect espresso and some twists on the traditional cappuccino. I know I'm late on this but maybe you'll be able to start your Monday morning with a great cup of coffee.

Warning- we take our coffee very seriously! What can I say, we love coffee.

The key to a good coffee is a good espresso and the key to a good espresso is (1) fresh coffee beans, (2) the right ground, and (3) the right amount of tamping pressure.

Coffee 1: Espresso
Espresso means rapid in Italian, it's a coffee you drink on the fly!

I have to be honest, I never opt for this but Tony loves a shot of espresso in the middle of the day.

The espresso is the basis for all the coffees to follow.

Instructions for espresso machine:
1. Fill your machine’s water reservoir with cold water. Bottled water is recommended if your tap water is very hard.
2. For each cup of espresso, measure one generous teaspoon of ground coffee. Grind your beans to a fine-grind. If you coffee comes out to watery, your ground is likely too thick. If the extraction takes too long, the ground might be too fine.
3. Place the coffee in the filter and firmly tamp the coffee. It should be evenly distributed and compact.
4. Brew for 20-25 seconds. A properly prepared espresso will fill half the espresso cup and will have caramel-colored crema covering the top.

Check out this video to help you recognize the perfect espresso.

*** If you are using a stove top (moka pot) espresso maker you'll need to have your coffee ground finer than for an espresso machine. Also, you do not tamp the coffee.

***After about one week of being exposed to air, the taste of coffee beans will change. If you purchase large quantities of coffee beans, try to store them in vacuum packed bags or containers.

Here's Tony makings our Saturday morning coffee. He's tamping the coffee.
Your espresso should have a top layer of crema.
Coffee 2: Cappuccino
1. Make a perfect espresso
2. Froth some milk and pour into the espresso (about 1/3 espresso 2/3 milk)
Frothing the milk
Sprinkle some yummy coco powder and enjoy!

Coffee 3: Nutella-cino
Add a teaspoon of Nutella to the cup before you make the espresso. The hot espresso will melt the Nutella and then add your warm milk. It's delicious!



Coffee 4: Whippet Surprise
Currently my favorite morning (and afternoon, and evening) coffee.
Make a cappuccino and drop in a whippet. My fav is the 70% chocolate whippets but they all work well. The beauty of this is that the chocolate and marshmallow begin to melt into the coffee. At the end scoop up the remaining whippet with a spoon.

Sooooooooo goooooood!

Coffee 5: Summer Time Cap
Scoop one very generous table spoon of vanilla frozen yogurt in a large coffee mug and then pour your espresso shot on top. Allow the frozen yogurt to melt and then add cold milk. It should be 1/3 frozen yogurt, 1/3 espresso, and 1/3 milk.  My favorite is Chapman's Madagascar Vanilla Bean frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with coco powder.

Perfect on a hot summer day

Enjoy your coffee!

Let me know if you try any of these. 


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  1. Nutella? I've gotta try that! YUM! :)

  2. In the winter, from Thanksgiving to New Year's, I like put spices in the coffee basket: cardamon, cinnamon, vanilla, or allspice, or pumpkin pie spice. Good illustrations of the expresso. I've been drinking coffee since I was about 5 years old, smile.

  3. Yes, tried it. And fell in love. Now I am singing "are you gonna be my girl" by Jet. :D

    call Bangladesh

  4. OMG I am totally doing the Nutella-cino!!! I LOVE a good coffee (The Hubs actually runs a small coffee business here in Ottawa)'ve got to try a shot of espresso over vanilla ice cream....DELISH!


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