I remember the precise moment that I fell in love with coffee. It was my birthday dinner. I don’t particularly remember which year, but that doesn’t matter in the story anyway. My dad and I were at Macaroni Grill, one of my favorite restaurants at the time, and my dad ordered a cappuccino. He asked if I wanted one, but I politely declined (this was before I liked coffee).
You see, as a side note, I grew up with my dad making coffee around the clock at home. There was morning coffee, midday coffee, afternoon coffee…you get my drift. So, it was only natural that my dad have coffee with dinner.
The waitress approached the table bearing a large ceramic cup, with this puffy white foam nearly spilling over and running down the edge. The smell was so unlike coffee at home, but had this rich aroma that filled my nostrils. My dad drank, exclaimed how wonderful it was, and asked if I wanted a taste.
Now, as any good middle schooler would, I said yes. Who turns down puffy white foam? It looked like marshmallow cream. How can that be bad? I blew, to cool off the drink; I sipped. Then I blew again; this time, I drank, a long gulp. It was unlike anything I imagined: flavorful, slightly sweet, not bitter as I had always heard coffee tasted, but full of body, and deliciousness. I quickly ordered a cappuccino the next time the waitress passed.
This is when I first fell in love with coffee. And it loved me back. I clearly remember being unable to fall asleep that night due to drinking the coffee so late in the evening.
I guess it’s safe to say that I love coffee. Not just any coffee, but good coffee. It’s not just a drink, but an experience, and, one that’s easily shared with others. Thus the explosion of coffee shops. But, it’s also safe to say that I don’t love paying an arm and a leg for good coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I like having someone make me a cup once in a while, but on the whole, I don’t want to shell out five bucks for every cup.
So, I started making espresso at home. And, suprisingly, you don’t need to saw off your arm and leg to pay for a good coffee machine. You just have to shell out around 15 to 30 bucks. That’s it. Blood doesn’t even have to be shed for that one.
You need one of these:
A stovetop espresso maker. You can get it here, at Target. You can find them online just about anywhere. They come in an array of sizes, to meet your espresso needs, and a variety of brands and prices. I suggest buying one of the more name brand ones like the link I gave you. I bought a cheap one once, and the handle melted off. It wasn’t pretty. So, go with slightly more here. After all, compared to an automatic machine, thirty bucks is nothing if you love your coffee.
And, with that, and some good ingredients, and a little know-how, you can get your skinny vanilla latte (or any flavor you desire) without shelling out 5 bucks like you would at the big chain places…
Homemade Skinny Vanilla Latte
Makes one large drink
One shot of espresso (30 mL, or 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup of lowfat to non-fat milk, it’s your choice
1/2 cup of fat free half and half
flavored creamer of your choice
Note on making your coffee buying choice: Now here’s where I get a little picky. Please buy good coffee. I suggest Illy, good Italian coffee. You can even buy it for your drip machines. Since this is your major flavor profile, you want good coffee to get the best espresso flavor possible. You can find this coffee at most specialty grocery stores. Or you can find it online.
1. Brew coffee according to the instructions for the stovetop machine. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, heat milk, half and half, and a generous shot of your flavor creamer (I usually use vanilla for a vanilla latte, but you could choose whatever flavor you desire, or even the original flavor if you want to just taste the coffee. What you’re mostly using it for here is the sweetness, creaminess, and the flavor. I’ve found that coffee syrups here just add way too much sugar and overly flavors the coffee). Use however much creamer you would normally use in your cup of coffee, as to sweeten the coffee to your tastes.
3. After milk is warm, but not boiling, add shot of espresso (or more if you like), and stir to combine. Pour into a mug.
4. Using a whisk, foam coffee. Place in the mug as pictured below. Briskly rub the handle of the whisk between the palms of your hands to foam up the coffee until you are satisfied with the results.
5. Drink, be merry. Enjoy!
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