Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Create Your Own Coffee & Save Money

If you're like me, and love the specialty lattes from Starbucks, then you know how much money you can spend for a caffeine kick. This can be pretty harmful to your wallet, especially with the current state of our economy. There is a compromise, though. You can save nearly $2,000 per year (according to a research team at Seattle Coffee Gear) by making your lattes and cappuccinos at home.

Before you can be your own barrista, though, you need a few supplies. Most importantly, you'll want to get an esspresso machine. These can cost hundreds of dollars for truly upscale models. However, there are also decent ones for around $50 to $70. Amazon has some good ones here, and this site lists reviews of lots of machines. Also, look for a model that comes with a good milk frother. You'll want that for thick, foamy drinks!

Your next step is to get the espresso beans for your coffee. The kind you choose is entirely up to you, and you can even buy the Starbucks brand if you like. Try experimenting with different roasts and flavors for some variety.

Next up, if you love flavored drinks (I LOVE the skinny lattes in vanilla and caramel) you'll want to get some syrups. Lots of brands sell them, but you may have to order online as most stores don't carry them. Try the torani varities or those from DaVinci Gourmet.

Now, for the creation process. It's actually pretty simple. Prepare the espresso (4 oz. should be plenty) and add to frothed milk. Frothed milk will have foam on top. For a latte, hold back the foam with a spoon and add a little at the end (if you like it). For a cappacino, remember that its roughly half-foam and half-milk. Finally, if you're up for adding syrup, put in a serving and then mix it all up! Want an iced drink? skip all the foam and add some ice. That's all there is to it.

Looking for more info or some good recipes? Check out the Espresso Man! Also, for tons of Starbucks recipes, click here.

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