Happy National Coffee Day! Today I will be celebrating with a perfectly brewed cappuccino. How will you be celebrating?
Normally I brew my coffee at home to save money, but today I will be making a visit to Fretboard Coffee! It is my favorite place to get a cappuccino in Columbia!
It fascinates me that coffee is a common beverage for most, and yet many people do not know coffee’s true potential! Yes, you can say I’m a coffee snob. It didn’t happen over night! I was one of those, creamer with a splash of coffee, folks. Curiosity took me on a journey and fortunately, I discovered coffee's greatness. "Coffee Addict" is not the right term here. It does not do justice to my love of coffee. I adore coffee. It brings me delight and joy to every day.
My initial motivation for drinking coffee was to stay awake in class after 6am track practice. I started out with brewing coffee with my Keurig and adding way too much creamer! It was sweet cream, or pumpkin spice with a slight coffee after taste. I did get burnt out fairly quickly on all that sugar, but I couldn’t understand how people drank coffee black. It was so bitter and I couldn’t do it. Coffee definitely is an acquired taste! To this day, I believe people who brew bulk, pre-ground coffee have built up a tolerance. I don’t think they love coffee, but they appreciate the caffeine, and have gotten used to the taste. My dad is one of those people. He will heat up a pot of drip coffee in the microwave from the day before and be completely satisfied. I am not trying to be a snob about coffee, I just know quality when I taste it and I don't want you to miss out!
Nothing compares to a cup of coffee brewed from freshly ground, quality coffee beans. If you are a sucker for a large, caramel, cookie frappe, there is still hope for you! You may have to transition slowly, but once you do, you will never go back! Not only will you be blown away by flavor, but your waistline and your wallet will appreciate you too! Okay, okay, you can still spend too much money on coffee, but cutting out all that sugar is definitely a bonus! You absolutely need to experience good ole naked coffee, no sugar, no syrup! AND there's more good news! You can learn to brew your own fabulous coffee at home! I still love to go to the café to get coffee once a week, but being able to brew satisfying coffee at home really helps! We all know spending 5-8 bucks daily on coffee adds up! Let's not do the math. It's staggering!
Time for a little coffee enlightenment! The point is to appreciate coffee for what it is. Stop masking its delicious flavor. It's OK, you didn't know. Once you experience the art that is coffee, you will never try to make it be a pumpkin, a cinnamon roll, or a chocolate mint again! You may start out with a latte, because it has a lot of steamed milk in it, and you can add a flavor. I bet you wean off the syrup in no time! The key is that your barista brews the espresso correctly! Espresso is ground coffee, but it is brewed when boiling water (at just the right temperature) is forced through the coffee beans with pressure. It is not your average drip coffee. When you have espresso that is brewed well, it is heavenly. Because of the pressure in the brewing process, the espresso is fluffy and creamy. It is thick and concentrated. So when your barista makes you the perfect cup, it is smooth and tasty. It does not taste bitter at all! You may want to start out with a latte because it has more milk and will help lessen the concentration of the espresso. I myself, love a cappuccino, which is a shot of espresso with dense frothed milk. The cappuccino has less milk than a latte, so you get more of the espresso flavor and the froth makes it extra thick.
My absolute favorite place to get a cappuccino is Sump Coffee in Saint Louis Missouri. Also in Saint Louis, I Enjoy Blueprint Coffee and Rise Coffee House. In COMO (Columbia Missouri) I adore Fretboard Coffee! My Favorite chain coffee and place I always go for a good cold brew is Kaldi’s Coffee. Now that I’ve told you where to go to get a good cup of joe, I will tell you how you can brew your own at home!
Coffee is so versatile! I will not cover all the different ways to brew, but I will tell you about a few I love to use at home!
AeroPress: If you are hooked on espresso, the AeroPress is like the cheap hand brewed version of a nice $$$$ espresso machine! This process allows you to press the boiling water through your coffee with more pressure than a French press or drip coffee, although nothing compares to an actual espresso machine!!
Froth a little milk & make yourself a homemade cappuccino or latte OR enjoy the espresso solo!
Moka Pot: You can also brew espresso at home with a moka pot. There are 3 main compartments in this pot. The moka pot screws together in the center. Between the top and the bottom there is a container that holds your course ground coffee. The bottom holds water and when it boils it steams up and the vapor is forced through the grounds. The espresso collects in the top section of the moka pot. I usually add frothed milk to my espresso when I brew it in the moka pot. It takes a few minutes, so I have plenty of time to froth the milk.
French Press: Now this one, is not for the newbies. I love French press because it is thicker and stronger than drip coffee. Basically you pour in your freshly, course ground coffee, pour water over top, stir, let sit for 3 min and then push down the plunger. The plunger has a mesh metal filter on it, but it is not a paper filter like you would have with drip coffee. This makes your coffee less water, because more of the coffee “sediment” (this is how I think of it) goes in to your cup. You can drink your coffee with or without milk. I do both depending on how much time I have to froth some milk. Once you really enjoy coffee, try the French press!
Cold Brew: Cold brew blew my mind the first time I had it, and it is amazing! It is not the iced coffee you get at a fast food place where they pour drip coffee over ice. It is smooth and tasty. The time it takes to brew helps to get rid of the acidity. It is my go to, because I can brew it and keep it in the fridge for over a week. When I need to get to the gym by 5am, I grab my cold brew as I run out the door. Not only is it super fast, but drinking it on the way the gym is delightful. The flavor is so savory I can no longer be pissed about getting up at 4:45AM! There is so much to talk about when it comes to cold brew! I will cover it another time! There are multiple ways to brew it, but I use the OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker. Course grind your beans, add water, let sit in the fridge for 24 hours, and filter the cold brew through drip filter. The cold brew is super concentrated. Cut it with water or milk. Ratios vary from 1:1 to 1:4, cold brew:water. I use water & my ratio is 1:2 ratio of cold brew:water.
Drip coffee: Boring but acceptable! Just buy quality beans, and grind right before use.
You have to buy fresh beans!
Grind your beans right before you brew!
Store Your beans some place dark to keep them fresh Longer!
It is tempting to have the barista grind the whole bag, but don’t do it!
It is worth the little amount of time. The grounds lose their flavor the longer they sit, once ground.
Now go see what you've been missing!