The Art of Fine Coffee

“He was my cream, and I was his coffee – And when you poured us together, it was something.”
– Josephine Baker

A list of coffee awesomeness

Steep & Brew

If you thirst for flavored coffee beyond the realm of hazelnut and french vanilla, you must try this brand.  Roasted from only the highest quality beans – the top 2 or 1 percent – they boast 25 delectable varieties including my faves Irish Whiskey & Cream, Highlander Grog, and Amaretto French Roast.  Select seaonsal roasts are available for when your in the mood for let’s say, Chestnuts by the Fire or Dark Chocolate Mint, and summer absolutely calls for Basket of Berries.  The aroma alone is happiness inducing.

Click about their site and you’ll also discover the unusual – orange cappucinno – and twists on some old standbys like Icing on the Cake (cinnamony-cakey delight) and Chocolate Nirvana (cocoa and spices, oh my!).  Another great thing about Steep & Brew? Shipping is $5, no matter how much you order.  And even without reasonable shipping, their coffee is a steal! A 12oz bag runs on average $6.50.  How’s that for frugal java?

For those loving the organic fair-trade coffee and chemical free decaf, you’ll find plenty of options too.  And if you think flavoring is a perversion in coffee, make sure to peruse their signature roasts and dark roasts.

Live in the Midwest?  Make sure you search their store locator!

Nespresso Aeroccino

Milk like whipped cream, frothed to perfection?  It is possible without a) an espresso machine and b) steam.  Push button, wait 50 seconds for the cold milk to both warm and froth, and voila!  Use it for lattes, cappucinnos, hot chocolate – the list is endless.  Best off all, the Aerocinno plugs into an outlet (so you don’t have to stand there and froth!), is simp to clean, and works like a charm for around $100. If you’re thinking “eek” about the price, keep reading.  It’s not a coffee accessory you want, believe me, it’s one you need.  Steamers fail, handheld wand frothers break, and stovetop ones are just a pain.  I can attest through experience, you’re better off just shelling out the dough in the beginning.

Interested? Watch the cheesiest promo for the Aeroccino. Not sure what they were thinking with the jazz and throaty vocals but hey, it’ll make you laugh about being gourmet!

Espresso Machine or French Press

My husband and I travel with our espresso machine, no joke.  It’s an addiction and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Well, maybe the world, but who’s offering anyway?

My number one advice with the espresso machine: one can always start small.  Our first machine was somewhere around $200 and we’ve upgraded from there based on our ever-pressing need for thicker crema.  But if you’re holding your guns to drip coffee, consider the French Press.  It’s portable – great for the office when everybody else is drinking burnt morning brew in the afternoon.  And since it captures coffee’s essential oils and depth of flavor, the French Press delivers a stronger, thicker coffee than the drip.

Organic Milk & Agave Nectar

Organic milk tastes richer, froths better, and well, it’s organic.  A must have for superior taste and natural sweetness.  As for Agave Nectar, the only reason this is worth mentioning is that processed white cane sugar not only has all the nutrients stripped from it, it also slightly alters the flavor.  While inessential to most American style coffee drinkers, agave nectar or demerara sugar (brown) will lend a subtle sweetness to espresso without disturbing the rich balance of acidic and bitter flavors.  Try it for a few days.  I’d wager you won’t go back to processed sugar.

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