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Frothy coffee

I had some deep thoughts to discuss today, but decided to hold off on those and instead touch on a very, very important issue: my morning coffee.

See the picture above?  This is a Kaldi's Macchiato (photo by Ms. Erica Shubin).  When I'm in Ethiopia, I drink these two at a time.  They are amazing.  I know Starbucks and Dunkin and others claim to serve macchiatos, but I'm sorry, friends.  There is only one.  It is unparalleled in flavor, rich and smooth, with just the right amount of froth and sweetness. Ah-maaaaazzzzzing.

But let me back up.  See, my issues really began quite a long time ago.  I could blame my mom, who was the first to introduce me to coffee.  As a six year old, she was serving me cream and sugar with a bit of coffee to get me out of bed in the mornings (I'm not sure why, something about me being a bit grumpy when I'm sleepy in the mornings.)  From elementary school forward, I've always had a cup of coffee in the morning.  

Or I could blame my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who were the first to introduce me to Starbucks coffee years ago when we lived with them for the summer.  At a time when Joe and I were broke and in seminary, we survived on ramen and hot dogs to make room in our monthly budget for Starbucks coffee.  Once we'd had it, we could never go back to Folgers.

[Thanks to Mom] I'd always had my coffee with Coffeemate and sugar.  But when I went on Weight Watchers after Danielle was born, I was told to cut my calories.  So I switched from sugar to splenda.  This was not easy to do, and it took me 3 weeks to get used to the taste before I finally enjoyed my coffee again.  But I endured through the transition, and for years I enjoyed my coffee this way.  In ignorant bliss.

(Are you still reading this?  You must not have much to do today. : ))

Then, my health-nut, all-natural, fitnessy-guru friend told me I should not have spenda OR coffemate because they are artificial and loaded with corn syrup and could cause cancer and my body thinks it's sugar anyway so I'm probably gaining weight from it while I'm slowly killing myself and yada yada yada.

So, in a effort to again make a healthy choice, I decided to change my coffee routine.  I ditched the coffeemate and began using half and half.  And I switched to stevia.  

Blech.  Yuck.

It tasted bitter and the half and half was too rich and I just wasn't happy.  And, frankly, not much has changed since Mom had to rouse me as a sleepy six year old---it can make for some pretty grouchy mornings around here. Me no yummy coffee=me no happy.

So for the sake of family harmony and my own sanity, I began experimenting with my coffee.  The goal: come as close to a Kaldi's macchiato as I can, without the sugar.  I won't bore you with the many combinations of coffee types, ways I brewed it, different types of milk-- from regular to coconut to almond to soy-- etc, etc.  It's been weeks of alot of trial and error, but the good news is--I think I finally have a cup of coffee that I enjoy in the morning that won't kill me prematurely.

Joe calls it frothy coffee.  I know, clever.  I think for years it's been called a latte or cappuccino, but [probably because of his military background] Joe has a need to rename things that have perfectly good names with his own special names.  And somehow, they always stick.  So without further's Frothy Coffee.

I start with Starbucks espresso coffee.  (The exception would be if I had Kaldi's espresso coffee, but I'm out and planning to fill a suitcase next time I go to Ethiopia.) I do like to use the french press, but since it's usually just me, the Keurig is easy and quick.  I use a reusable filter and use the lowest amount of water setting.

Now this is the fun part.  THIS is the key to frothy coffee.  You need a frother.  This one I found at Target for $29.99.  (Trust me, this one works and is cheap and I've tried many of them.  Thank goodness for Target's return policy.  In fact, Josh said maybe if I spent as much on his clothing as I did on coffee accessories he wouldn't have to wear the same pair of shorts to school every day.  I told him in my best soup nazi voice--no frothy coffee for you!!)

Now, you can use whatever kind of milk you like.  But I will warn you--almond milk and coconut milk do not froth as well.  If you use regular milk, they say one with less fat froths better, but I can't say I found that to be true.  I have settled on vanilla soy milk, which does have some sugar in it, but not much and it's just sweet enough for me.  Plus, you really only use about 1/4 cup of milk in each cup of coffee, so a little goes a long way. (Oh and if you get this frother, use the cappuccino attachment, not the latte one--you get tons of froth that way.)  It takes about 3 minutes to froth, so if you start it first, then brew your coffee, they're both ready at about the same time!

And because I do like it sweet, I add 1/2 packet of stevia to the hot coffee before I pour in the milk.  (What can I say, Mom ruined me.)  I don't know if I'll ever be able to get the coffee to have the same consistency as Kaldi's.  But I stir as I pour in the hot milk and froth, trying to froth up my coffee a bit.  Then I put the rest of the froth on top.

(By the way, I did this with decaf chai tea last night instead of coffee---YUM!!!  New nighttime fave! Oh and the kids can use this frother for some pretty yummy hot chocolate!)

And there you have it.  Frothy coffee.

I'm sorry to go on and on.  But hey, if I've saved even one life today, it was worth it.

Bottom's up! : )



findingmagnolia said...

I am about to make my second vat of coffee for the day, so this post resonates with me. :)

I am an all natural eater and recently discovered food sensitivities are responsible for my adult acne. I cannot do soy milk or regular milk (I'm sensitive to most dairy, grains, and legumes), and coconut milk leaves a film on my teeth. But do you know what I can do? Full on heavy whipping cream. I KNOW. It's so delicious. Don't try it or you'll never go back from that. Everything else will taste like water.

I have also started using palm sugar (sometimes called coconut sugar) as a sweetener in everything and absolutely love it in my coffee. With the heavy whipping cream, of course. :)

(I'm not sure I've ever commented on your blog before, but I'm a regular reader, and I'm also one of the people who took photos of Abby when she was at the HOH. So hi!)