It's Sunday, which means... Sunday Coffee! It's no secret my Sunday morning coffee ritual is my favorite. I started a "Sunday Coffee Series" to talk coffee each week with you. Today I'm going to talk about 5 Coffee Bar Must Haves (except for coffee, we know that's a given)! If you don't have a designated coffee bar you could certainly create an area in your kitchen dedicated to your morning beverage. So pour a cup and join me for some java. Here we go...
You may remember a while back I made this Ana White inspired Coffee Bar. I can honestly say it's the most used piece of furniture in my house. I use it everyday (sometimes multiple times a day). Having all of my coffee "stuff" in one location really encouraged me to make my coffee at home to save money. I also love that I really truly do get the "fancy coffee shop" feel without having to put on actual real pants. So after several months, here are my "must haves" to get the real barista experience at home!
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1. A Milk frother
If you take nothing else away from this list, let it be a milk brother. It will change the way you drink coffee forever. It will take your run of the mill drip coffee and turn it into a luxurious experience. I have the Nespresso Aeroccino frother and I love it. It does both hot foam and cold foam which is really cool. It is on the more expensive side, but a lot of Nespresso models come with it. If you dont have a big fancy coffee machine, you should still consider a frother, it really is the thing that puts the coffee into the "luxury" camp. If you don't want to spring for the Nespresso model, there are plenty of fairly inexpensive frothers on the market. I would reccomend picking one that heats the milk as opposed to just adding air. The warm froth hitting the coffee keeps everything at the right temprature. I promise, once you experience it, you will never go back!
2. Flavor syrups
One of the best parts about going to a coffee shop is to get whatever their seasonally flavored beverage (I'm looking at you PSL). You can actually get the exact same flavors at home with a good quality flavored syrup. There are a lot of good ones on the market, my personal favorite is the Monin brand syrups. I find they don't have that "fake sugar" taste if that makes sense. Torrani is also popular and Starbucks is known for using Fontana. What I would reccomend is going to your favorite coffee shop and noting the brand that they use. You can then look online and probably find the exact same syrup! I also recommend going to HomeGoods and going to the prepared foods, they usually have a whole shelf of flavored syrups for as low as $4! Just like a real coffee shop I have some standards that I always have on hand (salted caramel and vanilla) but I also rotate out one as my own "seasonal" flavor (I love Monin's Pumpkin Spice and White Chocolate). You can even mix and match, for example I love mixing the mocha and peppermint. As a bonus, the Monin syrups are great in other beverages as well (for example they have a lavender that is awesome in lemondade). I usually have 4-5 bottles at a time of various flavors. I display them in a little table top wine rack on top of my coffee bar, but you can actually get a holder like they have at a shoppe. It takes a while to find your favorites, but if you're looking for coffee shop quality at home, get yourself some syrups.
3. Double walled cappuccino or latte mugs
If you are making beautiful cappuccinos and lattes at home, an appropriately sized mug to serve it in is a must. A double walled glass mug is perfect for a latte. That's not to say it doesn't taste just as delicious in your Rae Dunn mug, or your Law School Class of 99 mug, but once in a while it's nice to slow down and put the beverage in the right vessel. I also think its nice to have actual cappuccino cups. Just like wine being in the correctly shaped glass, coffee being in the proper cup will enhance the flavor and experience. You don't need a whole set, just one or two to use for days when you really need to savor your cuppa (like you know...Sundays!).
4. To-go Cups
I use my Yeti on most days to bring my coffee to work, but it's always nice to have a few high quality to-go cups if I'm on the run or have friends in town and want to make them coffee to go. I usually do a bulk order and they last for a very long time. You can get them in the grocery store, but I rarely find 20 oz cups (the largest I have seen is 16 oz) and they are usually made of styrofoam. I like to order paper cups so I don't feel like I'm being completely awful to the environment (again, most days I use my Yeti). If you really want to give yourself the coffee shop treatment, you can use a sharpie to write your name on your to-go cup. Sometimes I do this and just chuckle to myself (huge dork) but for some reason it adds to experience. I love these cups. They are sturdy and come with lids and sleeves.
5. good iced cube trays
Iced Coffee season is about to be upon us. You want to keep your coffee as chilled as possible, which means fitting as many iced cubes in the cup as possible. I reccomend a cylander shaped cube on the smaller side. I also love to have fun with different shaped cubes. Does anyone see them but me? No, but I still love it! I'm sure you already know this trick, but take some leftover coffee, and fill the cube trays with that and then freeze. Use those in your iced coffee or cold brew! No more watered down coffee! If you're really serious about ice, you can upgrade to an ice maker (we did) but I recognize that's not really practical for everyone. Honestly though, we love ours and use it all summer.
I hope that gave you some ideas to elevate your coffee bar and create an at home coffee shop. Even if you don't have an actual coffee bar, devoting a little corner of your kitchen or dining room (or even bedroom) to morning coffee will really make your mornings more efficient but also allow you to get the same quality you would at a shop for a much more affordable price. I'd love to hear any "must haves" that you have at your coffee bar!