Maple syrup is always a staple ingredient in my kitchen. I use it to top pancakes and waffles, but I also use it for other things, like making Maple Lattes. Maple syrup is a great sweetener for coffee drinks because it is very easy to incorporate into both hot and cold drinks, and the caramel notes that you get in maple syrup are also often found in coffee. This maple latte starts with espresso and maple syrup, is topped with hot milk and finished with a maple-kissed whipped cream that is good enough to eat on its own. If you don’t have espresso, you can use strong coffee and simply increase the ratio of coffee to milk to balance out the flavors a bit.
Different grades of maple syrup have different maple flavors. Lighter colored syrups, typically called Grade A or Light Amber, have a milder maple flavor than darker colored syrups, called Grade B or Medium/Dark Amber. You can use any type of maple syrup to make this drink, but you’ll get the best maple flavor with a darker colored syrup. I used Grade B for both the whipped cream and the latte. After adding your syrup, taste the coffee to ensure that it is as sweet as you want it to be, and if it needs a little extra maple flavor, just add in a little extra maple syrup.
Starbucks makes it very easy to find their stores, with store locators available on their website and on their app. Independent coffee shops can be harder to find because you actually have to go looking for them. Now, it doesn’t sound like it would be that difficult to locate a coffee shop – but when you want to make sure you find a good one and you are on your way to work, all that wandering around puts it out of the question. If you happen to be in London, you might want to save this map (click map to enlarge) to your phone now because it shows you where some of the best coffee shops in the city are and gives their proximity to the nearest tube station. Now if only we can get a few more of these together for other major cities!
The “Coffee Stops” map is a hobby project of Chris Ward and it is being sold as a limited release print to benefit charity. The small version might not be pretty enough to hang on your wall, but it is enough to direct you to one of the cafes included on it. And keep in mind that you can always start your own wall-sized map at home, then save a picture to your phone for easy reference when you’re out and about.
The “new items” shelf in Trader Joe’s is always where I start when I want to find new products there. Granted, the items in the frozen or refrigerated sections aren’t going to hold up at room temperature, but I always see things that I might otherwise overlook – like a new tea offering. Trader Joe’s Spiced Chai is a colorful new tea that I picked up on my last Trader Joe’s run. The bright box caught my eye, but the list of spices on the back reeled me in.
The tea is flavored with cinnamon, ginger, cloves cardamom, Chinese star anise, black pepper, nutmeg chicory and vanilla bean. With all those spices, you would expect it to be complex – and this tea definitely delivers on that. You get a hint of every spice, with some lingering notes from the cloves and anise, as well as a slightly creamy flavor from the vanilla. It’s not aggressively spicy, like some chai teas are, and can be enjoyed either plain or with sweeteners added. I particularly like it with honey, which brings out some of the sweetness in the cinnamon and ginger a bit more.
Coffee made with the pour-over technique consistently produces brighter, more flavorful coffee than you can get from a regular drip coffee machine. The technique isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, however, and you need to be patient while preparing a cup and you can only brew one cup at a time. It’s great when you have a few minutes to spare, but there are times when you just need to be a little bit more efficient – like those times when you are trying to prepare coffee or two or three guests at once.
Bodum b.Over Coffee Brewer is a stylish new coffee maker from Bodum that is designed to deliver high quality, pour-over coffee in quantities up to 40-oz. The coffee maker automates the pour-over process using a unique shower-head design that evenly distributes hot water over the grounds in the filter portion of the machine. The coffee brews and drips down into a vacuum-sealed, vacuum-sealed, double-walled carafe that will keep your flavorful coffee hot and aromatic for hours without requiring any reheating. For me, being able to brew great coffee in larger quantities is a huge time saver for days when I’m rushing around from project to project.