Jan 19, 2015

TopBrewer: Form and Function for Coffee Lovers

TopBrewer

I have more than one coffee maker in my kitchen. To keep the clutter down, I try to limit the number of coffee-making devices that are on my countertop at any given time to two or three. If I could – or, I should say, when I can – redesign my kitchen, I would love to be able to incorporate a TopBrewer into the design. The gleaming stainless steel tap looks as though it might dispense filtered water, but it actually is designed to brew perfect coffee on demand while taking up at least 90% less counterspace than any other coffee making option.

The TopBrewer from Scanomat is operated with the touch of a button using your snartphone or tablet, via an app that contains a menu of all the drinks that it can produce. These include espresso, coffee, macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos. In addition to caffeinated beverages, you can also get warm or cold milk and hot water from the tap. Milk is dispensed via a milk foamer – the smallest milk foamer in the world – that is incorporated into the design. Located at the very tip of the coffee tap, it heats and foams milk to the perfect temperature and cleans itself after use.

It takes the TopBrewer about 25 seconds to pull a shot of espresso and just 15 seconds to brew coffee. As you might imagine, there is some behind-the-scenes installation that needs to take place. It requires refrigeration for milk and space for both a grinder and fresh beans underneath the counter where the tap sits. There also needs to be a drain in the counter to catch any small drips. There are standalone units available that would be easy to incorporate in commercial settings, but for residential use it really seems best to do your installation while you renovate. The downside is that the unit costs around $8,000 (while my french press costs considerably less), but if you bargain hunt for some of your other kitchen fixtures, you can probably find some wiggle room to fit it in.

Jan 15, 2015

Dulce de Leche Latte

Dulce De Leche Latte

When I have dulce de leche in the kitchen, it’s difficult for me to resist it. I’ll eat it by the spoonful, in addition to incorporating it into baked goods, but there are actually many different uses for it. One way that I’ve been enjoying dulce de leche lately is in homemade Dulce de Leche Lattes. These rich, caramel-flavored lattes are a great way to use up a jar of the milk caramel sauce when you have some on hand in your kitchen. The latte, like most, starts with both espresso and steamed milk. The dulce de leche is dissolved into the espresso, infusing the drink with its rich flavor. I also add in a tiny splash of vanilla extract to give the drink a vanilla flavor without adding additional sweetness. The combination is delicious, whether you’re making it as part of your morning routine or enjoying it alongside a chocolate dessert after dinner.

I used espresso in this drink, but if you don’t have an espresso machine, you can substitute strong coffee instead and simply cut back on the milk slightly. I would double the amount of coffee and reduce the milk slightly to get a similar flavor in the finished drink. There have been days when I want a little extra something sweet with my coffee, so if you like your drinks sweeter, feel free to increase the amount of dulce de leche, too. Sweet or not, I usually keep the whipped cream on this one.
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Jan 12, 2015

Coffee Chart Mug

Coffee Chart Mug

A good mug has a solid build, a great handle and is full of hot coffee. A great mug combines those features with an interesting or fun design and this Coffee Chart Mug checks all those boxes. The mug is designed with a flow chart of sorts, with grahipcs that designed to give you a crash course in coffee drinks. It is geared toward the coffee enthusiast and features almost every coffee-brewing method imaginable along the top edge of the mug, and all the staple coffee drinks you might want to make on the bottom, with handy ratios that will help ensure your drinks turn out perfectly every time. This means that you can mix and match your brewing methods with the types of drinks you want to make very easily, and have a few choices that will allow you to branch out from your usual staples without much additional effort.

On the technical side of things, this mug is huge. It has an 18-ounce capacity that will hold enough coffee for even the most serious coffee addict – yes, they’re talking to me – even if not every drink you serve fills it to the brim.

Dec 19, 2014

Six Sensational Hot Holiday Coffee Drinks

Cranberry Bliss White Chocolate Mocha

A hot drink is the perfect thing to warm you up when the weather outside is frightful – even more delightful than a glowing fire, since a few sips will warm you up a lot faster! You can always make a mug of hot chocolate, or brew a pot of your favorite everyday coffee or tea, but the holidays are a time when you should indulge yourself a bit and celebrate with a drink that is a little more exciting!

The Cranberry Bliss White Chocolate Mocha has a great balance of sweet berries and creamy white chocolate that mirrors the flavors found in lots of holiday treats. Starbucks is selling this drink in Japan this season, but you can save yourself the flight and make it at home.

Peppermint Bark Mocha

Peppermint Bark is a common holiday gift and you can turn a batch into a Peppermint Bark Mocha with ease. The drink will be sweet and have a nice minty undertone that is perfect for the season. Continue reading »

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