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Coffee Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

Whenever I write about my love of coffee that admittedly has turned me into a coffee snob, reader feedback is as enthusiastic as it is voluminous. I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my snobbery.

 

coffee cup and saucer on a wooden table. dark background.

 

Many of you bring up interesting points—questions, too. Like what to do with brewed coffee that is no longer ideally fresh but too good to throw down the drain. Others want to know how to make your own cappuccino, lattes, and even the “steamer,” made popular by Starbucks—surprisingly containing no coffee at all.

Short of purchasing an espresso machine that uses high-pressure steam to make espresso and has a gizmo that steams the milk as well, there are ways we can improvise to create reasonable facsimiles of our favorite coffee drinks.

READ: How to Store Raw, Roasted, and Ground Coffee to Keep it Fresh 

Popular coffee drink hacks

Espresso

Both cappuccinos and lattes are typically made with espresso. You can fake that by making very strong brewed coffee.

Cappuccino

A cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee drink that originated in Italy, and is traditionally prepared with steamed milk foam. Variations of the drink involve the use of cream instead of milk, and flavoring with cinnamon or chocolate powder.

Caffè Latte

Your very strong coffee mixed about 50/50 with hot milk and then topped with foam makes for a very tasty latte. Experiment as necessary to find your ideal proportion of coffee to milk.

Caffè Mocha

A caffè mocha, also called mochaccino, is a chocolate-flavored variant of a caffè latte. Other commonly used spellings are mochaccino and also mochaccino. Here’s a recipe for Caffè Mocha Mix.

Caffè Mocha Mix

Mix well, store in an airtight container.

To use: Stir about 3 teaspoons of mix into a cup of hot freshly brewed strong coffee. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

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How to Make Perfect Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get until quite recently: iced coffee. What?! The idea left me well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot.

And then I made a fatal mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy and icy, icy cold. Wow.

 

Making iced coffee

The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee

 

I needed to figure out how to make this myself—it was that good—because as much as I might want iced coffee again, I was not going to pay the outrageous price to have someone else make it for me. Read more

Randomly on a Saturday

1. I love coffee. The real stuff. Next best is a fun email I get each weekday morning—Morning Brew—that gives me a quick rundown and a jump on what I need to know about what’s going on in the world—with super brief summaries.

If I worked in an office with a watercooler and my fellow workers and I congregated around it, Morning Brew would give me confidence to contribute to the conversation. Or at least understand what others are talking about. Morning Brew makes me feel smarter and makes me laugh, too. Check it out. It’s free.

 

Men having break near watercooler on white background, closeup

2. Here’s a list of 2019 Sales Tax Holidays by state. One thing to note, not all states hold sales tax holidays. Some are annual and recur under legislation, while others that are non-annual require legislation each year.

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Make it Better Yourself: Homemade Coffee Creamer

Cream. It’s coffee’s perfect mate. And when that creamer comes flavored in a handy bottle from the dairy case, even more perfect, right? Oh, but so pricey!

Hot new cup of coffee with creamer

Generally, popular brands like Coffeemate, International Delight, Dunkin Donuts Extra Extra and Natural Bliss retail for $.10 to $.30 per ounce. Ouch! But you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price—and it is so easy. The hard part will be not using it all at once. Bonus: You’ll know exactly what’s in it and you can control sweetness and the flavors, too.

Stored in the refrigerator in a glass bottle or similar container with the tight-fitting in the refrigerator, homemade coffee creamer is good for at least 10 to 14 days.

Generally, homemade coffee creamers start with a base to which you add sweetener and flavor. There are two ways to make coffee creamer base—one that starts out sweet (Base Recipe #1)  and one that is not sweet to start (Base Recipe #2).

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Gifts to Thrill and Delight Coffee Snobs

Even if you aren’t one, chances are pretty good you know someone who is a bona fide coffee snob. That’s because unmitigated devotion to coffee has reached epic proportions in the past few years.

For these folks, nothing says “I care” more than a gift that affirms said snobbery and love for truly great coffee. I can pretty much guarantee that any one of these coffee-related gifts will rack up some major love and respect in return. 

 

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With Amazon Prime on our side, there’s still time to get those last-minute gifts before Christmas.

(Hint: You can start your 30-day free trial today, reap all the benefits and cancel once the trial is over. Easy and ethical.)

By way of full disclosure, I will admit to being a home roaster, which does earn me a certain level of coffee snobbery. I purchase green coffee beans directly from the La Minita Plantation in Costa Rica and roast those beans one pound at a time.

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