Espresso, Latte, Mocha, Cappuccino, Etc.

I have never been a big coffee drinker, and Andrea is even less of one than I am.  I never really wanted to drink any until my latter years of high school; and even then, with spoons full of creamer and sugar.  Beginning college, I would occasionally drink a cup for breakfast, eventually weaning myself off of the creamer and sugar.  For the most part, when I drink coffee, I like it black.  Some may find this laughable, but the caffeine in coffee doesn’t do anything to me.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing!  When I drink it early in the morning, it doesn’t wake me up; and when I drink it late at night, it doesn’t keep me awake!  Go ahead, call me strange…

Well, since Andrea and I  have been married, I have taken to like coffee more.  As the weather has gotten colder, coffee drinks have sounded even better.  Trust me, though, I am no coffee-fanatic.  I can count the times I have been to a coffee shop like Starbucks on one hand.  However, I do know that they have some fantastic drinks.  About a month ago, Andrea and I visited one of those shops that is just a block’s walk away from our home.  I can’t even remember what the place is called, but the drink that I had was fantastic.  Andrea enjoyed her’s a lot too–Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino.

Well, to make a long story short, a few weeks ago I ended up buying a small espresso machine for our home with one of our last wedding shower gift cards.  It is just about as simple as it gets, but has everything.  Since getting it, I have discovered quite a few things about these coffee based drinks.  The first thing is that espresso is completely different from brewed coffee.  Someone said that is just about the most abuse you can put the poor coffee grounds through without killing them.  Espresso is boiling water forced through finely ground beans with very high pressure.  The ounce and a half of liquid that goes through that torment and into a cup is a called a shot of espresso.  All of the other major coffee drinks are based off of this espresso.

Steamed milk is the other major ingredient.  It is cold milk that is heated with a steam wand that is normally attached to the espresso machine.  For example, a latte is 1/3 espresso, and 2/3 steamed milk.  A cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk (milk with lots of air infused with the steam wand).  A mocha is a latte with made with steamed chocolate milk and syrup.  That’s just a quick rundown…

Believe me, I have not gotten into this very much.  I don’t have a bean grinder, and don’t plan on it anytime soon (though I wouldn’t mind having one some day).  My machine is about the most entry-level model you can get: thirty-five dollars.  But we really like our new machine!

That’s one way to make Andrea really happy: just make a pumpkin-spice cappuccino, carmel latte, or mocha and give it to her on a cool evening!  It is definitely a comfort drink for us!

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A homemade cappuccino