cafe Dreams… koffie.kafe.ga feh.kava.kahvi.caife.caffe.kaffii.kavy

Between the ages of 17 and 22, my life dream was to own a coffee shop. I spent hours on the patios of several choice shops around the eastern half of Nebraska (yes, I had a favorite in every city). Always with my favorite people keeping their own steaming cups company, often into the wee hours of the night…until they locked the doors and sent everyone home. I even held the keys to a shop less than a mile from the college I attended. We were open late on Thursday nights to provide a place for the non-bar crowd to hang out, have tasty hot drinks, tickle the piano and play board games. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a great alternative to the dorm lobby! Yes, I love coffee. But, in retrospect, I believe that what I really love is the time spent sitting, talking with friends, enjoying something tasty, watching life go on its hurried way. Taking an hour or two to relax, really taste, really smell, and genuinely listen to the world or to a good friend. What I really love is people.

Now, as I am writing to explore food and fiber- offering recipes and tips on how to make things- this is not an article about how to make people. It is, on the other hand, an article about how to make tasty coffee. Oh, and a bunch of wonderful pictures of tasty looking coffee that, in their own right, invoke those hours well spent on patios around the country, and in my case, in the comforts of my own kitchen at the old wooden table with the fading marigolds plucked from the yard moments before the fall of a foot of snow. Without further ado…

This wonderful piece of equipment is on loan from two dear friends. It was a wedding gift to them years ago. I packed it up and moved it to my kitchen counter where it has been happily providing me with quality espresso, cappuccino, and lattes. It takes a few minutes to warm up (it’s not quite as quick as a Keurig) and growls like a miniature freight train, but by golly does it do its job! The frother works like a charm and I can control the amount of water that runs through the espresso grounds (hello Americano…). The following are several pictures of what this baby is capable of…

Confession: I really love to take pictures of tasty things...to share, of course...

If you don’t have the luxury of owning your very own espresso machine, fret not, superb espresso at home is within reach. The two contraptions shown here are items I’ve picked up along the way. The shiny pot is a stove top espresso maker. The top unscrews to reveal a brew basket and a water well. After filling the bottom with water, putting espresso into the basket and screwing it all back together, it takes just a few minutes on medium-high on the range. The water heats up and is forced through the brew basket, up the metal tube and into the top of the pot, ready to be added to a mug full of hot, frothed milk.

I had to make this beautiful cappuccino to show the fruits of the stove top espresso maker...

The other item is a battery operated whisk that, when submerged into hot milk, aerates the liquid creating thousands of tiny bubbles- voila- froth! I like to add a bit of brown sugar to the hot milk before frothing so the froth tastes a bit sweet. The stove top espresso pot cost me $10 and can be found anywhere from Starbucks to Christmas Tree Shops to True Value; the frother came from IKEA and set me back $3. (IKEA also carries a $20 espresso pot…)

And what about tea lovers?! One of my favorite shops in Nebraska has an entire wall, floor to ceiling, filled with shelves and shelves of gallon jars packed with every flavor of tea you can imagine. The smell is intoxicating! They sell it by the pound, ounce or cup so it can be enjoyed on the patio or with cookies and friends in your own home. I collect my own herbs and flowers during the summer and fall so I can mix my own special tea concoctions throughout the year. The following are pictures of tasty cups of tea I’ve enjoyed, as well as a few jars of herbs waiting to fill my cup this winter.

dried mint, sage, rosemary and rosehips

Enjoy with a scone and some cinnamon…and happy, steamy, delicious brewing!

another day...

Advertisements