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Coffee Loves Milk - Nicole VanPutten

Coffee Loves Milk

Coffee and I have an absurdly complicated relationship. My dietary restrictions prevent me from drinking caffeine, so I’m relegated to decaffeinated coffee only and our preservative free lifestyle eliminates any of the peppermint mocha latte frappuchinos. Blended.

Our local coffee shop is amazing and they carry multiple water processed locally roasted lines of decaf coffee, but every so often I have to gaze adoringly at the customers who leave sipping on their mochas. Making coffee at home is obviously much easier for me because I know exactly where all the equipment has been and that the beans will be caffeine free – I was dosed accidentally last month and it was an 18 hour adventure I never want to repeat – so I decided to learn how to make one fancy drink myself.

I put on my research hat and discovered after about 80 seconds that I would need $3,000 in equipment and at least six months of practice. I knew there had to be a better way.

During my initial reading it dawned on me that most real coffee drinks are simply strong coffee added to steamed milk. The gaudy coffee drinks that Starbucks makes with the syrup and preservatives, you will have to go someplace else for those. I knew that If I took my normal coffee and made it a touch stronger I could use my method of warming milk at night to create a faux coffee drink. Here is how it works.

First, as always, your ingredients:

  • My coffee is already made and in my cup
  • A jar with a lid
  • Milk, preferably whole or half and half or both

The process is straightforward.

Pour a small amount of half and half in the jar.

Next, add in your milk. The measurements are nothing exact. My cup holds about 18 ounces of liquid and I normally fill the bottom 1/8 or 1/4 with milk and the rest with coffee. It all depends on what you like. You will definitely need to do some experimenting to get the taste spot on.

Place the jar in the microwave and heat the milk for about 45 to 60 seconds. I like hot milk instead of warm milk, so I heat my milk for a little bit longer.

After the milk is heated, take the jar out, being careful not to burn yourself, and put the lid on.

Once the lid is secure, take a tea towel or cloth napkin and wrap it around the jar and shake. Shaking the jar allows air into the milk and produces foam. It’s a delicate balance, however, because too much shaking and you can end up with too much air. Shake your milk for about 30 to 40 seconds. Here is some “Happy” shaking music.

Now, quit dancing all over your kitchen, take the lid off and get ready for some precision pouring.

The trick to pouring the milk in your cup is to go slowly. You want the milk on the bottom first, so tilt the jar so the foamy milk slides to the bottom of the jar and the warm milk will appear underneath. You can use as much or as little of this milk as you want, as the leftovers can be stored in the fridge.

Now, use a spoon and grab the foamy milk from the jar and spoon it on to your coffee. Again, portion size is up to you.

My finished, uncomplicated coffee above looks and tastes exactly like the $5 drinks from the coffee shop, except I made it in about one minute at home. It’s just like I knew what I was doing.

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