Over the last year, while traveling in Italy and going on various trips as part of my Nespresso ambassadorship, I’ve learned a lot about the different types of espresso based drinks. The magic is all about how the milk and coffee come together.
I used to just order the drinks I liked at Starbucks, without giving a lot of thought to what lay under all that syrup and whipped cream. But now that I’m my own home barista, every time I craft a new drink, I think about how I want to layer it, taste it and experience it. I’m also in control of where I put the calories! Making a coffee drink only takes a minute or two, and matching my coffee drink to my mood just makes it taste better. Here are a few basic definitions:
- Espresso – One or two straight up shots of coffee, brewed by pressing steam through coffee beans. I like mine sweet and strong, with a couple of demerara sugar cubes. My Nespresso Capsule faves of espresso: Kazaar, Arpeggio, Rosabaya
- Cappuccino – One or two shots of espresso topped with frothed milk. Milky strong coffee topped with creamy froth. I save the froth for last, as if it were whipped cream. Favorite Nespresso capsules for cappuccino: Arpeggio and Dulsao (with honey!)
- Latte – One or two shots of espresso topped with warm milk. This is my breakfast treat, and I love it over ice while playing tennis.
- Macchiato – One or two shots of espresso topped with just froth. This really lets the flavors of the coffee stand out, but still gives you layers of whipped milk for contrast. So elegant and so tasty.
To get you inspired to become your own barista and get creative with your coffee in your kitchen, I have a delicious macchiato recipe showcasing the flavors of speculoos cookies and a comforting apple ginger coffee for a cold and windy night.
You don’t need special syrups for either of these drinks. Just your favorite Nespresso capsules, milk, a spiced tea that makes you happy, and some speculoos cookies. If you’ve never tried these crispy cookies with strong cinnamon and caramel overtones, you’re in for a treat. Most supermarkets now carry the Biscoff brand of Speculoos but I prefer the crispiness of the Trader Joe’s speculoos. The difference is tiny, get your hands on any type of speculoos and you’re in business.
And if you don’t yet have a Nespresso machine, or are thinking of getting a new one for the holidays, you should consider these two new additions to the Nespresso machine line up. The UMilk and UMat Machines are two new additions to the U range. The UMilk does the frothing for you with an integrated milk solution and comes in two finishes: Pure Black and Pure Cream. The UMat offers the sleek and elegant design Nespresso is known for in a a compact size that fits pretty much anywhere and comes in a matte red or grey finish.
- 1 capsule of Kazaar Grand Cru
- 1 teaspoon of speculos paste (optional)
- ½ cup Milk (I prefer 2%)
- Crunch five or six speculoos cookies into fine crumbs. Either use a food processor or get your aggressions out on a plastic ziploc bag.
- Pour the crumbs into a small saucepan. Add ½ cup of milk and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The milk should be hot and infused with speculoos flavor. Strain to remove any crumbs.
- Froth milk in ¼ cup increments using the steam nozzle of your Nespresso machine or the Aeroccino milk frother. You froth in small doses to yield mostly froth. The macchiato is all froth. Set aside.
- Put one teaspoon speculos paste in a PIXIE Kazaar cup. Alternatively, you could put some more cookie crumbs at the bottom if you don't have a jar of highly addictive speculoos paste.
- Pour a Kazaar Grand Cru and add the aromatized foam on top
- 1 capsule of Linizio Lungo Grand Cru (or Decaffeinato Lungo)
- 1 Apple & Ginger herbal tea bag
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons of milk froth
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
- Place the herbal tea bag in a Cappuccino cup and prepare your Grand Cru directly onto it
- Allow the apple and ginger tea to infuse for 4 minutes, then remove the bag
- Add the maple syrup to the coffee and set aside
- Prepare the milk froth using the steam nozzle of your Nespresso machine or the Aeroccino milk frother,
- Place 3 tablespoons of frothed milk on top of the coffee and sprinkle with ground cinnamon