As a Spaniard born and raised in NYC, I was thought to love coffee passionately. Our summer trips to Andalucía galvanized the respect for the morning coffee ritual that became part of my coffee drinking Modus Operandi. I remember watching my grandfather “buelo” grind the fresh coffee beans by hand every morning. At times he would add nutmeg or vanilla to the mix and then he would brew it using his own contraption he rigged together to create “his version” of the perfect brew. He collected the water for brewing and said that the secret to great coffee was the fresh water. He was like a mad scientist…it was amazing. We sat, he poured the dark caramel espresso into two white cups, tore a piece of crunchy Andalusian bread from the bakery down the road, and he would share his marvelous stories. I took it all in…it was fascinating. He was a true coffee artist, and I was his Jedi in training.
I remember once I asked “buelo,” why he preferred to make his own coffee instead of going to the café. Without skipping a beat, he said “having someone else make your coffee is like having someone else in the marital bed on your wedding day.” The point of this story is that once you get started down this path of the perfect cup, you will learn to appreciate the process and always look to perfect it. So let me begin by guiding you through the ritual of transforming your morning routine and giving you the many reasons why brewing your own cup of coffee at home is your gateway to living life like a Spaniard. So, claim it!
How much can you save?
Let’s get the economics out of the way. Cutting back on your Starbucks obsession won't suddenly help you afford a Mercedes, despite what some money experts say. But it could save you between $988 to $2,000 a year, according to my educated pencil. Besides, I believe that this is an ultra-commercial lifestyle we are living in, and we are being programmed by social media marketing to accept the “Starbucks” phenomenon as normal. My grandfather would smack me upside my head with a loaf of bread if he knew I spent $7 on a cup of joe…lol. I remember the line from one of my favorite movies “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) the character Joe Fox played by Tom Hanks said, “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make 6 decisions just to buy one cup of coffee.” Obviously, this statement was meant to be funny, but at its core the reality is that getting coffee already made for us robs us of the individual joy of creating a joyful ritual that can change your morning routine.
Forget about the stale, corporate coffee- bygone are those days. Nowadays it's all trendy microbrews from your local hipster establishment! What could be better than sipping a Maui Red Bang Chui crafted for you personally by Paco? Well...I'm old school at heart so I'd prefer something more classic when my java craving hits - but faux pas me not if instead you choose to get wild and daring with your own beverage choices and make your own brew at home!
Does it save money to grind your coffee at home?
Sure, you could get your java fix with some stale pre-ground coffee for the same price - but why settle for mediocrity when grinding your own beans is an easier and cheaper ticket to 'La Dolce Vita'? With fresh grinds comes a superior cup full of delightful aromas that tantalize each taste bud. So go forth brave caffeine warrior! Get ready to master preparation so you can truly savor what it means to live life in all its sweet glory (over 140 characters...of course)!
What is the point of grinding coffee at home?
Brew the perfect cup of joe like royalty! Step one - get your beans from a roaster who freshly grinds their coffee on the same day you purchase. Freshly ground, peak-flavored deliciousness is just 4 to 14 days away if you make sure not to keep them in waiting for too long. Plus, grinding your own gives more control over that all important grind size which could take it's flavor up and down with just as much power as King George III ascending/descending England’s throne!
Who knew that your quest for the perfect cup of coffee could make others a fortune? Starbucks must be smiling all the way to their 31.9 billion dollar bank account, earned in only 12 months ending June 2022! If you don't have time (or trust) to brew at home, it looks like they'll graciously accept those extra bucks - one overpriced latte at a time…
What type of equipment will I need?
Brewing coffee at home will always save you money compared to buying out in the exact same sense as eating out and cooking at home. It may be a slight investment when getting the necessary equipment, but buying new kitchenware is the exact same kind of investment. Start simple and basic. I prefer to use the French press ($25-$75). It is simple, low-budget, and looks cool. It gives me the feeling of being more in control of my cup. Plus, it doesn’t take up too much space and you don’t have to plug it in. Instead of plopping a few cups of stale ground coffee in the brewer’s filter basket and pressing the pretty buttons, you can conduct the orchestra instead of sitting in the audience. Cool espresso machines and 100 other types of brewing devices can be awesome, but you need to crawl before you sprint.
Do your research and learn as much as you can about the process. There is nothing worse than investing time and money into this endeavor to later give in to fast food coffee because you can’t get it right. A good electric grinder ($30-$75+) is ideal. They are compact, and you don’t have to get too fancy or expensive. A simple teapot ($20-$65+) will help heat up the water. Keep it simple. We have a Turkish teapot my sweet lady picked out that is unique and does a great job. It doesn’t whistle like our previous tea kettle, but it does the trick. I also use a small fine strainer to keep the coffee grinds out of my cup. I am finicky that way. I also use a 12-ounce stainless Steel milk frothing Pitcher for my milk and that's about it.
Now if you want to be a bit fancy, you can get a handheld milk frother which I enjoy because it makes the milk a bit silky and frothy. I warm up the milk to get the cold from the fridge out. Respect the bean...so no cold milk. Think about Juan Carlos in Ecuador waking up at 3 AM to gather the coffee beans from his farm and the journey the beans traveled to get to your table. Then I add a splash of flavored syrup to the milk for added flavor. This could be optional...but why not be whimsical. This morning I had "Caramel Pecan syrup" because I could and it was fabulous. I use non-sugar syrups and they taste fine and give it a rich flavor. I use regular milk. Although I normally drink 1% milk, almond milk, soy milk, and every other peanut with utters...lol...I choose whole milk for this part of my life. 😊 Since I am going for that dolce vita type of life whole milk is "numero uno." It's creamy, silky, so rich, and delicious. So don't skimp on the milk and forget the kale milk!! So warm up the milk, and then using the frother work it to you get to the point where the milk almost doubles. You should have a silky foam sheen on the top of the milk head. Then pour the hot coffee into the cup and gently nest the foamy milk on the top layer of the coffee. Now if you want to do it right you can sprinkle cacao, nutmeg, or cinnamon for the finish. Absolutely delicious. I like it because it makes it a better drinking experience.
Now, most drinks like lattes and cappuccinos start out with an espresso at the base part of the drink. I normally just add a scoop of our espresso to the mix in my french press and it gives me that jolt I need and it is delicious. The espresso machine is unusual because the coffee extraction over high pressure creates a thin layer of foam on top of the coffee due to carbon-dioxide bubbles combined with coffee beans oils. This is called espresso crema. You will not get the same effect using the French press but there are videos online showing you how to make espresso without an espresso machine. It is still not the same and you may be limited at first but remember that this is a journey, so enjoy the process. Your goal should be to enjoy the fruits of your labor and once you get the perfect cup you have reached coffee nirvana. 😊
An admiral, William H. McRaven, US Navy retired, wrote a speech about making your bed in the morning. He said “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” I am not saying to soldier up and make this another task in your life. Remember it is a quality-of-life thing. Doing things for yourself to improve your joy. The Italians have an expression "Dolce far niente"...which simply means the sweetness of doing nothing. In essence, it's catching moments in your life to breathe and reflect on its beauty because you deserve it and you make the time for it. Waiting in line for coffee is not my idea of capturing anything but mediocre coffee and cold from the lady who sneezed on my neck...lol. I choose a better quality of life and that is why I take these moments to create what I enjoy. I hope you do as well. I wake up early and my lady and I always enjoy our moments together sharing a sweet cup perfectly prepared with love. That's living! Drop us a note and share what amazing creations you've created. Enjoy la dolce vita, my friends.