WFMW – Great Coffee at Home

WFMWIt’s fall and time for cool days, slippers and snuggly quilts. As the weather turns grey and rainy (Fall in the pacific northwest is pretty much grey and rainy) I find myself stocking up on boxes of tea in all flavors and assortments.

However, this being coffee land (the Coffee Belt?), I thought I would discuss coffee for this week’s Works for Me Wednesday. If you hate coffee and are strictly a tea drinker, please don’t leave, scroll to the bottom and leave a comment about your favorite type of tea.

Before I moved to Washington I had only a passing interest in coffee. I enjoyed it occasionally, not caring much about roasts, brands, or mode of brewing. I drank it mostly at work, although I should say we used to have a great brewing equipment (check out this homepage  for the equipment provider).

stone bridge out on the property

For five years we lived out in Washington’s beautiful rainforest territory, 30 minutes to an hour from the nearest grocery stores or shopping centers. Lets just say there wasn’t a Starbucks around the corner. During that time I perfected a Poor Man’s Mocha:

Mug of hot coffee
Package of hot cocoa

I developed quite the repertoire of fancy add in’s:

Cool Whip or Reddi Whip
Flavored Creamer (chocolate raspberry was a favorite)
Chocolate dipped spoons (a homemade Christmas treat)

After we left the country and moved to the city, okay the suburbs, I began to frequent coffee stands and Starbucks. An addiction was quickly formed. To make things worse, my friend (and neighbor) Julee, was on a first name basis with some of the baristas at the drive thru coffee place down the street.

“Kathy, I’m heading out for coffee, you want anything?

I mean, how could I resist that kind of intense peer pressure?

It turns out coffee is not only addictive but a bit expensive as a weekly (daily?) habit. After spending more money than I wish to admit, I decided it was time to find a homemade solution to my favorite drinks. At this point I was off sugar so I wasn’t interested in mochas or frappacinos, I just wanted to be able to make an excellent Brevé or Americano. I wanted to do so, however, without paying hundreds of dollars on a fancy Espresso machine.

I did some extensive research online (where else) and came up with a plan for the perfect coffee to suit my tastes. While no where near an expert, I can finally make a delicious coffee drink right at home that rivals any coffee stand.

Necessary equipment/ingredients:

French Press coffee maker
Aerolatte Milk Frother
Good quality coffee

make me some coffee!

That’s it. A French Press is only $20 or $25 at Target or Amazon. The Aerolatte can be found at Amazon or Bed, Bath and Beyond. I buy Starbucks coffee at Target and San Francisco Bay coffee beans at Costco. I was using strictly Starbucks but a friend recommended the French Roast by San Francisco Bay so I decided to try it. I mix regular and decaf together.

I make the coffee in my French Press – stronger than you would almost think is drinkable. :) Probably double the normal amount. In the microwave I heat up 2% milk (1/2 to 3/4 cup) for a minute. I like my coffee rich so I use 2%, you could easily substitute nonfat. Once the milk is heated, I use the milk frother to frappe the milk until it is nice and foamy. I pour a cup or cup and a half of coffee into my Starbucks travel mug (which is amazing and keeps my coffee hot for hours and hours), add a little bit of sweetener, and then mix in the frothy milk.

Yum! I now have a delicious coffee drink made right there at home. If I wanted a mocha flavored drink, I would probably add some coffee syrup (easily obtained at the grocery store), Hershey’s syrup or use flavored creamer.

What’s your favorite coffee drink? If you don’t drink coffee, do you prefer tea? What kinds? My family LOVES tea and has been known to linger in front of the tea selection at the store, discussing possible blends with great passion. :)

Pop by Works for Me Wednesday for other tips and ideas.

Project 365 – Day 282

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21 thoughts on “WFMW – Great Coffee at Home”

  1. Very interesting. Katherine, I greatly applaud your plan to make coffee at home. I know the bought specialty ones are higly expensive. Sounds like you’ve come up with a good solution.

    Personally, I don’t seem to care about the coffee flavor. Isn’t that a terrible thing to admit? Around here we have Caribou which competes will with Starbucks. We mostly drink Caribou Sumatra or Starbucks Gold Coast. At the moment in the pot is Starbucks Fr. Roast- which is too strong and bitter for me. Or maybe I just made it too strong this morning. It’s hard to get it TOO strong for Jerry, tho.

    Happy Wed. to you. Love you lots, Aunt Kate

  2. I never drank coffee until a friend of mine started a business.( He sells organic coffee, and roasts it fresh as soon as it’s ordered. I have no idea what makes it so good, but it blows Starbucks out of the water! I still don’t drink it everyday, but it’s a good treat.

  3. Great tips. I love my French Press and I actually invested in a thermal French Press mug that I use very regularly. The coffee can’t compare to those drip machines, but I still use my drip machine for a quick mug :)

  4. Great job economizing your good coffee drinks! We use the Costa Rican beans that Costco roasts at some of their stores in Washington and we smuggle it to California!

  5. I agree 100%. Coffee made using a press pot is THE BEST!

    But I’m also a tea drinker. My favorite tea is also one of the best presents my in-laws ever got me. One year they had a distant relative that still lives in Russia send some Russian loose leaf black tea. Turns out Honey gave them the idea – he knows me so well!
    I boil water, pour it into a ceramic tea pot with some of the loose leaf tea. Let it brew for 3 minutes then add some slices of lemon. I pour it into my favorite mug using a strainer and sip slowly. It is wonderful for warming up on after lunch on a cold, rainy autumn day.

  6. Hey.. THANKS for the tip on the French Press and Aerolatte.. now can you give us some step by step photos? I’m so visual you know…. THANKS!

  7. So… do you care to come up with a recipe for me for a sugar free White Chocoloate Carmel skinny? That’s what my dd always orders over ice and now I’m thinking Christmas present idea here! THANKS MUCH!

  8. I was always a tea drinker myself until the last 5 or so years when I ventured into drinking more coffee. I do not know how to make anything as elaborate as your coffee but I tell you one thing . . my husband would LOVE to be your neighbor. He would be knocking on the door every morning asking you or Tim for a cup of your good java . . with me he gets Folger’s Decaf LOL

  9. I worked at Starbucks as a barista for a while and have the decided advantage of the training they provide to make drinks for my family at home. A couple of years ago my husband gave me an espresso machine “for my birthday,” but quite often on Saturday mornings will ask, “Will you make me a vanilla latte? Pleeeeeeeeeease?” Hmm… maybe the gift wasn’t so much for me…. :)

    My favorite drink this year seems to be the caramel apple cider, which is easily made at home. Swirl some caramel sauce around the inside of a mug, heat your apple juice in the microwave (with or without some cinnamon and nutmeg), pour into your mug, top with a little whipped cream and a touch more caramel. The heat from the cider melts the caramel on the inside of the mug and the whipped cream at the same time, creating a sweet, creamy treat perfect to cuddle up with a good book (or The Good Book) and chase away the winter blahs.

  10. Wow! I am impressed. In fact, you might say FRENCH imPRESSed. har har har. Frugal and Fancy at the same time! You are so fun and creative and this was a great idea for a blog. We often get that Costco Seattle’s Best giant bag of beans or whatever it is called. If you did, I missed it, but did you comment on your grinder?

    I like/love Lipton’s White Tea Island Peach and Mango flavor in the evening…from the grocery store! Very delicate, fruity and floral and NOT expensive atall but really seems like it ought to be. Great paired with a hot bath and a Real Simple magazine after The Raucus Chamberlin Children (TRCC) are abed.


  11. I used to have a French press – I have no clue what happened to it. I used to use it all the time.

    My fave Starbucks beverage is a decaf raspberry mocha frappucino. At home, I like Cafe duMonde’s New Orleans Coffee and Chicory OR Pampered Chef’s special coffee blend that has vanilla, hazelnut, and cinnamon. It’s no longer available, but I did stock up before they quit selling it.

  12. Holly – that caramel apple cider drink sounds amazing! I definitely need to try that one here. My kiddos are hugely fond of instant apple cider (that my sister in law got them hooked on). They would be over the top, in heaven, if I added in your special touches.

    Thanks for sharing. Yum. I’m obviously hungry because that sounds so good right now. Ha!

  13. Ahh… coffee. As you know, I was an assistant manager of a coffee shop called Beaner’s in Lansing, MI. I loved making the coffee and, of course, drinking any and every kind of coffee drink I wanted. Kath – have you ever tried Chai with a shot of espresso (dirty chai)? It’s very good.

    Even now as the Human Resource Director at my company I make the coffee every day for the office. I’ve developed my own special blend – a unique combination of a Brazilian Fair Trade French Roast with a Brazilian Organic Medium Roast – such a good blend (Jenn and I drink it at home too).

    For kicks – check out my bio at I’m listed under Super Support Staff section on the left. It’s 2 years old, but still funny, the friend in my story is Doug. Ha.

    Also – here’s a tip for everyone. Do NOT NOT NOT store coffee in the freezer. That expires the flavor of the coffee bean much quicker. Instead, keep it in an airtight container in room temperature. Trust me on this!

  14. I love coffee but it doesn’t love me.LOL I’ve found that even the so called decaf makes me jittery. I do love it though and save it for special occasions like Christmas day.

  15. I like tea AND coffee, I don’t know what my favorite kind
    of coffee is, Probably something sweet! And Tea, Peppermint!

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