Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coaxing the Flavor out of those Beans!

Coffee beans.  --I have always loved the smell of coffee... rich, warm, comforting.  But never the taste.  It seemed so watered down and bitter whenever I tried black coffee, so I long ago decided it wasn't for me.

My favorite drinks came
from Tully's Coffee Shops.
My niece used to manage
some of their stores, and
she let me know this was
 the blend used in all their
drinks.  So I thought it a
great place to start.
With the birth and growth of our locally-grown Starbucks and then Tully's, however, I was introduced to "coffee drinks," starting with blended delights topped with whipped cream.  I was still leery of hot coffee of any kind until Princess Bossy talked me into trying an Eggnog Latte.  I wasn't sure of it, but was struck with the flu a few months later and when I had to be out running kids around, it seemed just the right thing to soothe the savage throat.  After that, I was hooked.  Plus, I had occasional hormone-induced migraines, and the amount of caffeine in those fluffy drinks was just enough to contract my blood vessels, apparently, and reduce the misery.  It became quite a good reason to indulge.  :-)

The price and the sugar load were daunting, though, so I started trying to make the treats at home, hot and cold.  I could get 'sort of' close to the taste of the coffee shop drinks, and was fairly satisfied.  But one day I walked by the grocery store coffee aisle and the great smell wafted over me, making me suspect I just wasn't getting the richness out of the coffee beans I thought they could give.  

I knew that some of the coffee shops did better, but also knew they used expensive and probably complex espresso machines that I wouldn't be able to have.  I searched the internet, trying to find other options.

Bodum Chambord 8 cup French Press
One of many highly rated
French Press coffee makers
I found lesser expensive, but still pricey, espresso makers with not so great reviews.  I found French presses and AeroPresses, that seemed they might be an answer.  Those had some rave reviews, but which one, and will they do what I wanted, which was to add the rich coffee goodness to a drink consisting mostly of soy milk and a bit of flavoring and/or sweetener?  
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee
and Espresso Maker
Most of the people reviewing were straight coffee drinkers.  I felt at am impasse, unwilling to spend money for something, or maybe multiple things, that wouldn't do what I needed, especially when coffee confections aren't exactly a necessity of life.

Thankfully, I remembered my friend who roasts her own beans.  Maybe she would know...  Stay tuned.

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