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How to Make the Best Gourmet Coffee Recipes At Home

People love their morning coffee, especially in the colder months. While making a quick cup of coffee at the office or at home is a good way to get your fix of caffeine, sometimes you want something more luxurious or gourmet than a basic cup of joe.

Specialty coffee shops have menus with dozens of different gourmet coffee beverages, but going to the cafe every day can take a toll on your wallet.

Making gourmet coffee at home or at the office is easier than you might think. It can also save you a lot of money and be a lot of fun.

Component Recipes

Most coffee drinks use a few base recipes in different combinations. With just a few ingredients, you can make a wide variety of drinks.

Black Coffee

Good black coffee can be a gourmet drink itself, but it’s also the base for many other coffee drinks.

The most important part of any coffee drink is the coffee itself. High quality coffee will help make a high quality drink while low quality coffee means a low quality drink, no matter how much effort you put in.

To make a gourmet cup of black coffee, you need three things: whole coffee beans, a grinder, and a way to turn ground coffee into brewed coffee.

Buying whole coffee beans is less convenient than buying prepared coffee grounds, but the quality difference is immense. Coffee begins to go stale soon after it’s roasted. Once the coffee is ground, it becomes a matter of hours or days before it loses a huge amount of its flavor.

By contrast, you can keep whole beans for weeks before you notice a significant drop in flavor quality and they’re often good months later if you store them well.

When you go to make a cup of coffee, you should grind the beans just before using them. There are plenty of cheap grinders out there. You should look for one that grinds the coffee to a consistent size because similarly-sized grounds are important for equal extraction of the coffee.

Finally, you need a way to turn ground coffee into brewed coffee. There are lots of ways to do this. You could use a french press, a drip coffee maker, an Aeropress, or a pour-over setup. Each method of making coffee will produce a slightly different cup, even with the same beans. For example, a french press will likely produce a heavier cup with more oils than a method that uses a filter, like a drip coffee maker.

How you’ll make coffee will depend on the brewing method you choose. Any brewer you buy should come with a recommended recipe, but you can try variations if you want to play around with different ways to make coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew can be a great way to drink coffee when the weather is warm, and some drinks use cold brew as a base rather than hot coffee.

As with any coffee, good cold brew means using high quality, freshly ground coffee beans. For cold brew, you’ll want to use a relatively coarse grind when compared to other preparations.

Cold brew is easy to make but requires more time than brewing hot coffee, meaning you’ll have to plan ahead if you want to have cold brew or make a drink that requires it.

To make cold brew, grind some beans and place them in a container of water. Then, leave the container in the refrigerator overnight, or for 12 to 24 hours. A common ratio to start with is 1 part coffee for every 8 parts water you use, but you can adjust the ratio to your tastes.

After the coffee brews in the refrigerator, strain it through a cheesecloth or other type of filter. The resulting liquid will be heavily-concentrated coffee.

To serve, dilute the concentrate with milk or water to taste.

Keep in mind that cold brew is different from iced coffee, which involves brewing warm coffee and cooling it down with ice.

Espresso

Although some coffee drinks use regular coffee as their base, many traditionally use espresso as their base.

Espresso typically involves brewing with a small ratio of coffee to water; often you use 1 gram of coffee for every 2 grams of espresso you want. It also involves high levels of pressure during the brewing process.

Espresso machines can be highly expensive — far more than most people will want to pay to own. If you want an approximation of espresso, you can use another brewing method to get close.

The Aeropress is one of the best ways to make an at-home approximation of espresso. Combine 17 grams of coffee and 50 to 55 grams of water in the Aeropress. Let it brew for about 20 seconds, then plunge the liquid into a cup.

You won’t have true espresso, but you’ll have highly concentrated coffee that you can use to make espresso-based drinks.

Milk

Many coffee drinks use milk, either cold or warm. Which type of milk you use can vary with personal taste, but the more fat in the milk, the richer your drink will be.

If a recipe calls for frothed milk, you can froth it at home in a pot on the stove. Steaming milk is difficult without the proper equipment, but frothed milk is usually a suitable substitute. To froth milk, pour it into a pot and start warming it on the stove. Don’t let it boil. Once it’s warm, whisk it heavily until it begins to froth.

Alternatively, you can heat the milk in a pot then pour it into a french press. You can then repeatedly move the press’ plunger to froth the milk.

Flavored Syrups

If you like sweet coffee drinks, you’ll want to use syrups to sweeten and flavor your drinks.

The most basic syrup is simple syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a pot, then bring the water to a boil while stirring constantly. Once the sugar dissolves completely, let the liquid cool and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Simple syrup dissolves more easily in drinks than granulated sugar, meaning it sweetens the drinks more effectively.

To make a flavored syrup, all you have to do is add flavorings like spices or extracts to the water and sugar and let the ingredients simmer for long enough for the flavors to transfer to the syrup. Then, you can strain the syrup to remove solids if necessary and store it in an airtight container.

Many flavored syrups have applications beyond coffee, such as in cocktails, giving you lots of room to experiment.


Gourmet Drink Recipes

These are some popular coffee drinks that you might want to try.

1. Iced Coffee

  • Ground coffee (based on coffee maker’s instructions)
  • Water (half as much as the coffee maker’s instructions)
  • Ice (equal to half the water the coffee maker instructs)
  • Milk or cream (optional)
  • Simple syrup (optional)

To make iced coffee, you will want to make highly concentrated coffee, and then dilute it with ice. To do this, use the normal amount of coffee for your coffee maker, but half as much water. Add ice to the cup equal to the amount of water used.

For example, if you typically use 20 grams of coffee and 400 grams of water, use 20 grams of coffee, 200 grams of water, and 200 grams of ice.

Brew the coffee, then pour it over the ice. Add simple syrup and milk to taste.

2. Mocha

Mocha is the gateway drug for many people who don’t like coffee. It combines coffee, milk, and chocolate flavor to make a delicious drink.

  • 8 ounces of black coffee
  • 1/4 cup milk (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • Simple syrup to taste — start with 1/2 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon of cream (optional, for a creamier drink)
  • Whipped cream (optional, to top)

Brew the coffee according to your brewer’s instructions. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Top with whipped cream if desired.

3. Latte

This simple drink combines coffee and milk to make a cup that tastes great on its own or paired with a pastry.

  • 1 part black coffee (for a 12 oz drink, use 6 oz)
  • 1 part warmed milk (for a 12 oz drink, use 6 oz)
  • 1 ounce of frothed milk to top

Combine coffee and warmed milk in a cup. Stir to combine. Top with frothed milk.

To make a flavored latte, add flavored syrup to taste. Start with a tablespoon or two.

4. Cappuccino

Cappuccinos are another milk-based coffee drink that combines espresso with foamed milk to make a light, airy drink.

  • 2 ounces of espresso
  • 4 ounces of frothed milk

Make espresso and pour it into a cup. Top with frothed milk.

5. Affogato

An affogato is a coffee dessert that combines espresso with rich vanilla gelato. (Ice cream is a fine substitute.)

  • 1 scoop vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 2 ounces of hot espresso
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Chill a glass in the freezer, then add 1 scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream. Slowly pour hot espresso into the glass and then top with chocolate shavings if desired. Serve with a spoon.

6. Flat White

A flat white is a basic espresso drink that is popular at cafes around the world.

  • 2 ounces of espresso
  • 4 ounces of frothed milk

Combine the espresso and most of the milk in a cup, then stir. Top with the remainder of the milk.


Flavored Syrup Recipes

To add sweetness and flavor to different coffee drinks, you can add a flavored simple syrup. These are some basic recipes for common flavors you might enjoy in your coffee.

If you want to keep multiple syrups on hand in your fridge, you can use plastic squeeze bottles that are cheap to buy, easy to clean, and easy to use to add syrup to your drink.

1. Maple Simple Syrup

  • 1 part maple syrup
  • 1 part water

To make maple simple syrup, replace the sugar in a simple syrup recipe with maple syrup. Combine the ingredients in a pot, simmer, and stir until combined. Let it cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You can add spices of your choosing during the simmering to add additional flavors.

2. Vanilla Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the ingredients in a pot, simmer, and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

3. Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Can substitute 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice for individual spices

Combine the ingredients in a pot, simmer, and stir to combine. Let it cool, strain it through a cheesecloth or other material to remove solids, then store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

4. Cinnamon Brown Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a pot, simmer, and stir to combine. Let it cool, strain it through a cheesecloth or other material to remove solids, then store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5. Almond Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Combine the ingredients in a pot, simmer, and stir to combine. Let it cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

6. Chai Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped ginger

Place the spices except the ginger in a pot and toast them on the stove until aromatic. Add the water, sugar, vanilla extract, and ginger. Bring the liquid to a boil, then simmer and stir to combine. Let it cool, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or other material to remove solids, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Final Word

Creating your favorite coffee drinks at home can save you money and be a lot of fun. Best of all, you can customize your drinks exactly the way you like them. You can tinker with your recipes if you wish to adjust the flavors. You also have complete control over the ingredients that go into your coffee, ensuring that you can enjoy a fresh cup of quality coffee made with all-natural ingredients from start to finish.

It’s your coffee, so feel free to get creative about how you assemble the cup of coffee you use to start your day.

TJ Porter
TJ is a Boston-based writer who focuses on credit cards, credit, and bank accounts. When he's not writing about all things personal finance, he enjoys cooking, esports, soccer, hockey, and games of the video and board varieties.

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