Heading out for a fancy latte isn’t just about the drink, it’s about getting out of your house. It’s about spending a little bit of time in a different environment while savouring something out of the ordinary. In so many ways, it is about the experience.
Going to a coffee shop is a small bit of comfort—a way to get out of your own head. It’s also one of those little luxuries that has disappeared at a time when we want it the most. So here are a few tips to create a coffee shop atmosphere in your own home.
Find a way to make it special
Now is the time to bust out those fancy cups you only use for special occasions. Maybe use this as an excuse to clean up a little so your space feels calmer. If you have a nice little nook somewhere in your house, or even just an extra comfy chair, make it a point to sit there. This is about comfort and breaking out of your routine, even if it’s just for a moment or in the smallest of ways.
Pick your drink of choice
Depending on the ingredients you have on hand, as well as your preferences, there are a number of drinks you can make at home to replicate a coffee shop experience. Here are a few options that don’t require unusual ingredients or specialty equipment.
Cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee, when made right, can be incredibly smooth, with just a hint of natural sweetness. It’s also really easy: Just mix 1/3 cup of coarse ground coffee with 1 ½ cups water, then let sit at room temperature for 12 hours. Strain twice through a coffee filter. This makes a cold brew concentrate that can be stored in the refrigerator, which you then dilute in a 1:1 ratio with either water or milk.
Cold brew can be enjoyed as-is or with cream and sugar. If you are craving an iced mocha, I highly recommend mixing cold brewed coffee with chocolate almond milk. Given these are stressful times, the more chocolatey, the better, I always say.
This is the Instagram trend everyone has been talking about lately, and for good reason: It is as simple to make as it is visually impressive.
To make Dalgona coffee, mix one tablespoon of instant coffee, one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of hot water, then blend it using a milk frother. (A hand mixer also works.) After a few minutes of mixing—once it’s become fluffy,—ladle the mixture over milk and ice.
Fair warning: this mixture will be strong. One batch is easily enough for two servings, and you’ll want to blend it into the milk before drinking.
Pumpkin spice latte
Making your own pumpkin spice creamer is fairly easy, and it will keep in the fridge for up to a week. It may not be fall yet, but given how warped our sense of time is these days, out of season drinks are absolutely acceptable.
Depending on your milk and cream preferences, as well as what you have on hand, there are a number of recipes out there, including a creamer recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, a milk-based recipe from the Food Network and a coconut milk based recipe from Minimalist Baker.
Generally speaking, making your own pumpkin spice latte mixture will require milk or cream, sweetener, pumpkin puree and spices. Once you’ve made this mixture, add it to hot or iced coffee. Just don’t forget the whipped cream on top.
Vietnamese iced coffee
Vietnamese iced coffee, with its use of sweetened condensed milk, is a really great way to make a bitter dark roast taste luxurious. The most popular brands of coffee for this style of drink are Trung Nguyen and Café Du Monde, although any dark roast will do.
The idea is to brew a really strong hot coffee, which you then mix with sweetened condensed milk, after which you add water and ice.
Traditionally, Vietnamese iced coffee is made using a metal filter, but a French press will do the trick. So will steeping two tablespoons of coffee grounds in 2/3 cup boiling water for 4 minutes, then straining it through a coffee filter. Once you’ve got the hot coffee, stir in sweetened condensed milk and add ice and water.
These drinks certainly aren’t the only options available. Depending on your preferences and resources, you can mix the flavours and coffee-making techniques to suit your mood. Just remember: this is a way to treat yourself and an opportunity to detach for a few minutes. Whatever that looks like for you, go for it.