When we joined forces with Breville Canada for some sponsored posts, I immediately knew that I wanted to make at least one cold and one hot espresso-based drink recipe to showcase this amazing espresso machine. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am with our Barista Express. There’s a slight chance I might be caffeinating a little too much lately. Can I blame it on educating myself as an at-home barista and doing a wee bit of taste-testing? 😉
First…the cold one.
I started out with a cold espresso-based drink recipe. Why cold? Well, because I wanted the hot drink to include latte art, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that just yet.
Our “Great Canadian Frozpresso” was a hit at home and on the blog! This drink resembles many of the blended espresso drinks at popular coffee shops. Our twist was that we sweetened it with maple syrup during the blending process. In case you’re wondering, the cold temperature doesn’t hide the coffee flavour, so be sure to use quality fresh beans and grind them just before using them. Not all beans are created equally. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.
After lots and lots of research, I came to the conclusion that there’s a lot more to the “art” part than just the final design on the top of the drink. All the conditions and technique need to be spot-on to make a great latte. It starts with perfectly pulled espresso with just the right amount of crema. The second step is to steam your milk without creating large bubbles until it resembles wet paint when you swirl it in the stainless steel milk jug. The last step is to carefully pour the milk into the expresso base. The height and pour speed matter a lot!
Now for the hot one…
For our hot espresso-based beverage recipe, I decided to go with a grown-up drink. Hello Kahlúa! I know that sweetening coffee with Kahlúa is nothing new….and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I wanted to add a different element to how we used the Kahlúa in our coffee. I wanted to texture the micro-foam with the Kahlúa instead of adding it later to the finished coffee. Would it work?
The answer is yes, but it was a bit of a fail before getting there. I couldn’t seem to texture the milk properly (not getting the wet paint consistency). Then I had the ah-ha moment! I know that it’s important to use very cold milk to get the right micro-foam, and here I was adding room temperature Kahlúa to the cold milk. So for my next attempt, I poured the Kahlúa into the milk jug first and placed it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can keep the bottle in the fridge. I then added the milk to the jug and proceeded to texture the milk. This was perfect!
My design? Well… 🙂
As you can see in our picture, my design is still far from perfect, so I won’t try to teach our readers how to make beautiful designs. I’m getting the gist of it, but I have a lot of practicing to do still. I’m ok with that.
I can confidently say that I have the right tools to for the job. Our Barista Express makes an amazing coffee and perfect micro foam–which is what a latte is all about. So the design work on top…that’s in my hands, and that’s secondary to me.
But I’m stubborn and persistent. I’ll keep practicing my design work and I’m sure I’ll be making trees, flowers and hearts in no time.
Now get out there and learn a new skill! As always, don’t forget to eat drink (responsibly) well, friends!
Café Style Kahlúa Latte
- 1 double shot espresso, quality coffee and freshly ground
- 1 cup very cold whole milk (3.25% fat) (feel free to use lower fat content milk)
- 1 1/2 oz (45ml) very cold Kahlúa
- Using the espresso machine, run a single shot of water into the cup you'll be using for the latte, without the portafilter. This clears up any left-over grinds and heats the cup at the same time.
- Rinse the cup and pull a double shot of espresso into the cup you'll be using for the latte.
- Combine the cold Kahlúa and cold milk in the milk stainless steel milk jug.
- Purge the steam wand of any water first. Once you see only steam, move on to the next step.
- Steam the milk using the expresso maker's steam wand. Start with the wand on an angle with the tip just under the edge of the milk. The milk will start to expand. Avoid big bubbles by lifting the jug a touch if necessary.
- Keep one hand on the base of the milk jug while steaming. Once the milk has expanded to about 1 1/2 times it volume, lift the jug so that the steam wand is still angled and is no longer expanding the milk. You should see the milk swirl around. This will last step help the microfoam wet paint consistency by minimizing any bubbles on top.
- The milk is ready when the jug becomes too hot to touch (careful not to go beyond this point to avoid burning the milk), shut the steam, wipe down the wand and purge (run the steam for 2 or 3 seconds to clear the wand tip of any leftover milk residue).
- Tap the jug a little on the counter a carefully swirl to remove any last few bubbles.
- Hold the cup with the coffee in one hand and use your other hand to carefully pour the milk over the coffee. Start by pouring straight into the middle, lift the jug a touch to create a longer milk stream and then bring it back down. The last quarter of the cup is where the latte art magic happens.
- Now sit down on your comfy couch, turn on some tunes and sip your delicious latte. Enjoy!