I used to be the person who couldn’t go to work without getting a hot drink from Starbucks. That stopped the day I went back to school for holistic nutrition. My body become gotten tired of their matcha lattes, but I hadn’t yet forced myself to quit them. Knowing I’d soon be in an environment full of healthified, like-minded school mates, the first day of school seemed like the best time to make the transition to tea.
I started with green tea, not willing to kick the caffeine just yet, then moved on to herbal, and finally quit caffeinated tea altogether. It wasn’t until I returned to Vancouver a year later that I craved warm elixir-type lattes and beverages, but of the healthy kind…with a specific type of plant-based mylk…and decaf espresso…and a specific sweetener…and, and and. More money spent and still my drink wasn’t ‘just right’. That’s when I decided these drinks were best prepared at home.
There’s something special about making a trip to your favourite coffee shop for a nice warm drink. It’s tradition. The people there are warm and welcoming, knowing you by name if you’re lucky. I do appreciate the nature of such an event, but as I’ve become better at drawing up hot drinks from scratch, I’ve craved staying home and creating them myself.
Of course, it’s really nice to make that trip to your favourite shop, but the more you stay home the more those trips feel like a special treat. Plus, once you get the swing of things in your own kitchen you’ll feel like a pro making things your shop could never concoct in their wildest dreams!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “My coffee never tastes the same as it does from the coffee shop”, or “I don’t have the time to prepare a drink from scratch”, or “I don’t have a travel mug I like to carry my hot drink in”. I’ve heard all the excuses before, but you know that these are all minor changes that after a tiny bit of effort become second nature and not viable excuses anymore.
So, try it with me. Here’s what I suggest for creating your at-home cafe.
GIVE IT A NAME
The minute you give your home cafe a name it’ll feel like a separate entity, a place you can escape to concoct your personalized beverage. You’ll even find yourself inviting people over to “Chez ___” for a warm tea, coffee, or latte while you gab (or bitch) about life. Make it something fun, personal, and alluring.
TIP: Work your name into the cafe name somehow. Take ownership of your cafe and earn those bragging rights.
CREATE A MENU
Start small with your menu and as you become more comfortable with preparing the basics, move on to more creative endeavours like flavoured lattes, elixirs, and alternative mylks. Name your drinks, too! Personalize them for yourself and include one for each member of your family so you can all share in the fun.
TIP: Start by copying your favourite items off the menu at your coffee spot. Research other menus and drinks you really like and add them on only once you’ve mastered their preparation.
HAVE OPTIONS AVAILABLE
Sure, every cafe needs the basics. But in today’s world, choice is a must! I’m talking spices, superfood powders, fats, and sweeteners. Here’s what I keep in my pantry that I frequently use in hot beverages:
Spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, sea salt, and turmeric
Superfood powders: maca root, goji berries (for blending), beetroot, raw cacao, and collagen
Fats: almond butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, and cacao butter
Sweeteners: pure vanilla extract or vanilla powder, maple syrup, raw honey, peppermint extract, and coconut nectar
TIP: Don’t go out and buy all the things. Buy one thing at a time as you need it, or as you expand your menu.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CAFE
You want to make this place last, so quality over quantity is best. Get your favourite bag of coffee, splurge on a tool or trinket for your cafe that allows you to prepare your specialty coffees, use a different set of mugs, put up a cute sign with your favourite ironic quote on it. Keep it simple, but make it your own and to top it off, find your favourite spot in the house to sit and drink that specialty bev and declare it your own, because let’s face it…enjoying it’s the best part!
TIP: Develop a routine and enjoy your beverage mindfully, being grateful for every sip and experiencing all the flavours it has to offer.
LEARN BY DOING
Watch a couple of videos, read some recipes, research which tools to use, follow some coffee gurus or nutritionists on Instagram for some new ideas and practice, practice, practice. Try not to get discouraged throughout the learning process and don’t be afraid to try new things. Go off the book and adapt a recipe to suit your preferences, see what happens. You never know until you try.
TIP: If you’re starting from scratch with kitchen gear, do your research and talk to as many people as you can to make sure you get the right tools for you without overdoing it. You won’t need much to get started.
In case you need more convincing to stay home for your next pick-me-up, check this:
you’ll save loads of money
you can wear whatever you want
you can talk about whatever you want without running the risk of someone overhearing
you can listen to your own music, whatever you want
you’ll make good use of your own wifi (that you already pay for)
Time to get creating. Good luck with this and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about it!