November 21, 2013

my favorite gift to give + a pumpkin spice latte recipe

From Cup to Cup's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: We believe that gift-giving should be done out of joy and excitement for the holiday season, and out of love for the recipient of our gifts, rather than the obligatory consumerism that so often plagues this time of year. It is our genuine hope that this guide will be helpful in finding just the right present to bestow upon the special people in your life. 

Coffee is kind of my best friend. 

Don't believe me? My wedding was coffee themed. My husband was a barista, and so was I for many years.

Still not convinced? My senior thesis in college was written on the health benefits of coffee. 

It is no wonder that my absolute favorite gift to give is that of coffee. I love bringing people lattes, making steaming mugs of the stuff when friends come over (particularly fellow moms), and gifting friends and family with the best invention known to, well.. to me: The AeroPress. 

The AeroPress works much like French press, only it is smaller and easier to clean, making it ideal for taking to the office, camping, or other travel.  Also, it results in a much smoother cup of coffee as compared to the French press and drip coffee due to the short duration of time that the coffee grounds are actually sitting in the hot water. The apparatus comes with 350 filters when first purchased which can be rinsed and reused (I use them each two or three times). If each filter is reused only once, that is still 700 cups of coffee you can enjoy before ever having to buy additional filters. There are also more permanent reusable filter options.

You can make a traditional cup of coffee by adding hot water to the AeroPress espresso shots, or you can create any variety of specialty coffee drinks, no fancy equipment needed.

How festive would it be to give the AeroPress with a bag of freshly roasted coffee, a fun mug, chocolate-covered espresso beans, or a homemade book of coffee drink recipes? Here is one to get you started:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not the pre-sweetened pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon maple syrup or 2 teaspoons agave nectar (or more if you like sweeter drinks)
1/8 teaspoon (a hefty sprinkle) of both cinnamon and nutmeg (freshly grated nutmeg is best here)
Small sprinkle cloves
¾ cup milk of your choice
1 or 2 shots AeroPress espresso

Instructions: Put the pumpkin puree, sweetener of your choice, and spices into a mason jar. Add the espresso (you can extract the espresso right into the mason jar). Heat the milk until almost boiling (about 2 minutes on high in the microwave), and pour it into the jar. Secure the lid tightly and shake until the ingredients have combined and bubbly, thick foam has formed on top of the drink. Sprinkle additional spices on the foam if desired.

AeroPress operating instructions: grind the coffee beans of your choice to a fine grind (about 20 seconds in an average, hand-held grinder). Then insert a filter into the filter cap, screw it onto the chamber, and fill the chamber with grinds according to the amount of shots you want to make (a scoop is provided for easy measuring of 1 to 4 shots). Fill the chamber with hot water (165- 175 degrees Fahrenheit) to the number which corresponds to the amount of scoops/shots. Next, stir together the water and grounds and allow the mixture to sit for about 10 seconds. Then, insert the plunger into the chamber, and slowly plunge it down into the grounds and water mixture; this should take 20 to 30 seconds.  To clean, unscrew the cap and press the puck of grinds out into the trash can or compost. Rinse before pulling the plunger back through. Done.

Happy caffeinating,  

Note: This entire post is my own opinion and in no way is it sponsored by Aeropress, nor do they know who I am, for that matter.

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