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Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Review – Espresso, Cappuccino & Latte Maker

After my Delonghi Cappuccino Maker bit the dust (I consistently tamped too hard, which ended up breaking the machine over 2-3 years), I researched a new replacement cappuccino maker. After looking over many options, including some pod machines, I settled on Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Maker – it makes espressos, cappuccinos and lattes!

My Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Review

I’ve been using Mr. Coffee Cafe now for eight months – I got it at Christmas 2017. I was a little concerned about getting it at first, because one reviewer on Amazon said that it suddenly started curdling their milk, making a huge mess. Then I remembered that the only thing which curdles milk is heat and vinegar – I concluded that the user must have run vinegar through their machine to clean it, and some residual vinegar must be remaining in the machine. No other reviewer has had that problem.

Noisy Cappuccino Makers

My Delonghi Cappuccino Maker was great, but it was very loud, and sometimes we have guests trying to sleep near our kitchen, so noise is a concern. The main reason I did not get the newest Delonghi was because several reviewers mentioned that it vibrated so powerfully it moved the whole machine along the counter, causing the coffee cup to fall of it, etc. So I knew I did not want that.

I asked in the questions about Mr. Coffee Cafe, and was told it was not loud.

They were wrong. I love my Mr. Coffee Cafe, but it is very loud. Not only is it loud when you pull your espresso shots, but if you make a cappuccino or a latte then you have to run it a second time for it to self-clean steam through the nozzle. That part is just as loud, too. I concluded, having tried several cappuccino makers, that generally they are all loud.

Let me know in the comments below if you find one that is quiet like a cat’s purr.

Mr. Coffee Cafe

My favorite part of this machine is, of course, that it automatically steams and froths your milk directly into your mug – no more having to do that extra step with the extra cleaning involved. It’s really fun to watch the milk froth and pour into your mug before your espresso shots pull in – even if you don’t have a clear, glass coffee mug as shown in the product video.

cappuccino bird
Can you see the bird?

Every morning I have either a cappuccino or a latte, then when I stir, the foam forms a picture. I enjoy seeing which picture I can make out every morning – like cloud watching.

I enjoy an occasional espresso late in the afternoon.

Be aware that the lights will blink while the unit is heating up. It only takes a minute or less, but you have to wait for the lights to be solid and not blinking before it is ready to use.

I love that you can choose to push a simple button for espresso, cappuccino or latte and let the machine do the work. Or you can manually pull your espressos, manually add extra froth, as much or as little as you want, if you choose to hand-craft your coffee.

Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte!

None of my previous cappuccino machines made latte, too. I love making lattes, they are so delicious. Keep in mind, though, that lattes use a LOT of milk, so you’ll run through your milk very fast.

This machine works equally well with cow’s milk as well as nut milk and creamers. When I make my own homemade cashew milk creamer, I just have to make sure it’s liquidy enough and not too thick, which will clog and strain the machine. You will learn over time which milks make the best froth. Cow’s milk wins every time, but coconut creamer does a great job as does my cashew creamer. Almond milk and creamer makes almost no froth and doesn’t taste good in coffee.

I’ve made 1-4 coffees a day since last Christmas, and my machine is working perfectly. Cleaning is easy. After I use up all my milk in the milk container, I rinse out the top mechanical part well and run the bottom, clear container through my dishwasher (or hand-wash it).

On a daily basis, when you are done making your coffee, you pull out the milk container and store it in the fridge – remember to do that every time!

Also, one user suggested buying a replacement little rubber tube piece (part of the top milk container) in case you lose or break it, so that you can keep making coffee. That clear rubber tube pops off for easy cleaning. I haven’t followed this tip because I have four other ways to make my morning coffee, so I’ll buy a replacement if and when I need one.

Also, make sure to keep an eye on the water tank in the back of the machine – don’t let it ever get below an inch. I accidentally tried to pull a coffee when my water tank was almost completely empty – I panicked and filled it while the machine was running, and I haven’t yet seen any adverse effects. But generally you never want this to happen!

Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Maker

Mr. Coffee Cafe Cappuccino and Latte Maker comes with a cute little recipe booklet with all sorts of fun recipes for espressos, cappuccinos and lattes, including alcoholic drinks. I’ve tried a few and they are a lot of fun. Be sure to experiment with your favorites roasts, grinds and brands of coffee, and share any recipes you’ve come up with below.

You can buy the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker on Be sure to watch it – sometimes the price goes down to a great sale. But even at its full price this machine is worth it.





Where to Buy Lavazza Coffee – Best No Sugar Coffee

I was speaking with my accountant. She was drinking an espresso, black.where to buy lavazza coffee

“I can’t do that,” I said. “Black coffee is too bitter for me, I need sugar at least.”

“This is Lavazza,” she answered. She explained that Italian-made Lavazza coffee is so smooth you can drink it without any sugar and it’s not bitter.

I tried it and it’s now one of my absolute favorite coffees of all time – one of the best coffees in the world, I would say. You CAN actually drink Lavazza black without any sugar added. (It’s also good with sugar and cream.)

Here’s where to buy Lavazza coffee.

1st in Coffee

The awesome coffee website 1stincoffee offers many choices for Lavazza coffee. As always I recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself for the best coffee experience. But you can purchase Lavazza ground as well as whole bean.

I like the Super Crema, but you’ll want to try all the Lavazza choices, both espresso and regular roasted beans. There’s a smooth, berry-like flavor in Lavazza which is immensely satisfying. I’m currently enjoyed Perfetto Espresso Roast.

1stincoffee has a best-seller three package sampler, a great way to try out Lavazza coffee.

Make sure to check out the wide variety of gourmet coffee 1st in Coffee offers. You will find everything a coffee-lover drools over here, from beans to coffee makers to needed tools, like coffee bean grinders.


Of course carries Lavazza, too. They also have a wide selection and competitive prices. They have a four-pack for you to try out several flavors of Lavazza coffee.

Amazon even offers Lavazza K-cups for the Keurig.

Walmart also carries Lavazza coffee with prices comparable to

Local Grocers

Lately I’ve been getting my Lavazza from our local grocer, King Sooper’s. Be sure to check the coffee isle to see if you can get it with your normal grocery shopping.

Your Life Will Never be the Same

Now you know where to buy Lavazza coffee – give it a try and comment below your thoughts and which Lavazza roasts and flavors you like best.







Cold Brew vs Hot Brew Coffee – Which is Better?

Cold Brew coffee has been getting a lot of hype lately. We know it is less acidic, cold brew vs hot brew coffeebut does it have the health benefits of hot brewed coffee? Here we’ll examine cold brew coffee vs hot brew coffee – which is better?

Health Benefits of Coffee

Yes, coffee does have health benefits! That’s great news. Most of the studies done on the health benefits of coffee, however, were done just on hot brewed coffee. There haven’t been as many studies yet performed on cold brewed coffee, or on cold brew vs hot brew.

Benefits of Hot Brew Coffee

hot coffeeRegularly-brewed or hot brew coffee has large amounts of antioxidants and healthy, natural oils. We all know it’s a stimulant, gives energy and boosts focus. Coffee improves several areas of brain function, increasing happy mood as well as energy, memory and general cognitive function. Read the science behind it here.

Coffee improves our performance in workouts and helps burn fat. It also contains several vitamins and minerals, small amounts of Vitamins B2, B5, Manganese and Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin (Vitamin B3). The percentages are small, but many of us drink more than one cup a day.

Coffee is considered one of the healthiest parts of the Western diet. Besides the large amount of antioxidants (more than in many fruits and veggies combined), studies show that it helps protect against stroke, it may lower the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Type II Diabetes. It elevates mood and helps against depression.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

People love cold brew coffee because it reduces the acidity of coffee, creating an amazingly smooth taste. The lower acidity aids in digestion and is better for your teeth. It’s easy to make – can be made with a jar – and keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cold brew makes a coffee concentrate that you can drink straight, like espresso, or you can water it down to your taste and preference with cream, milk or water. It can be drunk hot or cold. It is absolutely delicious.

One of my favorites is the Nitro Cold Brew you can get at Starbucks and craft coffee houses. Like beer, the coffee is charged with nitrogen, creating a rich, nitro cold brew coffeecreamy head at the top of the cup. It adds a hint of natural sweetness to the already-smooth cold brew and is silky in the mouth – yummm.

Cold Brew Coffee vs Hot Brew Coffee

Because cold brew coffee is brewed at cold or room temperature, not as many of the antioxidants will be removed from the coffee into the water. The delicious, aromatic oils and acids from coffee molecules extract best at temperatures ranging from 195-205 degrees – hot brewed, in other words.

Again, not much scientific research has yet been done on comparing these two methods of coffee brewing. Overall, there doesn’t seem to be much difference as to caffeine levels, and other differences are likely minimal.

Which do you need the most?

It comes down to personal preference. Do you desire the lower acidity and smoother taste? Or do you prefer drinking the maximum amount of healthy antioxidants and oils? Alternate cold brew vs hot brew in the cups you drink, and you’ll get the most benefits from both.






Best Sugar Free Starbucks drinks – yes, Starbucks and diet too!

StarbucksMany of us have learned the amazing benefits of going off sugar and are following various eating and diet plans which reduce or eliminate sugar. I have done the Belly Fat Cure, the Keto diet and am now following the Paleo eating plan. Yet I love my Starbucks! Here are the best sugar free Starbucks drinks – yes we can diet and enjoy our Starbucks, too.

Truly Sugar Free Starbucks Coffee

Sometimes I’m more strict than others. If you need absolutely no or the lowest amount of sugar, try these. I say lowest, because Starbucks’ nut milks (and regular cow’s milk) have some sugar in them, some up to 9 grams per serving.

For a Starbucks coffee with no/low sugar, ask for the Ristretto Latte. You can get the ristretto in other forms, too, like espresso. I prefer the latte.

Ristretto is Italian for “restricted.” The barista pulls the shot for a smaller amount than a full espresso. It’s a short, or restricted, shot of espresso using less water. So you get a smaller, more concentrated flavor that is sweeter and richer (as in, not bitter).

Ristretto drinks are light enough that you do not need any sugar to sweeten them. I have a sweet tooth, so I get mine as a latte with half almond milk and half soy milk – these provide enough sweetness.

Another new option they have is the Blond Cappuccino. It also is smooth enough you can enjoy it without any syrups or sweeteners added. You can get the Blond espresso shot in any drink to make it lighter and more naturally sweet.

Sugar Free Starbucks Syrupscoffee syrups

It is unfortunate, but in my city Starbucks no longer carries most of their sugar-free syrups. They have maybe one or two. Usually Vanilla Sugar Free Coffee Syrup and Caramel. Sometimes they’ll have Cinnamon Dolce instead of Caramel. You will have to ask at your local Starbucks which sugar free syrups they carry.

Note that Dutch Bros has sugar free options for all of their coffees.

Using sugar free coffee syrups is considered a cheat on the paleo diet, so consider if this is allowed on your eating plan or not. I allow myself this cheat once in a while because I love my Starbucks (and Dutch Bros).

This summer the Cascara Cold Foam Brew was the featured flavor. I looked it up on my Starbucks app and saw that they use vanilla syrup in making this (and it doesn’t taste very sweet, so maybe they don’t use a lot). So when I order it now, I ask them to use the Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup instead.

Today I got the Salted Sweet Cream Cold Foam Brew. I asked for sugar free or low sugar options, and the barista made up some sugar free foam just for me. I usually don’t mind a tiny sprinkling of cascara sugar or salted caramel on top.

The lesson is – always ask. The baristas at Starbucks are great at helping you reduce sugar in any of their drinks where’s it’s possible.

Low Sugar Starbucks Drinks

Starbucks sugar free

This summer my friend and I stopped at a Starbucks in Boulder. We wanted the Green Tea Frappuccino, and asked them how to lighten the sugar. The barista told us that the frappuccino base itself has sugar in it, so she suggested that we just hold off on any added syrups. We did that and it was plentifully sweet and delicious. A few weeks later we went in again and discovered that Starbucks have now stopped serving syrups in the Green Tea Frappuccinos. It doesn’t need it! But double check when ordering – not all Starbucks are the same.

Try these for something special. I’ve never found a sugar free Toffee Nut at a Starbucks, so I do the other syrups sugar free and allow that one flavor be full sugar:

Butterbeer Latte: ask for a latte (however you like it with whichever milks). Ask for 1-3 pumps of Toffee Nut and 1-3 pumps of sugar free caramel (take it with as few pumps as you can but still enjoy the drink).

Butterbeer Frappuccino: ask for a frappuccino (however you like it with your milks) with 1-3 pumps Toffee Nut syrup, 1-3 pumps sugar free caramel and 1-3 pumps sugar free Cinnamon Dolce. I always allow the whipped cream and salted caramel syrup on top.

Stevia Option

The simplest option for a truly sugar free Starbucks drink is to get any of their drinks you like with no syrups at all, then go inside, get one of their free Stevia packets, and stir it in (or take it home and stir in your own stevia).

Sugar Free and Starbucks too

It’s not hard to continue your no to low sugar eating plan and enjoy a Starbucks once in a while. Just decide how much sugar or cheating you’ll allow yourself, and try out these various options. Comment below if you have one you love the best.






Turkish Coffee Beans – actually from Turkey

So you’ve discovered the sublime flavor of Turkish coffee cooked in an ibrik with a hint of cardamom. But where to get actual Turkish coffee beans from Turkey?

Arab MarketTurkish coffee beans ground

Look what I found in a local Arab market? My husband and I noticed a little Arab food market and decided to check it out. I got a can of real Turkish Coffee made in Istanbul – these Turkish coffee beans come finely ground. At the market they also had broken pieces of sugar – both white and yellow saffron sugar. They were like irregularly-shaped sugar cubes. The grocer said in some Arabian countries people like to place one of these on their tongue and keep it there while they sip their unsweetened black coffee or tea. Others put a cube directly into their coffee or tea cup, like the English do.

I came home and immediately made Turkish coffee with my ground beans from Istanbul in my ibrik. It was very good, but very strong – almost too strong for me, and I’m used to strong. Also, the flavor wasn’t as smooth as I prefer. It is super-fine ground with a strong, dark, smokey flavor, similar to the slightly burnt-coffee taste you find in Starbucks shots. Because it is so strong I prefer this one with a little cream.

Amazon and Online Markets

If you want to try this or other Turkish coffee, ground or whole, and don’t have a local Arab market, you can order several kinds right from Amazon or other online shops. Amazon carries this brand I tried, Kurikahveci Mehmet Efendi Turkish Coffee. They also offer several other brands, some with the ground cardamom already in the grounds.

Arabica Coffee Beans

When it comes down to it, any beans grown in Arabic regions would be perfectly authentic for Turkish coffee. I contend, having made many cups from all regions and brands of coffee, that Turkish coffee is delicious made with any coffee beans. Everyone has their own preference and taste, so I encourage experimentation – which are your favorite coffee beans in making Turkish coffee?

Also, grinding coffee beans fresh right before brewing is always best. But you can use pre-ground or grind enough for a week at a time and store in a jar in a cool, dark cupboard.

Making Turkish Coffee

I believe the magic is in the method of preparing Turkish Coffee. Using an ibrik is fun and inexpensive, but if you don’t have one you can follow my instructions in this post: How to Make Turkish Coffee without an Ibrik

Turkish coffee is traditionally made in a shallow pot filled with sand. But we can use the ibrik right on our stove top:

  1. Measure 1 spoonful/coffee scoop of ground coffee per cup of water. Fill your ibrik only to 3/4 full or less, so it has room to froth up.
  2. Add some sugar if you like, I recommend one teaspoon. Add a sprinkle or up to 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom, for traditional Turkish Coffee, or any ground spice you prefer (I love cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg). Use only one spice at a time.
  3. Let this boil on your smallest burner on the stove top. It may take 5 minutes or so to come to a boil, depending on the amount you’re making. Watch it carefully and either lift or move your ibrik over as it froths up and just before it spills over.
  4. As it dies down a little, move it back onto the heat and bring it to a boil a second time. Let it boil for several seconds for the sugar to melt and dissolve into the coffee.
  5. Pour into your mug, grounds and all. Let it sit 30-60 seconds to cool and for the grounds to settle. You may pour it through a fine-mesh strainer if you want almost no grounds in your mug. If you want cream, add it right after pouring, but traditionally this coffee is drunk black with a little sugar.
  6. Enjoy your Turkish Coffee, and do not sip all the way to the bottom if the grounds are there!

Which is your favorite?

Did you use Turkish coffee beans or other beans? Freshly ground or pre-ground? Which spices? Leave your comments and pictures below!






Cappuccino Recipes for Espresso Machines from a Coffee Cat

So you have your new espresso maker and want delicious cappuccino recipes for your espresso machine? See below for several to sip and savor.

Traditional Cappuccinocappuccino recipes espresso machines

We’ll start with basic cappuccino. Sometimes the classic is all you want.

Once you are familiar with using an espresso machine, you’ll be ready to go. On your machine, select the cappuccino setting. Choose whether to pull one shot or two shots of espresso into your cup. I prefer mine a little sweet so I put a teaspoon of sugar into my cup BEFORE the espresso pours in, to help it start melting.

Then I stir it BEFORE adding the steamed milk on top. Use your machine’s wand or milk frother, if it has one, to pour the hot steamed, frothed milk or cream on top of your espresso.

If your machine doesn’t come with a frother, you can purchase separate products to create frothed milk. One of the best is a little metal pitcher with a frother attachment. You can also get a battery-powered wand frother. For either of these you have to heat up your milk first, then froth and pour into your cup.

For an extra touch, sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Now on for my own cappuccino recipes for espresso machines.

Spiced Cappuccino

Take the spice a bit further. Following the basic instructions above, add a teaspoon of spice of your choice to the grounds before pulling the shot with your machine. Several of my favorites are ground cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, anise, allspice, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg. Use only one at a time.

Spiked Cappuccino

This is for adults only. Instead of adding your sugar or sweetener to the cup before the espresso pours in, instead add half a shot to a shot of your favorite liquor. Some delicious options are Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Irish Cream, Anisette, Godiva Chocolate or a flavored vodka such as orange.

Flavored Cappuccinocappuccino

For a similar adventure which is non-alcoholic, use a favorite coffee syrup for sweetener. Try Almond, Hazelnut, Mocha, Lavender, Vanilla or Blueberry.

Another option, especially if you want sugar-free, is to use flavored liquid stevia, or any sweetener with regular baking flavorings like almond or vanilla.

Aztec Cappuccino

Okay, so the Aztecs didn’t drink cappuccino’s, but they did drink spiced sipping chocolate. Follow the basic cappuccino recipe above, but add a teaspoon or less of cocoa powder to the coffee grounds. Then sprinkle a pinch of chili powder on top of the espresso and/or the steamed milk on top. Or substitute cinnamon for the chili powder.

We’re just getting started

Stay tuned for more recipe posts from a Coffee Cat. And leave your favorites below in the comments!






How to Make Coffee Less Acidic

make coffee less acidicWe love our coffee and some of us love to drink lots of it. But too much, too strong or too caffeinated and it can mess up our digestion with too much acidity. Cultures around the world, though, have found preparation methods to make coffee less acidic. Plus they taste delicious, too.

Cold Brewcold brew coffee

When you make cold brew coffee, the overnight soaking reduces acidity by 67%, according to scientific study by Toddy. Plus cold brew is easy to make and smoothly satisfying. Simply take a large jar with a lid (I use a half-gallon jar), put in 1 spoonful or coffee scoop of grounds per 1 cup of water, filling the jar you have. Seal it and let it sit on the counter or in the fridge overnight.

In the morning strain out the grounds and voila! You have cold brew coffee. You may drink it cold or warm it up. Add any sweetener or cream you like.


The use of spices on the grounds as coffee boils help to reduce acidity and aid in digestion. Turkish Coffee is traditionally made with a pinch or more of ground cardamom. It is boiled together in the ibrik before drinking.turkish coffee with spices

You can add any spice you like to the grounds of any coffee maker. Fennel is a well-known spice which aids digestion and adds a delightful anise flavor. My other favorites are ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, nutmeg or cloves. Experiment and see which you prefer. Only use one at a time and you can add between a pinch to a teaspoon directly to the grounds.

Choose Low Acid Coffee

You can reduce acidity from the get-go by choosing carefully which brands, roasts and origins of coffee beans you buy. Some say “low acid,” “mild” or “easy on the stomach.” These beans have been processed in a way to reduce the acidity.

Some beans are naturally lower in acid, depending on where they are grown. Opt for coffee beans grown in Hawaii, Brazil, Sumatra, India and the Caribbean. Experiment and see which you prefer.

Dark Roastcoffee roasts

Dark roast coffee is roasted the longest – so more acid is reduced in the roasting process. Medium or light roasts will have more acid in them.

Watch the Grind

If you opt for coarser ground coffee, the less it will leach acidity into your cup. Opt for coarse ground over fine ground.

The Weirdest Way to Make Coffee Less Acidic – Egg Shells

This is a bit of strange coffee alchemy, but fun and effective. Boil your coffee grounds with water in a pot and add in several crushed egg shells. The egg shells help to absorb the acid. Use 1 spoonful or coffee scoop of coarse coffee grounds per cup of water.egg shells make coffee less acidic

Bring it all to a boil and let it simmer for five to seven minutes. Once it’s done, let it sit and cool while the grounds and egg shells settle. Then strain out the grounds and egg shells using a fine mesh sieve and/or a coffee filter or cheese cloth in a strainer.

Add whatever sweetener or cream you want, and enjoy.

Experiment with all these options to see what works best for you, both to make coffee less acidic and the most delicious. Once you’ve found the perfect cup, share with us below!






How to Make Turkish Coffee without an Ibrik

Turkish Coffee IbriksSo you’ve discovered the inexpressible delights of rich, smooth Turkish coffee, but you have no ibrik in which to make it? (The ibrik is the small copper pot with a long handle specifically for making this awesome coffee.) Here are simple instructions on how to make Turkish coffee without an ibrik – a simple small pot will do.

How Turkish Coffee is Traditionally Made

Traditionally Turkish Coffee is made with the little ibrik resting in a wide shallow pot full of sand. The fire under the pot heats the sand to a hot, even temperature. The barista puts the coffee grounds, water, a little sugar and a pinch of ground cardamom into the ibrik, then nestles the ibrik into the hot sand, moving it around as necessary for even heating.

They bring the coffee to boiling where the sugar magically dissolves and blends with the coffee. With skill, they move the ibrik or lift it just on time so it doesn’t boil over. They may bring it to a boil a couple of times.

Then they pour it into a tiny mug, grounds and all. It sits for a minute as the grounds settle and the coffee cools enough to drink. This is traditionally drank black with just a little bit of sugar. The recipient savors every delicious sip, being careful not to drink it all the way to the bottom where the grounds rest.

How to Make Turkish Coffee without an Ibrik

I highly recommend getting an ibrik. But until then, simply make this with a small pot on the stove. Use the smallest pot you have. Usually enough is made for one espresso cup, but I like to make enough for an American-size 8oz mug of coffee.

Put a spoonful or coffee scoop of grounds into your pot and measure in about a cup of water. Put in a teaspoon of any kind of sugar and from a pinch to a teaspoon (according to your preference) of ground cardamom.

Set your burner to medium and bring it to a boil. Turkish coffee can take up to five minutes. When it’s boiling, lift it a second, then place it back down to bring to a second boil.

Pour into your mug, let the grounds settle and the drink to cool, then enjoy! You may add cream if you want.

Buying an Ibrik

You can buy inexpensive ibriks at Ebay and and I highly recommend this. Turkish coffee is one of the best preparation methods and you will want to keep making it. I own both a tiny ibrik for one espresso cup and the 6-coffee ibrik which fills my 8oz mug perfectly. The ibrik is small and could be used when camping, too.

Making Turkish Coffee with an Ibrik

It’s fun using an ibrik. Follow the same directions (changing the amounts according to the size of your ibrik) to boil this coffee on your stove top. You want at least an inch of space from the top of the ibrik to where your water starts, because it needs room to boil up. Be careful to lift it on time before it boils over and makes a mess. Once the large first bubble pops I let it boil for a few seconds before pouring. Sometimes I move it to the side of the burner instead of lifting. The ibrik has a little pour spout to easily pour into your mug, and this pot can be quickly rinsed and scrubbed out – no scald marks like you’ll get in a regular pot.

The Magic of Turkish Coffee

Once you try Turkish Coffee with an ibrik you won’t want to go back. It’s a bit of heaven and is delicious enough to not need cream or milk. The cardamom helps to reduce the acidity and aids in digestion. You can also experiment with other spices occasionally, like cinnamon or fennel.


Different Types of Coffee – A Coffee World Tour

a Coffee Cat and ibrikMy husband teases me because I have at least five different methods and tools to make gourmet coffee at home. You don’t have to be rich to try out these delicious ways to brew good coffee. Each one is a taste adventure of its own. These are various methods for preparing delicious coffee – we’ll go into specific beans, roasts or recipes (like Butterbeer Latte), in another post. So we begin our coffee world tour to learn different types of coffee – off to beautiful Paris! (Say it with a French accent: pear-REE.)

French Press

Our first stop on the coffee world tour is France. A French Press is inexpensive and one of the simplest ways to make a delicious, rich brew. You can control how strong it is by the beans you choose, how much you put in, and how long you let it steep.

First of all, for the absolute best and freshest coffee taste (in all preparation methods), buy whole beans and grind them right before using. When in a hurry, however, you can use pre-ground from the store or grind a bunch once a week and store in a jar in a cool, dark cupboard.

For the French Press, measure in 1 regular spoonful (or coffee scoop) per cup for a nice, strong, coffee. Measure half if this comes out too strong – you will want to experiment to your own perfect taste. Same goes for which coffee beans you use (brand, origin, etc.) For a gourmet touch, you can add a teaspoon of your favorite spice to the grounds in the press – cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger and fennel are some of my favorites (use one at a time).

Get hot water boiling in your teapot. I usually make a full French Press pot at a time. But you can fill it only halfway, too, depending on how many cups you want to drink today. I pour about 1 cup of boiling water per cup of coffee I want (for American-size 8oz cups of coffee).

Pour the boiling water over the grounds inside your French Press. Place the lid on top, but do not push the handle down yet. Cover the whole thing with a thick towel or tea cozy to keep it hot, and let it steep for between 3-5 minutes – again, experiment to see which you like the best.

When your timer is up, slowly and carefully push the handle all the way down to force the coffee grinds to the bottom of the press (this is the “press” part). Now you can pour it into your favorite mug and add any cream or sugar you’d like. You can also pour it all into an insulated coffee carafe or thermos to keep the whole pot hot.

Simply rinse out the French Press when done. Occasionally I’ll remove the glass part from the metal casing and run it, along with the metal lid and press, in the dishwasher. You can compost the grinds, too, from all these different types of coffee preparations.

Kyoto Cold Brew

Now we’ll fly to Kyoto, Japan where coffee was cold brewed as early as the 1600s – the first known place where this method was used. Sometimes called Kyoto-style coffee, this is the simplest method for brewing coffee, but takes the longest. However, you don’t need electricity, so learn this one in case the zombie apocalypse comes someday.

For this method you only need a large gallon or half-gallon jar. Use 1/3 cup medium-coarse grind coffee per 1-1/2 cups of water. I use a large jar so this lasts me a while, but you can use a smaller jar and make enough for a couple of cups next morning.

Do this preparation before you go to bed. Put your grinds (and any fun spice you want) with the water into the jar. Seal it and let it sit either on the counter or in the fridge overnight.

Another benefit to cold brew coffee is that the acid of the beans is reduced by 67%, per a scientific study by Toddy. So it’s easier on digestion and teeth, even though it’s deliciously strong and smooth. This would be a great one to take camping, too.

Next morning simply strain with a fine sieve, a cheesecloth or coffee filter in a strainer and drink your coffee cold. Or strain and heat it up in a pot or microwave, if you want it hot. Once strained, you can keep it in the jar in the fridge all week.

On to our next country in exploring different types of coffee:

Turkish Coffee

Now we’ll fly to Turkey, waving to Greece on the way for this method found in both countries. The first coffee house opened in Turkey in the 1500s and this is the method they used. Traditionally they have a wok-type pan filled with sand. In alchemy this is called a Sand Bath. The fire under the pot heats the sand, which keeps a very hot, even temperature.

The barista pours the coffee grounds, a little sugar and the water into a tiny, copper ibrik. With Turkish coffee a pinch of ground cardamom is specifically added to the grounds as well – it helps to reduce the acidity and gives it an amazing flavor.

Like most countries on the Euro-Asian continent, coffee is drunk very strong in tiny espresso cups. Ibriks come in all sizes; I have a tiny one for a single shot of espresso. Most of the time I like a big, American cup, so I also bought the biggest ibrik I could find. It fills my 8oz mug beautifully (listed as a 5-cup ibrik). In Greece this little copper cauldron is called a cezve.

With the sand very hot, the barista nestles the ibrik into the sand, moving it around here and there so that the coffee heats evenly. They do this for about 5 minutes until the coffee starts boiling, naturally melting and mixing the sugar in with the coffee like magic. They lift the ibrik up out of the sand at just the right moment before it boils over, then they shift it back in and bring it to a boil again, once or twice.

The ibrik has a pour spout and the coffee, grounds and all, are poured into your favorite mug. It’s just been boiling so you can add a little cream or milk if you would like, but traditionally this is drunk black. It is so good you don’t need cream. Let it sit a minute in your mug while the grounds settle to the bottom and it cools enough to drink.

With this most amazing cup of coffee you cannot drink all the way to the bottom – stop right before you start sipping up grounds.

When I first discovered Turkish coffee and shared the method with my father-in-law, he exclaimed, “Oh, that’s Cowboy Coffee! They would boil it in a pot on the range.” Yes, pioneers and cowboys would boil coffee in a pot with water and probably sugar, but they didn’t add the cardamom or use an ibrik, so there.

Italian Brewed Espresso

Now off to Italy! When I first looked for a coffee maker to take camping, I discovered this sweet little gem. It is claimed to be used in every household in Italy – it is Italian-made, after all. It’s the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker, sometimes called Bioletti Moka Espresso Maker.

You can use this when camping or at home on your stovetop. Again, I got the largest one I could find, advertised as a 6-cup bialetti, but for me it makes exactly two American-size cups of delicious coffee (I sometimes like to put lots of cream and sweetener with my espresso shots).

You can use any kinds of beans with this, it doesn’t have to be espresso. This is a simple stovetop brewer that specializes in espresso-style coffee. Since it’s on the stovetop it may take 3-5 minutes, like the Turkish coffee. It’s as simple as unscrewing the top part, remove the filter piece, fill the bottom part with water to the fill line, scoop your coffee into the filter basket, nestle it in place in the bottom part. Then you screw the top back on and let it heat on the stovetop. It will boil and brew into the top part of the moka pot. You will hear it bubbling, and when the top part is full, the coffee is done.

This is a delicious coffee which I don’t find quite as strong a brew, but again, it depends on which beans you use and how much you scoop in (I use one scoop/spoonful per cup of coffee I want). But you will find this coffee, even with espresso beans, to be less strong than an espresso made with an actual espresso maker with 15 pounds of pressure.

Espresso, Cappuccino & Latte

So while we’re in Italy we’ll consider the most expensive option for delicious espressos and cappuccinos – it’s with a real espresso maker machine. These come in all price ranges, for both commercial and home use, as well as various sizes. I’ve done a lot of research into these and have tried three different ones. Delonghi is a brand you can trust, although mine didn’t last as long as it should have – I discovered too late that if you tamp too hard, over time it ruins the machine. When I got my new machine in December, 2017, I chose Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino maker for $200. You can get a decent espresso maker for around $100-$200. Fancier ones go from $500 up to $1,000 or more.

These machines are made to pull espresso shots – they have 15 pounds of pressure and do a great job at making real espressos. They offer a one-shot or two-shot grind basket. This is strong coffee, real espresso. The one I have makes lattes as well as espressos and cappuccinos, and I especially like that it steams and froths whichever milk I want automatically.
Your machine will come with instructions, and once you learn to work an espresso machine, most of them work about the same. They are simple and easy. Just be sure to tamp lightly!

For an espresso, simply do one or two shots, which pour directly into your tiny espresso cup; add a tiny bit of sugar if needed. Be sure to use freshly-ground espresso beans for the best flavor – even pre-ground espresso beans are better than normal coffee beans.

For cappuccino’s, you have to froth and steam your milk to pour on top. The Delonghi brand has a wand you swing out, place inside your little pitcher or cup of milk, and when you turn the knob it heats and steams/froths your milk, which you then pour on top of your espresso shot. If your espresso maker does not have an attached steamer wand, you can buy milk frothers – one of the best is a small metal pitcher frother, but you have to heat up your milk before you pour it in and pump the frother. Even a hand-held electric frother does pretty well – it’s not the best, but it’s an inexpensive and portable option. Again, you have to heat up your milk first.

These methods work with any kind of milk, but you will find that certain milks froth up much better than others. Real cow’s milk froths the best, whereas some of the nut milks hardly froth at all. Coconut Creamer works well, and I’ve had good success with my homemade cashew nut milk.

Coffee Passport

This is just an introduction to different types of coffee preparations. On this site I will explore more in the world of coffee – different coffee roasts, origins, recipes, grinds, and more methods. Grab your coffee passport, your favorite mug and let’s journey together.