My oldest son recently had a very wise observation: “Daddy likes beer. Mommy really likes coffee.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Pre-COVID-19, my regular days included at least three cups of coffee — and during two-job days, that amount could jump to four or five. But my coffee drinking came to a sudden halt with the pandemic. There were no more train rides to work to bring a thermos of coffee on, no more stops at one of the seemingly 16 coffee places near my train station, and no more office coffee pot.
After a few weeks home, I had to find a way to spice up my coffee drinking. I was so used to alternating between hot and iced, regular and lattes, and the occasional fancier drink. My idea to buy a basic Nespresso with fancy milk frother was met with disdain by my non-coffee-drinking husband. (I know — how am I married to someone who doesn’t drink coffee?!) So I had to find a way to spice things up at the coffee pot with what I had on hand and with what I could easily get in the midst of a pandemic.
Here’s what I came up with.
When you crave a fancy drink: salted cold foam iced coffee
My favorite fancy drink of the last year has been the Starbucks salted cold foam cold brew. (I feel like if you are able to say it correctly on the first try, you should get it for free.)
Creating an at-home version includes some planning. You need to pick up iced coffee from the refrigerated section of the supermarket — or make your own. You also need to procure the Reddi-Wip sweet foam coffee topper (which is an amazing product) or, in a pinch, a can of whipped cream.
Pour yourself a glass of iced coffee, then top it with the Reddi-Wip sweet foam or whipped cream, and then sprinkle two dashes of salt across the top, making sure it is well distributed.
When your children have reached your last nerve: naptime latte
So you don’t have a fancy Nespresso and its even fancier milk frother. It’s OK. We can make do. Make a cup of coffee. Take 3 oz. of your preferred milk (this can be adjusted for your taste), and warm it in the microwave. Then whisk the hot milk until you get foam, and pour it on top of your coffee. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy. Is it the same as a fancy coffee shop? No. Will it make do when you’ve finally gotten your kids to take a nap and you desperately need a special treat that’s caffeinated? Yes.
(Oh, and if you want to take it up to a whole other level, spread Nutella inside the cup before making your coffee.)
When you really miss iced coffee and your cold brew attempts fail: the best KCup iced coffee
I am a long-time Keurig owner, but until recently I could never find a way to make acceptable iced coffee with it. Luckily, a few weeks into the pandemic a recipe arrived in my email that changed this. Dunkin’ sent out a bunch of “at-home” recipes, including an iced coffee cup. It uses a regular K-Cup instead of the special iced ones and just requires a few minutes of patience. It saved my sanity when I was in between grocery runs and really wanted an iced coffee.
Although we can now get out and go more places than before, these recipes are always great to have in your back pocket. Even after the pandemic, there will always be times you can’t leave the house or are trying to cut back on your coffee spending!