Category Archives: specialty coffees

Warming Coffee Drinks for the Dark Winter Days

Written by Lori Thiessen

My Dear Readers, the frost is on the meadow and we have all but hidden away in our respective burrows for the duration of this wintry weather. To help while away the hours, invite some close friends in for conversation and sample the following warming beverages.

The Polar Bear

Though there are many variations on this cocktail, most of them cold, I recommend the following concoction to warm the cockles of your heart. Pour into a heat-proof cup or mug:

  • 2 oz of Peppermint Schnapps
  • 3 oz of good quality hot chocolate
  • 3 oz of medium strength, good quality hot coffee

You may want to top the mixture with a dollop of whipping cream and a candy cane to give it a festive twist!

Christmas Coffee

Here’s a post festive dinner coffee that could double as dessert!

  • 6 cups strong, good quality coffee
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 1 organic, unsprayed orange studded with 3 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 1/2 tbsps of Van der Hum, tangerine flavoured liqueur
  • 1/2 cup of brandy
  • 1 cup of cream
  • freshly ground cinnamon

Put the first 6 ingredients into a heavy bottomed cooking pot. Set the heating element to low — just warm the ingredients, DO NOT BOIL.

In a metal soup ladle with an insulated handle, warm the brandy near the coffee. BE VERY CAREFUL. Hold the soup ladle full of warmed brandy over the cooking pot of coffee. Light a match and set the brandy aflame. Carefully pour the flaming brandy over the coffee.

Pour the coffee mixture into heavy mugs (your fine china teacups cannot handle this!). Place a spoon over a mug and slowly pour a little of the cream so that it floats on the top of the drink. Sprinkle with freshly ground cinnamon. Repeat with each mug. Serve.

Special Christmas Morning Coffee

This coffee is a great way to start your Christmas Day!

  • 10 cups strong, good quality coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup water

Whipped cream, optional. Frangelico, Amaretto or Bailey’s Irish Cream, optional. Freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg for topping. Milk and sugar for serving.

Brew your coffee in the regular way. Take the next 4 ingredients and put them into a small, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat. Pour mixture into the coffee. Stir well. Add Frangelico, Amaretto or Bailey’s, if desired. Pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream, if desired. Top with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

I hope these recipes will delight you and your friends and keep you warm.

Please remember to limit your alcohol intake during the Christmas holidays and be responsible. Call a cab if you’ve had too much.

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!

What the heck is a macchiato?

Written by Lori Thiessen

In my last entry, I drew up a list of slang words and phrases for coffee. Now, I’m going to try to tackle the tricky arena of coffee variety.

I don’t know about you but I get dizzy just reading the coffee menu when I walk into a coffee shop. Usually, I cop out and order a caffe latte or cappuccino because I have a vague idea what it is. So to help myself out and hopefully you too, I’ve done a little research on the different varieties of coffee.

Cafe Americano – Legend has it that Cafe Americano or Americano was invented as an insult to American soliders in Italy who were too wussie to drink espresso. It is a shot of espresso with lots of water added. Contrary to my belief, this isn’t just a fancy pants way of saying black coffee. Black coffee is brewed coffee so it is much less intense (some may say, bitter) than espresso.

Caffe Latte – A shot of espresso in lots of steamed milk (approximately 3 parts milk to 1 part espresso).

Cafe au Lait – Othewise known as brewed coffee with milk. In England if a server brandishes a coffee pot at you and asks, “Black or white?”, don’t take offense. White coffee is coffee with milk or cream in it.

Cappuccino – A variation on Caffe Latte. Espresso, steamed milk and frothy milk in equal quantities with sprinkles of cinnamon or chocolate on top. By the way, if you order a cappuccino or caffe latte after 11:00 am in Italy, you will get some desparaging looks or the barista will convince himself that he misheard you and give you an espresso. Milky coffee drinks are for breakfast time only.

Dry Cappuccino – A cappuccino with not so much frothy milk or steamed milk.

Espresso – Coffee beans that have been ground to a fine powder, then very hot water under high pressure is sent through the powder producing a coffee with a concentrated flavour and is generally served in a tiny cup.

Espresso Con Panna – Espresso with whipped cream on top.

Frappe – cold espresso with sugar, water and ice. Some places put in milk and top with whipped cream but however it’s made, a frappe is basically cold coffee.

Macchiato – A shot of espresso with LOTS of steamed milk (approximately 4 to 1).

Mocha – a cappuccino or a latte with a squirt of chocolate syrup added.

So there you have it, folks! This is in no way a complete list, but it’s a good primer on more common coffee varieties. So next time you wander into a coffee shop you can order with confidence.

Until next time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!