Better Than Starbucks Day #2: Creating an At-Home Cafe
When she came to my house, I knew she was looking for support and a few (OK, maybe more than a few) laughs. But as Tonya came into my kitchen, she revealed her true purpose for being there, “I knew you’d have good creamer for the coffee…”
Even if you don’t love coffee, I think it’s important to have a basic set up for when friends and family come over and need a cup. Not want a cup. Need a cup.
In my house it’s:
(And let’s be clear. On bad days, number’s 2 and 3 can get switched.)
When my friend Bronwyn moved from our hometown to an Austin suburb, she left a lot of love. Girls who “got” her and who she “got”. That’s hard stuff to leave. That’s until she found her new group: Her coffee group: “I felt the pain of loneliness until I found the gals here in TX I now share my Thursday mornings with. We rotate whose home we meet in and enjoy breakfast and the much needed fuel for our lives COFFEE together. It is during this time that we share life; the struggles, joys, frustrations and vent about all things we can’t take to our husbands. The coffee dates are the food for our souls.”
If she misses a Thursday coffee date, her husband Jason tells her to call her friends and go out, “You need them and I need you to be with them” he will say.
I LOVE having my own little cafe at home. I love having people over and mixing up new and fun drinks to try. Here are just a couple of things you may want to invest in to start your own at-home cafe:
Get Your Equipment Set Up
Frother When Tonya, heard that I was going to be talking about at home cafes, she posted on Facebook,”I was at IKEA and was going to buy another cruddy frother. I put it back because your’s was STELLAR. Please tell us what that one is.” I have tried many a frother, but my favorite is this Bon Jour Rechargeable. It actually froths the milk – not just moves it around. It gets nice and frothy and not only do my drinks taste great, they look AMAZING.
Espresso Maker An Aeropress Coffee Maker the BEST system for making espresso shots and is less than treating your family to Starbucks drinks and treats.
Have Some Choices One of the reasons that going to a coffee shop is such a great option is all the varieties of flavorings available. Here are a few items (besides the basics) you may want to get to set yourself up as an at home barista:
Good quality cocoa
Do you need to buy all these things at once? Of course not. Coffee with milk and some kind of sweetener will get you started. But, it’s fun to be “the coffee house” and let people experiment. Plus, even if you did go on a caffeine-induced shopping spree and bought all those fun extras, you could make up for it in a year with avoiding one Starbucks run a week.
Use Great Mugs Using your favorite mug, and having a few mugs put away for friends that are “their mug” at your house instantly makes your friends feel like they have a place in your home.
Yummy Treats are a Must When you make a loaf of banana bread at home, and then compare it to paying $2.25 for a single slice at Starbucks, you’ll feel like a genius for never leaving your house.
Learn Some Moves Ashley Row is a blogger over at www.joyfulthriftyhome.com who knows the secret to making all those great drinks we love: “I come from a family of coffee drinkers so it was no surprise when I became one myself. After college, I even worked as a barista in a local coffee shop where I learned all about making fun coffee house drinks. I no longer work there, but I do volunteer in my churches coffee shop where I still get to act as a barista. One of my favorite things is using the skills I learned as a barista to make make different kinds of coffee drink recipes and share them with family and friends.” Check out her excellent post on How to Make Coffee House Quality Drinks at Home
Tell me your favorite drink to make at home (and if you know it by heart, give us the recipe!) and you’ll be entered to win an ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP to MOPS for you or a friend! Enter by Friday midnight and we will announce a winner on Monday!
As part of our Clutter Free Morning Series, we are discussing quiet time. While quiet times are so specific to each person, and don’t necessarily have to happen in the mornings, it is a great way to start the day and get minds and hearts ready for the day. Kathi began really finding her heart more aligned with God by having her quiet time as part of her calendar each morning without fail.
Kathi gives us several encouraging tips on how to make quiet time a real thing no matter what stage in life you are in and how many people you have under foot each day.
If you’ve ever wished you could clear out your clutter, simplify your space, and take back your life, Kathi Lipp’s book has just the solutions you need. Building off the success of her The Get Yourself Organized Project, this book will provide even more ideas for getting your life and your stuff under control.
Kathi Lipp is the author of 16 books including Overwhelmed, Clutter Free, The Get Yourself Organized Project, The Husband Project, and Happy Habits for Every Couple. She is the host of Clutter Free Academy the Podcast! with Kathi Lipp and speaks at conferences across the US. Kathi is also the creator of Communicator Academy and Leverage: The Speaker Conference, both designed to help writers and speakers become the communicator God has created them to be.
Better Than Starbucks- Day #1 Don’t Go Broke on the Beans
Today is the first day in our five part series on saving money by making great coffee at home. People have a hard time believing me, but it’s true – I like the coffee I make at home just as much as I love my Grande nonfat misto which I consider the best kept secret at Starbucks. So when I’m out with friends, or traveling, I happily order my favorite drink, but you can tell how much I’ve cut down my Starbucks runs because the barista recently came up to the window and said, “Kathi! I thought I recognized the hum of the motor on your car! We’ve missed you!” Now that’s frightening.
All week we will talk about not just saving money, but making the at-home coffee experience the best it can be so Starbucks can stay a treat – and not have to be a necessity.
Saving Money on the Beans
Check the Sale RackRecently, I’ve seen my favorite brands of coffee on sale in the back of our supermarket (you know, that weird looking shelf that has the unsold Easter candy and
matzo on it.) Just this week they had my favorite blend of Starbucks Decaf (Blonde) on the shelf for 50% off. So that $8.99 bag is marked down to $4.49, plus I get a free tall drip coffee at any Starbucks by turning in the bag. (A tall drip is $1.85 which is a drink I would normally order there while driving or traveling, bringing the price of my beans down to $2.64. Huzzah!!!) I bough six bags- which should supply my decaffeinated needs for several months.
Keep Your Ear to the Ground (or the Web) Subscribe to money saving sites like Money Saving Mom to find out about all the coffee deals going on out there. Crystal has a network of women who are out looking for deals for you, so you won’t miss valuable coupons like this one for $2 off 2 bags of Starbucks beans If I’d seen that coupon before buying my decaf beans, hat would have lowered my price to $1.64 a bag.
Stretch those Beans Once you’ve made your first pot of coffee, don’t throw away your coffee and filter. Just add about 50% more ground coffee the next day and I bet you won’t even taste the difference. (And once you’ve stretched it to two days, go ahead and add those grounds to your outdoor plants as a natural fertilizer.)
Use Expired Beans No one has ever died from using expired beans, and unless your one of those people who is so picky about your coffee you travel with your own coffee pot, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. The decaf coffee I bought has three months until the “Sell Date”. Don’t believe them. My daughter’s boyfriend worked at Starbucks and saved up about a dozen of the bags that employees get once a week for free (plus a mug and other fun goodies) and gave it all to me for Christmas. Because I had just laid in a supply of beans, I had more coffee than a girl could handle. (Hard to believe, but true.) I lived off that coffee for over a year and never detected a drop in the quality of the beans.
Use Beans You Don’t Like Remember that bag of beans you bought at Costco of French Roast that were SOOO cheap and what a genius you felt like for saving money, but then you got them home and realized they were WAY too strong? Oh, just me then? Anywho… I took those beans, ground up some, and mixed them with a light roasted coffee that I bought that normally would be too weak – turns out the custom blend was perfect.
Choose a Finer Grind The finer you grind, the less coffee you can use to get the same results. Experiment with grinding to a powdery consistency and see if you can use less beans.
Make Your Coffee Last It’s tempting when your coffee has grown cold to just want to make a new pot. Instead, make your coffee last as long as possible by using insulated containers to keep it totally drinkable.