When I was growing up, there were no coffeehouses in this country. Now it seems impossible to imagine a world without them on every block. What were all those retail spaces before they became coffee shops? Did people carry around mugs of coffee that they brewed at home? Had the average person ever tried a cappuccino?
The first coffee shop opened in our neighborhood when I was an early teen. I remember that my mom was particularly exuberant about the addition to the local thoroughfare. She commented on how nice it would be that like Europeans, we would have a place to socialize other than bars. I probably rolled my eyes. Little did I know that over the next few decades, coffee shops would become a central focus of my life as a place to earn spending money, study, gather with friends, interview for jobs and hold casual client meetings.
Today, coffeehouses are an inseparable part of our daily culture. There is an entirely new vocabulary surrounding coffee (I still don’t understand what was wrong with the old size descriptors “small, medium and large”), not to mention all the accessories needed to support the movement – coffee cozies, flavored syrups and insulated mugs.
Coffee knowledge and preferences have changed, and for many, this has created unbreakable habits. If you are hooked on skinny, venti, extra foamy, almond cappuccino, you can bet you aren’t the only one. Every now and then, when you don’t feel like taking off your pajamas, or if you want to give your pocketbook a rest, you should let your inner barista out! Though making espresso drinks requires some special equipment, good quality coffee has become easy to find, and making your own flavored syrups is easy. Stay home and make your own fancy drink. You’ll even be able to sip it out of your favorite old mug.
For the almond syrup
Almond syrup is also delicious in lattes, café au lait or plain coffee.
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¾ teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Almond Extract
- Put the sugar and the water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir regularly while bringing to a boil
- Reduce heat and boil for a few minutes until all sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Add the Spice Islands® Pure Almond Extract and stir. For stronger flavor, continue to add ¼ teaspoon of additional extract until desired flavor is achieved.
- Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Use it in coffee drinks, cocktails or tossed with fresh fruit.
For the almond cappuccino
- Double shot of espresso
- Approximately 1/3 cup milk
- Approximately 1/3 cup milk foam
- 2 teaspoons almond syrup
- Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon (optional, for topping)
- Put almond extract at the bottom of your cup.
- Steam milk with a cappuccino maker or milk-frothing wand.
- Pour freshly brewed espresso into the cup.
- Top with equal parts hot milk and foam.
- Add additional almond syrup to your liking.
- If desired, sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa atop your cappuccino.