Maybe it's the summer I spent in Florence watching olive-skinned baristas pour sepia hearts in my coffee, or the way the sea of tiny bubbles kiss my lips with each sip, but few things in life comfort me more than the cloud of frothy milk that tops a latte. When I was in Italy, I was a bit timid about speaking Italian. But, after a few mornings of ordering 'un caffe latte con zucchero un banco,' I slowly gained confidence in speaking to the locals. Even more so, I realized the beauty of taking time to pause and enjoy what was in front of me. Soon, I found myself sneaking away from friends to relax and and savor each sip of my foamy cup of coffee.
Since that summer six years ago, one could say I developed a bit of a foamy drink habit. I spent two years doing double duty, taking charge of my church's coffee ministry (we were serious about caffeine!) and working almost full-time as a barista. Because drinks were on the house, I was drinking between 2-4 lattes every day. Once I turned my green apron in, however, the free drinks stopped and I couldn't justify doling out $4.50 to get my fix all the time, even with a full-time job's salary.
Luckily, there's hope for my latte-loving heart. Recently, the folks at Mr. Coffee contacted me to see if I would give their Mr. Coffee® Café Latte maker a try. Admittedly, I was skeptical. I have fond associations with cups of soy foam, and I was worried that the end product wouldn't live up to my high expectations.
As it turns out, I had no need to worry. The machine itself not only easy to use, but it turns out beautiful, luxurious foam as well. It's also surprisingly quiet. As someone who's too familiar with the smell of burning milk and steam in her face, I was expecting the screeching hiss of steaming milk or something equally obnoxious once I turned the machine on. Instead, it made a faint whirling noise that couldn't even be heard in the next room. This is a blessing for me, as I've made myself several tea lattes and vanilla steamers in the wee hours of the night without waking up my roommate.
I took some videos to show y'all how quiet it is and what I'm talking about with this foam!
some of that foamy goodness...
I didn't have any major issues with the machine--it allows you to steam milk only [for hot chocolate or just a simple steamer of vanilla & milk], make lattes [ie brew coffee & froth milk all at once] and even brew & froth tea lattes [simply put tea bags where the coffee filter goes, add milk to the container and you're set!]. My only caveat would be that if you are used to strong espresso, you may want to add more than the recommended amount of espresso/coffee. By following the directions for a plain latte, my coffee was a little too weak for my tastes, as it tasted more like a cafe au lait (coffee with steamed milk) than a latte (espresso with steamed milk). Alternatively, you can also use a finer ground of coffee. One thing I learned in my barista days is that different brewers have different shaped filters which require different sized filters and varying sized grounds [typically espresso has finer grounds and French presses require coarser grounds].
And now for the fun stuff! In an effort to help you experience the comfort of gourmet lattes in your home without shelling out $5/latte, Mr. Coffee® brand is extending a special offer to your all of you: $10 off and free shipping on the purchase of a Café Latte at mrcoffeelatte.com. Enter promocode: MLAT10A [Can I get a woohoo?!].
...BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Win the grand prize of $500 or one of two Mr. Coffee® Café Latte makers in our Pinterest contest! Help us bring the coffeehouse home by sharing your ideal coffee home, whether it’s the perfect mug, your favorite chair or the essential soundtrack. Get brewing and get pinning! http://pinterest.com/mrcoffee/
Disclosure: I was given a Mr. Coffee® Café Latte maker and kit to review by Mr. Coffee®. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I am extremely selective about the products and brands I work with and was not compensated for this post.
Though I tested out quite a few drink recipes with my machine, one in particular brought me the most nostalgia and comfort. When I was in college, a dear friend and I would sit in a coffee shop on Tuesday nights: she'd drink herbal tea and I would drink white hot chocolate with a chocolate almond biscotti and we'd laugh with tears streaming down our faces, the way only good friends can. And as I tasted the sweet, creamy foam, it was almost like I was transported back to those Tuesday nights.
- 12 oz milk, your choice (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, soy or almond)
- 2 oz white hot chocolate, melted & divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tsp vanilla syrup, divided
- whipped cream, optional
- Fill glass container up to 2-serving line with milk of your choice.
- Make sure setting is on 'Heat & Froth.' Froth milk until machine shuts off.
- Microwave white hot chocolate in 15 second intervals until melted.
- Pour frothed milk into 2 mugs, reserving foam.
- Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla into each mug (or 1 tsp vanilla syrup). Divide chocolate, stirring half into each mug. Top with milk foam and whipped cream, if desired.
- **To make without the machine, heat milk in microwave or on stovetop. Mix the heated milk with the melted chocolate and vanilla. Stir to combine and top with whipped cream!