How To Be Your Own Barista + 4 Easy Winter Drink Recipes
By: Karmen Flores of Karmen Collective
Did you know that making cafe style drinks is easier than you think? With just a few tips you can be your own barista serving up your favorite drinks.
When I first got hooked on matcha, I was living in LA and ordered it by mistake.
It was a bustling, aka loud, local coffee shop and I was trying to order a mocha latte with coconut milk but over the noise and machines the barista heard matcha latte with coconut milk. It was the happiest of accidents and it’s now my daily drink.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve enjoyed creating my own little cafe experience at home. While I am strictly a matcha girl, these tips can be applied to any coffee or tea based beverages. Here are a few tips on how to be your own barista!
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Explore Different Milk Options
Don’t be afraid to experiment with some milk alternatives! Coffee shops offer a variety for a reason and in my personal opinion some drinks taste better with certain milks. Dairy-free milks have so much to offer in richness and flavor. For example, coconut milk drinks will be different than soy milk, but both are great and provide different options. I like to select the milk based upon the flavor I want. For a more neutral taste, my go-to is soy or rice milk but when I want the extra richness, I opt for coconut or oat milk.
Fancy Equipment Not Required
It’s a common misconception you need a fancy espresso maker or frother to make cafe quality drinks. French press or classic drip, coffee making doesnt need to be complicated! I make my matcha with a $10 matcha whisk and still prefer my own to most shops. Check out this $15 milk frother that has over 8k reviews! I used my blender for years! Just work with what you have!
Spice It Up
The fastest and easiest way to level up your homemade drinks is by adding some spices. I like a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, especially during the winter for an instant flavor upgrade.
Skip the Artificial Syrups
The best part of making your drinks at home is you control the ingredients! Typically cafe drinks are filled with artificial flavors and lots of sugar. Instead use flavor extracts and natural ingredients like vanilla or almond extract, maple syrup, or agave.
Style It Pretty
Listen, I would love to say I am not influenced by pretty presentations but isn’t that half the experience? Take the time to make your drink look as delicious as it is! From simply using your favorite mug to teaching yourself latte art on Youtube. Have fun with it!
Winter Drink Recipes
A simple recipe but this dream milk will have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head in no time! The subtle flavors will help you unwind after a long day and calm your mind.
Makes 1 serving
1 cup milk of choice, I used soy milk
1 tsp sweetener of choice, I prefer agave
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
In a saucepan, add all ingredients and whisk together over medium heat until warmed, about 2 minutes.
Banana Coconut Latte
Ready to make your coffee delicious without the fake sweeteners and creamers? Using this banana coconut milk your coffee is still delicious without the fake flavorings.
Makes 1 serving
1 ripe medium banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of hot brewed coffee
Blend banana and coconut milk in a blender
Pour over brewed cup of coffee
Stir and enjoy!
Apple Pie Latte
A subtle ode to the flavors of the season!
You can easily adjust the amount of maple syrup depending on how sweet you like your latte.
Makes 2 servings
2 cups milk of choice, I used coconut milk
3 tsp of maple syrup
3 tsp cinnamon
2 medium apples, diced
2 tsp of loose black tea leaves or 2 black tea bags
1 tsp clove
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan over medium low heat.
Stir consistently to prevent burning.
If using tea bags, steep tea bag into mixture for desired tea strength.
Turn off heat and remove tea bags
Mash softened apples to release flavor
Strain mixture through a sieve
Serve hot with a cinnamon stick
*If desired, blend in a high-speed blender with apple pieces for an even stronger apple flavor
Immunity Boost Cider
In the winter, we need all the vitamin c we can get! This is a refresh on your typical hot cider that is full of immunity boosting vitamins and minerals! Bonus, your home will smell heavenly!
4 cups orange juice
1 orange sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole allspice berries or 2 tsp ground allspice
2 whole cloves or 2 tsp ground cloves
2 diced apples
Handful of frozen or fresh whole cranberries
Add all ingredients to large saucepan and simmer on medium heat.
Heat until cranberries wrinkle
Ladel into glasses and garnish with cinnamon stick for stirring
This is great to make in large batches and drink hot or cold.