Cappuccino…Latte…Greek Coffee…OH MY!! January 7, 2015

    Cappuccino…Latte…Greek Coffee…OH MY!!  Coffee-Cappucino-Latte-1   Coffee-CappucinoLatte-Recipe-Pics

 

 

I know when I speak about coffee and my passion for the perfect cup; I am not speaking to everyone. For those of you that are tea drinkers please bear with me. When you hear what I have to say, you may be swayed into trying and even liking what my son’s Nouna’(Godmother) calls “The Nectar Of the Gods”! I remember the first time I witnessed her coffee ritual, it was when my son, her godson was just an infant. She would hold up the coffee cup and say” The Nectar of the Gods”, then took a big sip and you could feel and hear her taste buds as she drew in the first sip and followed it with a great big “aaaahhh!!” Well that was 23 years ago and I am not embarrassed to say that I adopted her ritual before my first morning cup of the day. Whether I am by myself or some one is next to me, it matters not. It’s silly I know, but the reason I do it is more about the smile it brings to my face, reminding me of a very dear friend and godmother that I don’t see nearly enough!

Espresso-Cappuccino- Latte’s

Ok, we are all aware of the Coffee Craze and variations of favors that are worldwide thanks to Starbuck’s. Yet, I run into people all the time that do not know the difference between a Cappuccino and Latte. They do not know that there are only TWO basic types of coffee that create the countless specialty drinks that you see when you walk into a gourmet coffee shop. That’s right and yes that includes your Cappuccino’s, Latte’s, Macchiato’s, Frappuccino’s, Mochaccino’s, etc. Hot, Cold, Frozen or in any flavor or combination of flavors.

There are all types of coffee beans from around the world, many with distinct natural flavors depending on the region where they are grown. Such as Kona, Sumatra, Columbian, Blue Mountain, etc. Yet 90% of the flavored or specialty drinks you get at Starbucks or other specialty shops are made with their own blend of medium roast coffee or a very dark roast that is low in acidity, oily and intense often referred to as an espresso bean. In order to create a true Cappuccino or Latte, you must process the ground espresso bean through a special machine that extracts a small amount of coffee liquid with triple the intensity of a regular drip coffee.

One shot of Espresso fills a small demitasse cup. If you stop here you have a dark robust Espresso in it’s purest form no dairy or sugar. If you want a Cappuccino, you us the same amount of dairy that equals your Espresso shot. It is steamed or frothed longer to produce more foam than liquid. This creates a stronger coffee beverage with a light milky flavor. If you want to make it a Latte, then you will steam or froth 2x the amount of dairy than your Espresso shot. This creates a mild coffee beverage, very milky with very little foam. Then of course a flavored syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon or nutmeg is added to create the ultimate Cappuccino or Latté!

It seems confusing but all you need to remember is a shot of Espresso has no dairy, a Cappuccino has a small amount of dairy liquid and more foam and a Latte has double the dairy liquid and less foam. Also, remember a Cappuccino or Latte must begin with a shot of Espresso.

I taught my employees an easy way to remember which gets more milk Cappuccino or Latte. I told them to remember a Latte requires a Lotta milk, silly but true!

My Traditional Electric Espresso/Cappuccino/Latte Machine   Coffee-Cappucino-Latte-Recipe-Pics 005

My history with coffee goes like this… when I was a little girl I watched my Mom drink her instant coffee with mostly milk. She always had it sitting on the side of the sink in the bathroom, as she was getting ready for work. Sometimes I would see these things floating around in it and realized they were the broken pieces of her Koulourakia (Greek Cookies) or Paximathia (Greek Biscotti). Many Mediterraneans love to dunk, well not me. For all I remember is seeing all the mushy pieces left at the bottom after her coffee was gone, not pretty, haha!!. Yet it is still a memory of my Mom that I love so much!

This experience did not hinder my love for a good cup of coffee, as I grew older I actually preferred it black. Not sure if this preference was triggered by the memories of the mushy pieces floating in the bottom of my Mom’s very milky cup of coffee, haha!

To this day, I don’t dip anything in my coffee, but I no longer drink it black. In fact my drink of choice is a latte. My switch from black to Latte came when I was pregnant and needed my morning cup of coffee badly. So I switched to decaf and put just a drop of coffee with a whole lotta milk, to keep the baby from coming out a Starbuck’s junkie!!

Remember a Latte is a lotta milk and I figured I could endure this for 12 months since I would be breastfeeding. Well I was wrong, for just when I was ready to go back to a good strong black coffee I found out I was pregnant again!! Yep, so there I was looking at another 12 months with a Lotta milk and a drop of decaf.

I have to say that after 2 years of drinking coffee that way I became hooked. No more black coffee for me, it has been Lattes or Regular coffee with heavy cream, almond milk, hazelnut syrup, fresh nutmeg and saigon cinnamon ever since. My husband back then said I was high maintenance because of all the steps it took to make me coffee.  My response made him laugh, I simply stated that he was partly responsible since I drank it black before I became pregnant. Back to back pregnancies resulted in 2 years straight of either being pregnant or breast feeding since our boys were 11 months apart.

Greek CoffeeCoffee-CappucinoLatte-Recipe-Pics

 

Now, I am going to clarify the difference between an Espresso and a Greek Coffee. Both served in a small demitasse cup and both have foam on top. This is where the similarities end, the flavor, consistency and how they are prepared are not alike at all. Greek coffee is boiled not brewed. It is made in a small long handled pot called a “Briki”, traditionally made of brass or copper. Two teaspoons of the powder like Greek coffee is put in the pot along with 1teasp. of sugar, the Greeks call this “medium or metrio”.  Water is poured into the Briki about half way, and is stirred very well. It is put on the stove and the key is to watch it very carefully. For when it reaches the boiling point it will quickly rise and overflow before you can blink.

A true Greek coffee lover will tell you the coffee is ruined. This is not because of the mess you made as the foam that is called the “kaimaki” is now dripping down the sides of your Briki and all over your stove. It goes way beyond a dirty stove, for this little cup once consumed hold the fortunes of your life. The mystic powers are believed to give a person answers for their present and future. Another person who has experience in reading the cups and telling the future then takes over.

There is a thick sludge that remains in the bottom of the cup after the coffee is consumed. Tradition says once the coffee is finished, the cup should be held facing out on its side and be turned three times clock-wise, spilling out the sludge and simultaneously spreading it around the entire surface of the cup. Whatever excess remains should be poured out from the side where the cup-handle is. The cup should then be overturned onto the side of the saucer and left for a few minutes. Your dreams, future and fortunes all come from this little demitasse that has a big story to tell!  The mystery lies in the hands of the very old and wise Greek coffee fortune-teller!

  

Greek Frappe’

Our last Coffee drink is very popular in Greece, it is a Greek Frappe’. This is their version of an Iced Cappuccino. It is made with instant Nescafe Coffee, sugar, water or milk. When my family traveled to Greece, it was all I drank during the day and you could get one everywhere. I now get my can of Nescafe at the Greek store, the whole can is written in Greek, so here is a helpful recipe to make a perfect Frappe’!Coffee-Cappucino-Latte-Recipe-Pics 007Coffee-Cappucino-Latte-4

Greek Frappe’

Preparation Time

2 minutes

Serves

1

Ingredients

2 tsp NESCAFÉ® Classic
2 tsp sugar
Ice cubes

Preparation

     Pour  2tbsp. of water in the shaker. Add two 2 tsp

  of NESCAFÉ and 1 tsp. of sugar, or more if desired

        Shake strongly until all the water is dissolved.

   The use of an electric hand mixer, instead of a shaker,

creates better foam. It makes a silky creamier foam. Add 8oz cold water or milk to shaker. Then blend or shake vigorously. Pour into a 12oz glass and add 2-3 Ice cubes if desired

 

Espresso-Cappuccino Machines

 Now just some tips on Espresso/Cappuccino makers especially now with Starbucks and Keurig being the front-runners. The production and process in how Espresso was made originated in Italy. Most Italian restaurants are the only venues to get a true Espresso/Cappuccino other than Starbuck or specialty coffee shops. My first coffee maker in my first apartment was a Cappuccino machine, it was not electric and it was more work than milking a cow to get the steamed milk! Luckily the technology on electronic espresso machines just gets better and better.

I have had #Krups, #Miele and #DeLonghi, all of them great machines that make excellent Espresso/Cappuccino /Lattes. Now for all of you Keurig lovers, you are in luck. For #Keurig now makes a Espresso/Cappuccino/Latte machine. I was given that as a gift from my sweet sister Penny for Christmas last year. It does cut the prep time in half compared to my traditional machine. And some mornings very second counts…but in the Keurig tradition, the convenience comes with a price, but worth it!

My Keurig Espresso/Cappuccino/ Latte Machine  Coffee-Cappucino-Latte-5

So the next time someone is standing next to you in Starbucks and says, “ I just don’t understand the difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino”, you my friend can now educate them.  Just one more thing, the pronunciation of Espresso has no X in it. It is not Expresso; it is Espresso, just as it sounds. Now go out and enjoy that coffee and know which ever you choose you will feel good that you know exactly how it is made!

Chow!

Chef Steff

 

 


 
 

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