Coffee Drinks beyond the Basics
January 20, 2008 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What are good espresso-based drinks beyond the typical lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas?

I love the coffee my aeropress makes (Yes, I know it isn't really espresso, but I don't care), but I'm getting a bit bored with just my typical drinks, which are pretty much just cappuccinos and lattes in the morning, straight espresso in the afternoon. Are there any good drinks that I can make with my Aeropress, a battery powered frother, milk, and whatever I can get from my campus convenience store? I'm not much of a mocha person and usually the natural sweetness of steamed milk is about as much sweetening I need. However, if you have sweet confectionary drinks you really like, go ahead and tell me. I'm curious, and it doesn't have to be traditional Italian either. These can be drinks made in an American mug or a demitasse.

What would be nice is for the drink to not require too much cleanup and be easy enough to make in under 10 minutes. But I'm partly doing this for my entertainment, so if you have any big, crazy elaborate drink that takes all morning, I'm all ears.
posted by mccarty.tim to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: coffee float! (I think it's called affogato, but I'm not sure. I call it coffee with ice cream in it. Probably not a good everyday/breakfast idea.)
posted by iamkimiam at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

The Americano is a good choice. Since you already drink straight espresso in the afternoon, try a plain Americano first. It also goes well with milk.
posted by Diggins at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2008

Or maybe use the espresso shots to make other things...espresso waffles, espresso cream cheese over sweet bagel, etc.

Espresso with peppermint or cinnamon stick on a very pretty plate with a thin slice of cheese or orange could be a fun little ritual to prepare and enjoy every day. Maybe throw along a quote book to select a quote from too. Something to make the coffee ritual more special without having to reinvent a darn near perfect wheel (the espresso).
posted by iamkimiam at 9:27 AM on January 20, 2008

An espresso martini will delightfully mess you up.

1 oz cold espresso
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz Kahlua
1 oz white creme de cacao

I cut back the creme do cacao to 0.5 oz because I find it too sweet.
posted by sockpup at 10:00 AM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Alton Brown's Coffee Granita is tasty although not really something you might want in the dead of winter! You don't have to use coffee flavored liqueur in it, btw, something like plain vodka will also work since the ultimate goal is to have the alcohol help control the final "frozenness" of the dessert.
posted by bcwinters at 10:01 AM on January 20, 2008

There's a whole world of alcoholic coffee recipes.

You might also try Thai Iced Coffee.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:05 AM on January 20, 2008

If you're not terribly interested in sugar, you've pretty much named all the basics. You left out espresso machiatto, espresso with a bit of foam on top. Many people also put an ounce or two of milk as well, or pile on a couple ounces of foam, or, you know, anything between a bit of foam and a full blown latte or cap. Also, are you using strictly an espresso blend for this? You could try various different blends and find exactly what ammount of sugar, cream, or even honey perfectly complements the flavor. I'd do this with americanos. Some coffees I like just straight up, other ones I find anywhere from a pinch to a couple teaspoons is ideal for my tastebuds, and sometimes I think honey goes best with a particular coffee. You of course can try other things too, like cinnamon, nutmeg, corriander, whatever. Also, speaking of corriander, if you really want to expand your coffee horizons, and haven't tried it yet, you must try turkish coffee. It. Is. Good. Google it or whatever. And it really is best if you do use corriander in it. Its goooood stuff. May take a bit more effort that you're looking for, but it's worth it. That's all the ideas I've got for now. And I'd definitely second espresso+ice cream. I prefer just a high quality vanilla ice cream.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:38 AM on January 20, 2008

Ah. I just noticed the tag "dormlife". So I'd guess you're using a microwave. If you don't have a burner, then you can forget my turkish coffee suggestion. And a gas burner would work best.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:42 AM on January 20, 2008

I enjoy using a real manual espresso maker, a good grinder, and a real steam wand to perfect the drinks. I think you'd notice a whole new level of quality and experimentation room if you went that route.

Some axes you can play with are the beans (single origin? full roast? bright, earthy, chocolatey?), extraction time (ristretto?), milks (whole, skim, lots, little, dry, wet, ..), and so on. It's like moving up to a Thermador from an EZ-Bake oven. You sound like the perfect victim at this point.

Do it.
posted by kcm at 10:45 AM on January 20, 2008

Best answer: Leave the preparation the same, but vary the bean. Start to get familiar with different origins, blends, roast levels. Find a local shop or online store where you can get a good selection of very fresh coffee. Everybody's tastes vary, but some of the most satisfying cups that I've had are just straight coffee brewed with a single-origin African bean. Think Harar, Yirgacheffe, or my new love, Yemen Mokha San'ani. Contrast that with say a Sumatra or a Sulawesi. Maybe even start roasting your own. It can be done simply and on the cheap just using an air popcorn popper.

There's a whole world to explore just from the different bean origins. I'd say skip the milk and sugar. When you're starting with exceptional coffee, it's a bit of a waste to drown it in milk and sugar.
posted by jclovebrew at 11:32 AM on January 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Since people are asking, right now I'm using the Mocha Sumatra blend from I got 5 lbs of it for christmas, so I intend to drink as much of it as I can before it turns stale. I'll experiment with new origins when it runs out/becomes awful and bitter.

I'm afraid I'm too young for the coffee cocktails. I'm a Freshman at The College of New Jersey. Should have been a bit clearer!
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:48 AM on January 20, 2008

Cafe Guinness. Pour a nice draft Guinness, and pour in a double shot of espresso.
posted by alikins at 12:20 PM on January 20, 2008

Put it in the freezer to prevent staleness. And btw I agree the espresso float (affogado) is so delicious!!!
posted by onlyconnect at 12:57 PM on January 20, 2008

In Japan they sell a ton of milk-coffee blends that are VERY good.

I've tried to duplicate them to varying degrees of success. . . basically 2 shots of espresso, ~2 cups of milk, a shot of vanilla sugar-free syrup (eg Torani).
posted by panamax at 12:57 PM on January 20, 2008

I like espresso con panna, espresso with whipped cream floating on top. "Like" is a bit of an understatement.
posted by bluebird at 1:07 PM on January 20, 2008

Best answer: Cafe Borgia: pull your double shot over some fresh orange zest in your heated cappucino cup. Top with steamed chocolate, foam, a little more zest, and freshly grated nutmeg.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2008 [5 favorites]

Put it in the freezer to prevent staleness.

Coffee is great at absorbing odors, so if you put it in your freezer, it will absorb all the odors and taste like your freezer. However, once it gets stale, it'll work better than baking soda for keeping the fridge/freezer from smelling.

posted by Airhen at 3:12 PM on January 20, 2008

Putting coffee in the freezer is *not* the way to keep it from going stale. The combination of the moisture in the freezer and the defrosting process really change the oils in the coffee which will change the taste. I've heard that you should put coffee in an airtight container such as tupperware or mason jar.
posted by zorrine at 4:06 PM on January 20, 2008

i like chai lattes with a shot of espresso in 'em.
the espresso takes some of the sweetness off of the chai.
i've heard it called a 'dirty chai', a 'solo chai', or, my personal favorite, a 'dirty hippie'.
posted by andshewas at 5:12 PM on January 20, 2008

I'm all Americano all of the time.
posted by unSane at 5:14 PM on January 20, 2008

Oh, and I use an aeropress too! It's the perfect tool for an Americano.
posted by unSane at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2008

Don't put your beans in the freezer, please. Yikers.

An opaque, airtight container (mason jars are perfect) set on the counter is just great. Keep it out of the sunbeams and it'll keep for a good long time.
posted by AngerBoy at 8:25 PM on January 20, 2008

machiatto. mmm.
posted by oxford blue at 10:49 PM on January 20, 2008

Affogatos are great, also just a shot over some ice cubes can be good on a hot day. Definitely try some different single origins though. Maybe get two really different beans and do some A-B comparisons and blind tasting.

(He got his current beans for Christmas, they are already at least a month old, it doesn't matter where he stores them)
posted by markr at 10:55 PM on January 20, 2008

A shot of espresso is great in a pint of Guinness--it foams, though, so be sure to drink a few fingers down first.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:40 AM on January 21, 2008

My SO made me a hot chocolate-espresso-Bailey's a couple of weeks ago, and it was deadly delicious. Since you're under 21, you could just do the shot of espresso in a cup of hot chocolate, and it would really nicely spice up the chocolate. Just remember the Bailey's (probably a shot's worth) when you're old enough - so very delicious.
posted by bibbit at 7:57 AM on January 21, 2008

What's with the freezer snark? So long as you keep the beans airtight and don't repeatedly freeze and unfreeze (i.e., try freezing in a few smaller sized containers instead of one big one), the freezer is a pretty darn good place to keep your piles of extra coffee beans that you aren't going to be able to use within 2 weeks of purchase, which otherwise almost certainly would go stale. There is some general disagreement about freezing, but there is pretty much unanimous agreement that after 2 weeks at room temperature your coffee is going to be stale without freezing.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:37 PM on January 21, 2008

Taught to me by my grandmother:

Shot of espresso,
Small amount of Sambuca,
Thin shaving of lemon zest.

Despite not being a big fan of anisette liquors, I love this drink.
posted by The White Hat at 8:38 PM on January 21, 2008

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