Are any of y'all really starting to miss your favorite local coffeeshop? Me too, y'all. Me too. Bongo East was at least a once weekly trip for sweet Joe and I, and we would go to do work, play board games, or simply chat. While I've been working on this blog for the last few months, I've often wished that I could go visit Bongo (which technically speaking, *I could*, but since I am high risk for COVID I won't).
In my college and business school days I would treat myself to some deliciously fancy coffee beverage and simultaneously imbibe it and the atmosphere of a place where people were simultaneously studying, playing, catching up with friends or going on a first date. It would renew my energy to be around so many humans doing their whole life thing. And the smell of the coffee! So glorious. Did you know that simply smelling coffee can do wonders for your brain?? Literally just walking through a coffeeshop can perk you up, without ever taking a sip of caffeine.
Now that I'm deprived of the pleasure of visiting coffeeshops, I set about to figure out how to recreate one at home. Enter the Sayeso Milk Frother and Godmorn Stovetop Espresso Maker, a.k.a. the best $50 I've spent all quarantine. With these two kitchen gems, I can whip up a latte, cappuccino or any other fancy coffee drink in about 4 minutes time, start to finish.
And for all of you non-coffee drinkers, the Sayeso will also froth up perfect matcha lattes, golden milks and hot chocolates with a push of a button. Simply start the machine and slowly tip in whatever powder you're trying to incorporate, and it does all of the work for you. It is pure magic.
You might be saying to yourself "this is summer, why would I want something for hot coffee drinks?" Don't you fret. The Sayeso will froth your cold milk too! It's a step above what you would get at your local Starbucks, where they just pour cold milk over your espresso/matcha/whatever if you want an iced beverage. (I was a barista there in college. I know.) But part of the fun of fancy coffee drinks is that delectable foam! Well now you can have it on your cold or your hot drinks.
The entire set-up - frother, stovetop espresso maker, and three 12oz containers of espresso - set me back $65. That's right. For the cost of maybe 10 fancy coffee drinks you can make a boatload more at home. I've had this getup for two months now, and I'm still on my second tin of espresso. And I've made well over 50 espresso based drinks, and upwards of 30 matchas/golden milks/hot chocolates/non-coffee drinks to boot. A tab like that at a normal coffee shop would run well over $400. And guess what?? You can use any kind of milk you want without getting charged some absurd specialty tax. (Seriously, why is soy milk a 50 cent upcharge when soy is cheaper than regular milk??)
So far we've used almond (Kirkland Unsweetened Vanilla and Trader Joe's Chocolate Peppermint), coconut (Kirkland), oat (Trader Joe's), whole organic milk (Maple Tree Farms shelf-stable) and half-n-half (Horizon Organic). Interestingly, some of the milks only get really frothy on either hot or cold. The only milk so far that froths equally well on both settings is the Kirkland Unsweetened Almond Milk. Obviously there are a bunch of other types and brands of milks out there, so you'll just need to mess around and see what works best for you.
The espresso I purchased was pre-ground, which not only makes life a little simpler, but is also a less expensive way of operating. If you're wanting to get a little fancier, get yourself a burr grinder and grind your favorite roast. (And if you're reading this in real time, Costco currently has one on sale for $39.99, which is pretty dang good for a burr grinder!) However, for my purposes, this very inexpensive espresso (Cafe la Llave) has been more than sufficient for my needs.
Seriously, this little setup takes up half the space of a traditional espresso maker and is a fraction of the cost. All you need to do now is blast a cafe inspired playlist over your speakers, and BOOM! Your home is instantly transformed into your new favorite coffeeshop. Congratulations. You just level upped your WFH situation in a big way.