Coffee! Close your eyes, enjoy the aroma, breathing it in fully. Then the first sip, sharpening your thoughts, that wonderful intensity on your taste buds, the taste lingering a minute or two. Maybe notes of cherry and cacao… almonds… dates and honey… citrus even, depending on which roast you chose. Happy sigh.
There are all kind of coffee times. The morning one, waking you up wonderfully, often a life saver. The commuting one, drunk gently while waiting for a bus, a tube, a train. The meetings ones, an anchor to reality, sanity even, sometimes. Ristretto, espresso, latte, flat white, cappuccino… One for every mood! My favourite is the one shared with love ones. Chats, laughs and coffee to reinvent the world a hundred times…
Here are 5 original twists on the classic espresso to make that special catch up even more festive. It’s party time! For these recipes, I used nespresso compatible capsules from Gourmesso.co.uk. More precisely, the Honduras Pura Forte blend, Fairtrade.
1| Ethiopian Coffee
Using a French press, V60, or Chemex? Add a star anise when brewing your coffee… If you feel adventurous, try it the Ethiopian way: cardamom (cracked open: the seeds inside are key to the flavour) and fresh ginger. Very exotic but oh, so very fragrant. Or even the Pakistani way: cardamom and cinnamon.
2| Vietnamese egg coffee
Often compared to a tiramisu, and yes, it definitely is desserty! Add 2 egg yolks, half a tea spoon of vanilla extract and 75 ml condensed milk to a bowl and whisk for a few minutes, until foamy. Fill two cups with espresso and top it with your sabayon like mixture. Part will stay on top, part will sink to the bottom, ensuring extra sweetness at every sip…
3| The upgraded hot chocolate
An espresso + a square of chocolate = a match in heaven, right? I love making hot chocolate my grandmother’s way: whole milk, a little crème fraiche and good quality dark chocolate (the more you add, the richer it gets). Now add a shot of espresso to that and you have the best of two worlds. Works for chocolate cakes too!
The little heart? A dollop of white chocolate, melted and mixed with food colouring. You will get that cute little shape simply by running a toothpick through it.
4| Espresso mascarpone cream
Super-mega-delicious. A warning, though – refrain from tasting when making it or you will find yourself going through the whole bowl… It only takes a few minutes to make. First grate 30g of milk chocolate then pour 45 ml of espresso to melt it. Keep in the fridge for now. Now mix 125 g of mascarpone, 60 g icing sugar and 125 ml cream until it makes soft peaks. Incorporate your chocolate and espresso mix – that’s it. Just top any coffee or hot chocolate with a generous spoonful. Or two. Yeah. Make it two.
5| The dirty chai
Wait, what? Tea and coffee? Really. Think of it differently. Milk, spices and espresso – now it makes sense! Prepare your chai as you always do, by warming milk with your chai tea blend (and a little honey if you like it sweet) then frothing it gently. Pour 2 shots of espresso in a big mug, top with your chai, sprinkle with a little nutmeg or cinnamon and enjoy.
Do you have any fun recipe to add to our collection? Do share in the comments below!