Tea & Coffee
Tea and coffee offer so much more than just a hot morning pick-me-up. Learn to really appreciate their flavors by trying out these recipes!
If you don’t love a cup of coffee, chances are you love a cup of tea instead. We all need a little pick-me-up sometimes, and those times we often need it quick. But other times it’s nice to prepare something extra special―a pick-me-up to savor.
After all, that’s what our ancestors did. Back then there were no paper cups of joe being downed on the morning commute. Tea wasn’t prepared quickly with the dunk of a small bag. Instead, their pick-me-up was time out to reflect on the day. It was a time to connect with themselves and others. A time to savor this most precious flavor―and its stimulating effect. It was time to be enjoyed.
We’ve lost sight of that, particularly in the West, where our tea and coffee drinking cultures are relatively recent. Tea is a national obsession in the UK, where it dates back to the 17th century, compared to parts of Asia where its consumption predates history.
So whether you’re simply pimping your go-to hot drink or going all out creating delectable desserts to share, do yourself a favor and learn to really appreciate everything that these incredible drinks offer.
Morning, noon, or night cake
If your morning joe isn’t enough anymore, start pairing it with this cappuccino cake topped with chocolate and nuts. OK, so the truth is that it’s unlikely you’ll be making one of these every morning as it needs to chill for at least 2 hours. Take 40 minutes out of an evening (you don’t even need to bake it) and refrigerate it overnight instead. You’ll be glad you did in the morning!
Sure, it makes a perfect light breakfast if you have a sweet tooth, but the good news is that the cappuccino cake is an even better dessert. It rounds off a light lunch nicely (have a salad if you really want to earn a piece!), and helps keep evening guests lively after a late feast. But don’t worry, it’s not so strong that you’ll be up till dawn either.
The espresso upgrade
Cake’s all well and good, but what if you just love drinking coffee? What if you love drinking coffee so much that you simply can’t drink enough to ever be satisfied? The answer is, of course, to increase your enjoyment of the coffees you do have.
The Italian region of Friuli has a signature coffee that you have to try. It’s a truly decadent espresso mixed with sugar, chocolate, and mascarpone cheese. Too decadent perhaps? Just remember that Friuli may be far from Italy’s most famous region, but it’s the place that put coffee on the map. Its capital, Trieste, was the center of the world’s coffee trade in the 18th century and you can’t move for outstanding cafes there. Simply put, these people know their stuff.
It’s impossible not to mention that giant of Italian desserts, Tiramisu. The restaurant where it was invented, Le Beccherie in Treviso, closed in 2014, but their creation is as popular as ever.
Tiramisu takes some time to make, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult. If you have a little patience and know how to whisk, you could be making a bonafide Italian classic within a couple of hours. (You can even try making it without eggs, if you prefer.) It’s the cake of choice for those who don’t know how to bake!
The best thing about Tiramisu isn’t just that it’s a great dessert for your own dinner parties, it’s that it’s an easy dessert to make and bring to other peoples’ too. That makes it a great surprise for the host, but also perfect for potlucks and even picnics. Although in the case of the latter, remember that it can also get quite messy. You’ll need to refine your pastry skills somewhat before friends will be able to eat it with a napkin!
Make it Irish
Finally we get to the pick-me-up to rule them all. You probably have some idea of what Irish Cream Coffee entails, but just so we’re clear, it’s not simply a matter of pouring whisky in your coffee.
You’ll need to heat your whisky slightly before mixing it with brown sugar and the coffee in a sturdy glass—and then comes the tricky part. Lightly whip some cream and pour it slowly into the coffee over the back of a spoon so it settles gently on top. Get it right and it should look like the head on a pint of Guinness. Get it wrong and, well, it should still taste fine but you’ll have lost the wow factor!
Just remember to enjoy Irish Cream Coffee responsibly. It makes the perfect start to a night out, particularly after a large dinner, but it’s not a good idea to drink several of them throughout the night!