Homemade Holiday Coffees

Homemade Holiday Coffees

I love coffee! I know this statement can sometimes mean a spectrum of things, so let me clarify. I drink coffee every day and appreciate speciality coffees others make for me (emphasis on the others). When I was commuting to my office everyday, I would treat myself once a week to a speciality coffee from Starbucks or our local coffee shop. However, working from home has really killed that routine. Now, it just feels weird to leave the house to go get coffee to just come back home and drink it. I miss my treat though!

It feels like quarantine has sparked a coffee-craze (I blame whipped coffee for that – which maybe one day I’ll try). I was thinking to myself… I’ve NEVER tried to make anything special when it comes to coffee! With the return of PSL’s, I figured it was finally time to try to make my own.

My 2 favorite holiday coffees are: Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Peppermint Mochas. To me, Peppermint Mochas just taste like Christmas in a cup. I know it’s early for Christmas, but I am one of those people that celebrates Christmas from November 1st to December 31st (I know, I know). This drink really puts me in the holiday spirit! However, this morning I decided to make both. What’s wrong with enjoying 2 holiday drinks at once??

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Rookie Rating: 4/5
I did some googling and found this recipe as my starting point. I have to admit, this recipe was very easy and didn’t require many “tools”. First, my husband and I have this coffee pot from Ninja and it has been great! We like that can brew a full or half pot as well as individual cups. For this recipe, I used the “Speciality/ Concentrated” setting that brews 4 oz of concentrated coffee. You should be able to achieve the same result with either espresso machines (better alternative) or any standard coffee pot just by filling it with a fraction of the water you normally use and the same amount of coffee grounds (targeting 4oz coffee = 4oz/ 1/2 cup of water seemed to work well).
TLDR (too long didn’t read): This recipe was easy but not that good. To achieve the “pumpkin” taste, this recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree. News flash, canned pumpkin puree doesn’t really taste good on it’s own. If I make this again, I will definitely use less pumpkin. I also found this recipe that looks a bit more promising on the pumpkin front – I think cooking it on the stove with the milk might result in a better (less “canned”) taste.
Two other notes on this one… I didn’t have “pumpkin pie spice”, but had most of the spices in this recipe to achieve a similar flavor. Also, I had difficulties getting the milk to froth just whisking it out of the microwave. My coffee pot (linked above) has a frother on the side that I will use next time instead. These can also be bought on Amazon for really cheap: here is one that is pretty highly rated.

Peppermint Mocha

Rookie Rating: 4/5
For this one, I chose this starting recipe that was a bit more complicated than my PSL one. I also found this Starbucks recipe later that I might try (anyone know where I can get “mocha sauce”??). Anyways, this recipe involved heating water and cocoa powder on the stove. The recipe instructs that you should heat this “until bubbly” – I would edit this to say heat until “smooth and warm”. Long story short, I heated this so long, the chocolate really thickened and started to harden. Thankfully, chocolate still tastes good, even it is the wrong texture.
Regardless, the end result was pretty good, but it was a good bit of effort. This is not something you would whip up quickly on a weekday, but more something you would make for a special occasion/ lazy Saturday morning. I think this would be a great Christmas morning treat too. In the future, I may look around for how other recipes approach the “mocha” piece, look for mocha sauce, and double the batch to make 2 drinks at once.
One other note… Use your milk frother for this one as well! Again, just whisking didn’t quite give me the desired texture I was looking for.

Have you made any speciality coffees I should try? Reach out here or on Instagram to let us know!

Happy barista-ing 🙂

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