Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Espresso Training School

I've made no secret of the fact that I {heart} a good mocha. Non-fat. Light whip.


Starbucks receives the vast majority of my business due solely to the fact that most of them have drive-ins. 


It's no fun to unstrap two small children in winter coats from their carseats, drag them into the coffee shop where they will ask repeatedly, "is it our turn yet and can we please have that cupcake and can I take my coat off?!", and then try to carry your coffee out to the car while dragging a two year old who has decided she wants to make a meal out of the sugar packet she found on the floor next to the trash can.


So I was beyond overjoyed when my mother gifted me with my very own espresso machine for Christmas. I promptly ordered a few syrups online so that I could try to make my own mochas at home. I was going to tell Starbucks where to stick it!


Unfortunately, the mochas I made tasted...how can I put this delicately?... disgusting. Like old socks.


Back to the drawing board. I wondered if there was some sort of espresso training school that Starbucks, Panera, and Dunkin' Donuts puts their baristas through. I wanted to enroll. 


So I did the next best thing. I bought a mocha from a kindly looking young lady at the Starbucks in my local Target, waved my cute toddler around to distract her, and got her to tell me her deepest, best, Mocha secrets.


Turns out it's not such a secret, but she was willing to share with me anyways. Starbucks uses a powder that they mix with water to make a syrup before adding it to each espresso drink. It comes in little canisters like this:
I felt like Luke Skywalker learning all sorts of Jedi tricks from Yoda. Or something.


You know what? 


That $7 canister of powder rocks my world.


It brought me through these dark days of endless snow, repetitious whining and loops of Noggin, and a drugged-up-surgery-recovering husband. 


My mochas taste just as good as Starbucks, and my mug is way cuter!
 Mmmmm....


Now if I can get Panera and Dunkin' Donuts to spill their espresso trade secrets, I'll sell them in an Ebook right here on the blog. 


And I'll give you, my readers, a discount. {wink} I raise my coffee cup to you this morning!


{Is there a restaurant secret recipe you'd love to crack the code on?}


Linking to Jen's Tasty Tuesday Party at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
post signature

34 comments:

Thankfully Thrifty said...

Yes! I too have found Starbucks employees glad to tell me how they made my fave drink! I have yet to perfect it though. I love their chai tea lattes. I think there's a secret ingredient I'm missing. Mine are still good but not quite the same.
You're looks delicious though!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love yours! I am jealous of your machine! :)

Richella said...

That darling mug definitely deserves something that tastes better than old socks!

I got my husband an espresso machine for his birthday last year. So now, Master Amanda, I ask you: how do you obtain the magic powder? We're not quite in the old-socks category, but we haven't made it to delectable yet.

southerninspiration said...

So what exactly is IN the espresso powder mix....and surely you can buy that on line too???? Come on chickadee, give us the scoop..and LOVE the mug!

Suzanne

Paula said...

Cute mug! I've never had a Starbuck's mocha but they sure sound good. I get stressed by that place because there are too many choices and I'm scared that I'm going to pay $4 for something that tastes yucky. Tell us more about this secret powder!

Andrea said...

Way to go Girl!! You are just too funny!
Wouldn't it be great if everything could be drive through for us with little ones? In our town we have a drive-through dry-cleaners!! I just love it!! :)

Carmen said...

You cracked the secret AND you're saving money! GO you! :)

All Things Cherish said...

That looks delish!! I so envy your drive-thru Starbucks. Can you believe there isn't a single drive thru Starbucks in Northern VA. It's ridic! Although I really have no excuse since I don't have to lug any small children into the store, but still1 ; ) I took full advantage just yesterday when I was in your neck of the woods for a hair appointment!

Melissa said...

Way to go! Do tell more about the magic mocha powder!

As for restaurant-style recipes, I subscribe to Top Secret Recipes (.com) for the free recipe each week. And I'd love to be able to make restaurant-quality Buffalo wings without deep-frying, but I doubt that it's possible.

slommler said...

I love the drive thru as well!! My husband, though, loves to go in and sit in their comfy chairs. Sigh! I just want to drive through and suck down my coffee!! LOL!!
Congrats on getting your own machine and making it work!
That is super
Hugs
SueAnn

Melissa said...

Oops ... Not all of the Top Secret Recipes are free. Quite a few are, but some require payment. I don't have any of those. :)

Nadir @ Hodgepodge said...

Oooooh sounds yummy! When you learn how to make the espresso truffle w/ toffee nut syrup in it, gimmie a ring b/c I'm coming over! Lol! That's my fav from starbucks. I've always wanted to learn to make Olive garden's salad dressing. Mmmm! I actually have the recipie for Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits too & they're to die for! Mmmm!

Xazmin said...

LOVE the mug! There's some fun recipe sites online that have copycat recipes! I have the recipe for Chili's Southwestern eggrolls...but I haven't tried it yet!

I LOVE those things!!

Samantha said...

We tried our own Pumpkin Spice Lattes back in the Fall using a Starbucks imitation recipe. It was okay...but Starbucks was definitely better!

Laura said...

Girl! You crack me up! I will buy that e book! (at the discounted rate...)

I hear ya about drive thrus and car seats. Just too much to do all that buckling and unbuckling. I am, happily (and not so happily), out of car seats and in boosters. Somewhat easier.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

I'm a Starbucks lover, just like you! DH & I actually got ourselves an Espresso machine for Christmas two years ago. It took us a FULL YEAR to learn how it works, but now we can make his favorite (dark espresso) and mine (steamed milk with vanilla; I drink like I'm in kindergarten) at a fraction of the cost!

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

ChocolateAddict said...

I was lucky to learn to use a machine at my old job, they had those and all the "condiments" - but the secret is definitely buying the mixes and flavorings from SB, otherwise they don't taste the same at all.

natalie said...

My favorite- the recipe I found that mimics the amazing Red Lobster herb cheese biscuits. So, so good... but there was no way I was going to swing Red Lobster more than once a year, if that...

Holly said...

Do they sell the powder at Starbuck's? This is big news...

Shannon P. said...

It looks great! And I love your mug!

Sarah @ Dream In Domestic said...

That looks so good! I can only imagine the amount of money you're saving (depending on how often you would go buy coffee from Starbucks). I'm glad you were able to crack the code!

There is a little Mexican restaurant in a suburb of the Twin Cities called El Loro which has the best chip dip that look like a more liquefied sour cream and tastes out of this world. They will not tell anyone the ingredients, so I am going crazy trying to figure it out!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Love the mug and passing the tip to my daughter tonight.....Love your blog...

Kathysue said...

Hi I came to your blog via Morning T. Just read through you post and so enjoyed your great sense of humor. I am adding you to my Morning read along with T. Kathysue

Farmgirl Paints said...

You are so funny. I can't believe you cracked the code. Now you need to come over and make me some of that yummy coffee. Seriously I'm craving it now, and it's 9:30 at night!!

Infarrantly Creative said...

Krispy Kremes, Chick Fil Chicken please...come on crack it for me Amanda.

Jen@balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Ok, you know I have always loved you, but now you are Queen BEE...and where did you buy that $7 can of powder cuz I will buy it tomorrow. I'm going back and rereading your post....did I miss it? :)

Shelley said...

You are completely hilarious! So where do we get the magical powder?

Bird said...

Yep, just buy the shoes!!!

That looks scrumptious!!

Nicole R.J. said...

Cute mug! In my desperate hunt to recreate the Peppermint Mocha Latte at home I discovered that you can buy the big bottles of Starbucks syrup for around $10! That plus a squirt of chocoale quick makes every latte a good one around our house! :)

erinbeth said...

hhhmmm, do i hug you or hate you for holding onto that info during the last few weeks of blizzard hell?? i'll get back to you on that---after i go make a mocha.

Carrie said...

I just stopped in by way of another blog and I am already hooked! I was laughing out loud reading this post. I too have a 2yo and I feel your pain! I drive out of my way just to hit the drive thru!

Anny said...

Way to use that cute toddler to your full advantage!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Too funny! I'm glad you finally have your coffee fix at home. Starbucks is crazy-stupid-expensive!!!!

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I just found your blog today and am thoroughly enjoying it :) As a stay at home mom, I recently discovered the secret to tasty mochas, sans $7 syrup (although you have me wanting to buy some and try it now!). The receipe I've been following is:
*1/8-1/4 c. of whipping cream (so worth the fat/calories!)
*about 1-1. c. coffee (made with two tbsp of coffee grounds to the 1.5 c water-read: crawl out of the cup strong)
*2 tsp hot cocoa mix
*favorite syrup (I use mini-candy cane sticks for peppermint, since we had so many left over at Christmastime)

Not healthy but certainly happy :)

Take care,
Heidi

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I just found your blog today and am thoroughly enjoying it :) As a stay at home mom, I recently discovered the secret to tasty mochas, sans $7 syrup (although you have me wanting to buy some and try it now!). The receipe I've been following is:
*1/8-1/4 c. of whipping cream (so worth the fat/calories!)
*about 1-1. c. coffee (made with two tbsp of coffee grounds to the 1.5 c water-read: crawl out of the cup strong)
*2 tsp hot cocoa mix
*favorite syrup (I use mini-candy cane sticks for peppermint, since we had so many left over at Christmastime)

Not healthy but certainly happy :)

Take care,
Heidi

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