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By Claudberta Meador

I cannot imagine anything more pleasing than waking to the aroma of brewing Java bringing a smile to my lips before my eyes open. Once the first pot is gone, my mind is in automatic - reaching, filling, and pouring until I hear the crystal clear tinkling of the wonderful dark life liquid filling my pot.

Coffee has been a prima role of my universe since I was six years’ old living in Italy. My Nanny thought it fit to give me espresso every morning when I woke and with my mid day meal. She declared it pacified a child feeding some needed unknown verve source.

Needless to say as I grew into an adult and had to fend for myself, or pay my own way without the amenities of home that I had grown accustomed to. I also learned that owning the proper equipment was not an inexpensive feat. In attempts I tried to satisfy my desire throughout the years trying different coffee beans in less than perfect coffee makers.

Those times passed quickly and soon the expensive espresso machine found its home on my counter top eagerly begging me to use it again and again.

Here we are nearly eighteen years later, the espresso machine is gone. We buried it years ago and I watched as it died in a dreaded slow sizzling end. No longer do I purchase expensive imported beans, or buy expensive gourmet coffee. With two growing teens college bound the budget doesn’t allow it, but it does not stop my craving to have a great cup of Java.

I have tried the instant cappuccino varieties, none seem strong enough or they contained phenylalanine, which is something my body cannot take. There had to be a way to get the same rich flavored coffees I had grown accustomed to. I decided to experiment and I found an alternative that is cost effective.

Instant Method

The first is a quick fix by using a dark roasted blend of your favorite instant coffee and add a tablespoon of flavored cocoa. The possibilities are endless with everything from a double mocha cafe to a raspberry mocha café. This can also be made in batches, then twist tied or using a fashionable string tied into little baggies for easy opening. Do not forget to label your bags as to what is in them, they are also great for personalized gift giving.

1-2 tablespoons of instant coffee
1 tablespoon of instant cocoa flavoring (pre-packaged)
1-2 tsp coffee creamer if desired

Brewed Method

The second and most favorable with me are some dark brews of your favorite coffee. My choice is Folgers simply because they have a variety of blends now available. The dark French roast works well, or Gevalia makes an excellent espresso blend for drip coffee makers. I use the same tablespoon of cocoa mix of whichever flavor I am in the mood for, or a simple cafe latte without the flavored cocoa.

Here is the special ingredient, a hand-held blender, 1/8 cup of very cold skim milk at this point you can add your flavored cocoa or a couple drops of vanilla flavor and begin to blend. The hand-held models are meant to aerate, turning the skim milk into a creamy froth. Moving the blender up and down in the glass will assure you have aerated it well. Now you pour your freshly dark brewed coffee into your favorite mug. Do not be a milksop use a good size mug, because you know it won’t be too long before you do this again. Slowly pour the skim milk mixture into your cup. Rinse off your blender, rinse out your glass and your coffee is done. An impeccable cup of latte the way you want it.

1 cup freshly brewed java
1-2 tablespoons of flavored cocoa mix (your choice)

1/8 cup of very cold skim milk aerated to be added last.

You can substitute aerated milk with a couple drops of vanilla flavoring, or whatever flavoring you may have and sugar to taste omitting the cocoa mix.

My favorite Recipe "Choco Monkey Latte"
1 cup freshly brewed strong Folgers Dark Roast
1 tablespoon packaged cocoa (un sweetened)
2 drops of banana flavoring added to the aerated milk mixture

I propose you experiment with flavors and the amount of skim milk you use depending on the cup size you normally use. If it appears to be too much and you only need half the amount save what you have blended in the refrigerator for later, but by evening I suggest you toss it out. The mixture is not something that you can save for more than a day. Remember to re-whip the milk mixture again to make sure you have a good thick consistency.