Until recently I have never really been a coffee guy. When I do drink it, it’s usually guy black or maybe I will throw a sugar packet in there to make it kind of a bitter sweet thing. For a long time I was on the sugar free Redbull train. Not only is that just an insanely expensive daily habit, I’m pretty sure it was slowly killing me. I do enjoy one now and then though, can't just totally cut it out of my life.
So that left a giant hole where I had been stuffing caffeine and who knows what every morning. Coffee it was.
We have a pretty nifty drip coffee machine that can make a pot in a blink of an eye and it wasn't too bad. Just bulked up on coffee at Costco and called it good.
My wife wakes up before me on the weekdays so there is alway at pot just sitting there ready to be drunk. It was the logical next step in my caffeine consumption.
When it came to making coffee fancier, I am not a fan, what so ever. So the array of syrups my wife had stashed away in a cupboard just didn't get used by me. I tried adding some a few times but it just gave it such a strange overly sweet flavor with a kick of bitter from the coffee.
So it went, for a long time, just plain black coffee in the morning.
Until I remembered my wonderful wife got me a Nespresso with a milk frother for my birthday years ago. It sat in a cabinet untouched and unused for years. The kicker was we had also bought a ton of coffee pods before it fell out of fashion with us. It was just a complete cappuccino set up ready to go with no extra costs.
I thought, what the heck, not drinking Red Bulls anymore, let's fire it up.
And let me tell you, if you like coffee in any sort of way, from ritual to habit, it is a game changer being able to make cappuccinos at home whenever you want.
This is where all those syrups my wife has come in handy. Add some to your milk before you froth it and you instantly have fantastic flavor cut in.
Although, I do have to add that before I tried the flavors I was struggling trying to do everything by hand. I think it is the food columnist in me to find the proper way to do things before taking the easy way. I would add sugar, cinnamon and other spices to the milk before I froth it trying to find that perfect balance.
While I was getting close, it still did not hold a hand to anything bought at a coffee shop. So I got lazy one day and put some vanilla syrup and caramel syrup in my milk and BAM! Revelation.
It is easy, repeatable the exact same way every time and tastes amazing.
That being said, I have dove deep into the world of syrup flavorings and found you can go from the easy to find classics like Torani vanilla to the more extreme madagascar bourbon vanilla bean syrup made by Amoretti. Much like buying vanilla at the store, quality plays a huge role in price. A 750ml bottle of vanilla from Torani will run you about $9 while the madagascar bourbon vanilla by Amoretti will set you back nearly $30.
While that price tag seems outrageous, it more than makes up for it with flavor. Having real bits of madagascar vanilla floating around in your homemade cappuccino makes it feel like you just went and bought it from a coffee shop.
They also claim you can get 94 servings out of one bottle. While I have found that to be closer to 50, when you factor in the price of an espresso pod and the syrup you are still only playing $1.20 on a premium cappuccino.
A certain coffee chain with a green logo will charge you $4.30 for a cappuccino that uses a lower quality syrup for the same amount of espresso.
So I thought, why not, pull the trigger, Doug, and get the fancy syrup to go with your morning drink.
I have not looked back since.
While the upfront cost of buying the whole setup is not cheap, you could recoup your costs in two months if you buy a $4 coffee everyday.