Sunday, March 13, 2016

Coffee, Tea and Yea

When it comes to pick-me-ups, none convey this more than a cup of pitch-black coffee.  For most people, having a drink of this devil's brew is oftentimes, is the only thing that gets them up in the morning.  An acquaintance of mine who works from early in the morning to late at night keeps his energy up by downing triple-booster caffeine energy drinks to keep him wired.

On the other hand, I avoid conveying the typical writer cliche, since I generally avoid consuming coffee in the first place.  Neither coffee or cigarettes appeal to me - both are simply too smelly for me to concentrate.  And I can barely sip soda drinks without recoiling from the fizzy sensation, let alone attempt to down any beverages.  (I am absolutely terrified of losing my inhibitions after years of keeping my overreactions in control)  A simple dose of chocolate is all the caffeine input I need to keep my energy up.

Of course, despite all warnings about how dangerous consuming large doses of coffee is, people who are busy busy busy have a hard time cutting back on their production without increasing their intake to include Ritalin and tea in the mix, which is understandable, given my selective ignorance on chocolate not being healthy.  (Even now, you're actively avoiding the link on Valentine's chocolate)  For the few brave souls who've decided to wean off to more reasonable rates and quitting altogether, as a gradual cold turkey, they find alternatives in staying awake and being motivated.

It's actually very hard for me to make recommendations for a drink I actively avoid, but my mother has been brewing a morning brew for herself that's something she takes pride in.  Recently, she showed her recipe to someone, and I took the opportunity to ask how she made this cheap procedure for making your own home-made Soy Mocha Latte with the following ingredients:

  • A pot of coffee already prepared
  • A large coffee mug
  • Skim Milk - accept no substitutes!
  • Chocolate Soy Milk
  • One microwave
  • One battery-charged frother

First, you get your coffee mug and fill it with 1/4 Skim Milk.  It HAS to be Skim Milk, and no other.  2%, 1% and even rice milk won't work as well for the frothing later.  Fat by itself simply doesn't froth.

Once your milk is in your mug, put it in the microwave until it's warm.  This will be dependent on the type of microwave you have, which will likely vary.  My parents have been using the same microwave for over thirty-five years, and it still works.  But it hasn't gone through such a long period of avoiding planned obsolescence without suffering a few knocks - the opening knob's held on with scotch tape, and some of the numbered buttons wouldn't work.  A repairman came over to fix the wiring... and wound up making things WORSE - now, only the "3", "6", "8", "9", "0" and "Start" buttons still work.  The "Clear" and "Time" buttons work too, but those are less essential than being able to warm up our bread in the morning.  And every time we suffer a power failure, or have to change the time due to Daylight Savings / Wasting Time, we have to wait until 3:00, 3:03, 3:06, 3:08, 3:09, 3:30, 3:33, 3:36, 3:38, 3:39, or 6:00, 6:03, 6:06, 6:08, 6:09, 6:30, 6:33, 6:36, 6:38, 6:39, 8:00... (you get the idea) before we can get the time right.

And that's only step one!  Moving on to step two!

Once your skim milk is warmed up, next comes the task of frothing the milk to a fine lather.  Normally, this would be done by using an extra-large cappuccino machine costing in the realm of $60-8000.  However, my parents weren't too crazy about having what amounted to another coffee machine taking up valuable space in the kitchen, and found a cheaper alternative from using a battery-charged handheld milk frother for just $5-10.  Plus tax.

Using this electric toothbrush-like device in the middle, you spin the Skim Milk at the bottom with a hearty FZOOOONT until you've built up a nice head of foam.

After that, you add 1/4 Chocolate Soy Milk to the mix, and put it back into the microwave again, until it's hot.

Then, once your concoction's hot and ready, you fill the remainder of the empty mug space with coffee until it's full.  The froth will rise to the top and avoid being spilled over.

If done correctly, you should have something along the lines of this:
Yes, that's a beer mug there.
If done incorrectly, chances are you used milk that was likely past the expiration date.  Get some regular skim milk not found in the bargain section of the store and try again.  Drinking with a straw is highly recommended to avoid getting a face full of foam.

Sprinkling cinnamon or chocolate powder on the frothing for extra taste is optional, though the froth sinks upon itself as a result of the extra weight.

After that, all that's left is to take a sip, and see if you want to try doing it again.

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