Tag Archives: coffee

One Small Thing: Coffee Filters

 

In this series I am highlighting one small change you can make to your daily routine or one small thing you can do to make the world a little less wasteful. Don’t miss the previous posts about cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, water bottles, straws, and travel mugs.

Today we are continuing the caffeine chat with: Coffee Filters

This includes regular-sized coffee pot filters, as well as Keurig-style pod cups.

one small thingone small thing

A Brief History of Coffee Filters

As the story goes, all coffee used to be brewed the same way as Turkish coffee insists on being brewed: hot and dark and with the grounds still in the finished drink. This often led to an unpleasant taste and gritty texture.

One day, a housewife decided she was tired of chewing her morning drink. She tried a few different items around the house and found that her son’s blotting paper and a copper pot with holes put in it were the perfect combination for getting the black gold liquid without the gross solids.

And thus, the filter was born.

Through the years we have improved and refined filters based on material type, thickness, and adding ruffles. Those variegated sides help the liquid flow better, and the thickness and grade of paper determines how finely it can filter.

There are even filters made from a far wider array of materials than wood pulp, such as metal, bamboo, even gold.

What Are Coffee Filters Made Of?

Let’s imagine that at least one of those 2.7 cups of coffee per day consumed by 150 million Americans is made at home. That means at least 150 million coffee filters are used per day. And probably at least 149.9 million of those are tossed into the trash, destined for the landfill.

Every day.

coffee filter

Enter the Keurig

Coffee was chugging along, enjoying a slow but steady rise in popularity, when along came an invention that shot it to meteoric fame in homes and offices alike.

Yes, the Keurig.

Originally founded in 1992, Keurig launched its office brewers and line of products in 1998. As the single-serve brewer gained popularity among our instant gratification, everyone-is-unique culture, the Keurig became a household name and expanded for home use in 2004.

Green Mountain Coffee bought the Keurig company and brand in 2006, and business boomed for both through that partnership.

Several more acquisitions and mergers later and they are now part of the Keurig Doctor Pepper brand, and is now “a publicly traded conglomerate which is the third largest beverage company in North America.[

And of course, I must step up onto my soap box for a moment to lambast the Keurig k-cup, or pod, or whatever you want to call this insidious piece of single use plastic crap.

An estimated one in three homes has a Keurig brewer, and the company is on pace to sell over three billion cups per year.

That’s a sh*t-ton of plastic.

Even the inventor of the K-cup says he sort of regrets it… and he doesn’t even own a Keurig machine, saying “They’re kind of expensive to use”.

There’s been much backlash against the waste produced, even to the point of a YouTube video entitled “Kill the K-Cup” which dramatizes the damage it is doing and ends with “Kill the K-Cup before it kills our planet”.

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/116606409″ width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

When the patents expired, tons of knockoff brewers and cups flooded the market, many of which are better choices based on being recyclable, compostable, or reusable.

Though thank goodness, they are finally trying to change the composition of the cup such that the material is more attractive to recyclers and thus can be diverted for re-use rather than sent to landfills worldwide.

 

How Can You Do Better?

If you use a paper/bamboo filter, compost it

The first point is that most coffee filters are totally compostable! Yes, most are made of paper, and you can toss them into a compost pile or bin, coffee grounds included. The coffee grounds will provide a great source of nitrogen to your plants, while the filter itself will provide some great carbon.

 

Consider re-usable filters

Next, consider a re-useable coffee filter. I bought myself this one, and use it every day. Each night I dump the spent grounds into my compost bin, give it a quick rinse, and restock with fresh grounds for the next day. Easy peasy. I will probably never have to buy another filter in my life! How awesome is that.

We also have 2 sets of these reusable Keurig cups, which hubs uses in his home office, and I took one to work as well. They fit in most Keurig-style coffee makers, but make sure you read the full list in the product description to make sure yours is one with which it is compatible.

 

Another Option: the French Press

A French Press is a (usully) glass container into which you pour raw grounds and hot water to let it steep. It has a filter attached to a pump / handle that you simply press down, and it filters out the grounds. You then pour out your hot coffee, leaving the solids behind. A quick rinse of the press, and you’re good to go.

If it’s just you, try a small 1L size press, or if you have a big thirst or multiple java fiends try the larger 12 cup version. The press is reusable for many many years, and some say even makes a better tasting, less bitter brew, since it doesn’t soak in any oils from the grounds the way a paper filter does.

Can’t Forget My Tea Drinkers!

Oh yes, don’t think just because you don’t get your caffeine from coffee that I’ve forgotten about you. If you morning caffeine hit comes from a nice hot cuppa Earl Grey or a London Fog, this still applies to you.

If you already use only loose-leaf tea with a filter of some sort, then thank you, and feel free to tune out.

Filters and french presses can definitely be used for tea just as easily as coffee grounds. And they can be just as impactful on the environment. In fact, individual tea bags are responsible for several thousands of tons of non-biodegradable waste.

Though like filters, most are made from paper, least 20-30 percent are made from non-recyclable and non-compostable materials. And even the paper kind rarely gets put into a compost pile, most just end up tossed in the trash bin.

Then there are the foil or plastic or plastic-lined packets that some individual bags are further wrapped in, the boxes that are plastic wrapped, the little metal staple that holds the tag on the bag… you get the picture.

Step 1: If you must have individual tea bags, then at least read up on your favorite companies about their production line. Learn which companies have better or worse practices, and maybe switch. Choose tagless, natural sourced bags with minimal packaging.

Step 2: When you use tea bags, compost them! If you don’t have a pile and don’t want to start one, see if there are any local gardens, community gardens, or schools that will take them. Most gardeners won’t turn down extra, free compost materials.

Step 3: Graduate to loose leaf! The bonus is that it is usually far cheaper per pound versus bagged since you don’t have to pay the “processing fee” of bagging and packaging them. You can also get creative a make your own mixes. Go ahead and put a teaspoon each of green tea, spearmint, and chamomile in a cup, you crazy lady you. And then use a filter, steeper, or French press. And compost the leaves, too!

 

Reasons you should consider reusable filters:
  • Saves you money
  • Saves you time – never shop for filters again
  • Saves you hassle – no more forgetting to pick up a new pack of filters at the store and having to buy to-go coffee or -gasp- go without
  • Saves the planet – keep hundreds of pounds of plastic waste out of the landfills

And now that you have your delicious, hot cup of low-waste coffee, don’t forget to put it in your own to-go mug!

 

 

How do you get your caffeine fix?

One Small Thing: Travel Mugs

 

In this series I am trying to highlight changes or swaps you can make in your day to day living to decrease your waste production and/or use of plastics. These things are not difficult, nor time consuming, nor expensive (nay in most cases they will save you money).

Just try One Small Thing at a time and see if it works for you.

And then try something else. And something else, and it becomes your new normal. And before you know it you can live low waste, stop contributing to landfills and polluting the ocean, and save oodles of cash year after year.

Today we will talk about an easy one: Travel Mugs.

one small thing: reusable coffee mugs

In today’s consumerist go-go-go culture, it seems our collective lifeblood is at least 90% caffeine.

The average U.S. coffee drinker consumes 2.7 cups of coffee per day, with the average size of a coffee cup measuring 9 ounces.

In total, approximately 150 million Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day — or more than 140 billion cups per year — making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world.

And though coffee makes up 3/4 of all caffeinated beverage consumption, we indulge in our fair share of tea and hot cocoa as well (source1 & source2).

one small thing: reusable coffee mugs

That’s a lotta joe!

And there is growing demand in developing nations as well, as China, India, and more attempt to lead increasingly Westernized lifestyles.

The biggest suppliers are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia (source 4). I know at least a few of those surprised me. Worldwide, we devour more than 121.5 million bags (60kg each, that 7.2 billion kg!) of coffee (source 5) and about 3 million tons of tea every year (source 6), with consumption of both rising.

This is in no way saying we should drink less caffeine!

I’m as addicted as anyone else, nearly nonfunctional without at least one cup of coffee by 10 am. I’ve even gotten to the point where I drink it black.

I’m so metal.

Just kidding, I avoid cream and also I’m cheap frugal. 🙂

one small thing: reusable coffee mugs

The problem is not the coffee.

The problem is not the tea.

The problem is the plastic-lined paper cups.

Literal mountains of them.

We throw away literally Billions of paper cups per year. Yes, most are made from recycled paper, which is great, and many companies even use that in their marketing.

But what they neglect to shout about is the fact that those recycled paper cups would totally leak burning hot liquid onto customers, without the dirty little secret inside.

“Though they are made largely of paper, disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic polyethylene, which is tightly bonded to the paper making the cups waterproof and therefore able to contain liquid.

In addition, the difficulty of recycling coffee cups is increased by the fact they are contaminated with drink. This means cups cannot be recycled at standard recycling plants, and must instead be taken to special facilities” (source 7).

In fact, less than 1% of all paper drink cups actually end up recycled.

Why is it so hard to give up this white cylinder of java?

Why You’re Still Not Bringing a Reusable Mug for Your Daily Coffee

To summarize the above article:

  1. Convenience – no one wants to have to remember a mug and carry it around all day
  2. Social status – carrying that white cup tells the world “I’m important and busy so I need coffee, and only the best and only the most convenient will do”
  3. 10 cents back for bringing your own doesn’t work – “Consumers are much more motivated to avoid a fine than to take advantage of a reimbursement, according to numerous behavioral economics studies (like this one). ” (source 8)

Walking around with a white mug can be just a simple way to get your java fix on the go, but it also has become a big part of our culture. The local coffee shop is a place to meet with friends, to catch up, for business meetings, or for focusing & working remotely.

The to-go mug signals that you are a part of the “busy professional” part of society. Even if you think that social cues don’t affect you, trust me, they do.

one small thing: reusable coffee mugs

So what’s a conscious consumer to do?

I’m definitely on board with bringing your own, obviously. That goes for water bottles and napkins and utensils too. Preparation is step one to success.

Just find yourself a mug, preferably insulated, that has a lid. Toss that into your purse, car, or gym bag. And then when you need some hot tea or coffee, you’re all set!

They are re-usable over and over and over, and usually just require a quick rinse between uses. Run them through a dishwasher every now and then too.

Mugs / tumblers come in tons of cute colors, patterns, materials, with reusable straws, and in different sizes to suit any need.

You can even use a mason jar! No kidding. Maybe get iced coffee though, since heat will transfer through the glass.

Oh, and you’ll probably also get a small discount

But, I’m definitely guilty of forgetting things.

Like, daily.

So another idea that has been proposed, and I think is a fantastic one, is a well-established mug exchange program, with branded, eye-catching tumblers.

This could be just among one chain, a local joint, or many coffee shops all throughout a campus or a city.

It would require a small ‘membership fee’ to get the first mug. Then you can drink it there, or take it to go. There would have to be a simple way to maintain membership status signaling, perhaps through a reusable lid you keep between cups.

Then the mugs can be returned to be washed at any other participating location.

Imagine how many paper cups could be saved!

This would also solve the problem of inconsistent mug sizes. If the menu only has prices for 10, 12, or 16 ounces but your mug is 9 or 24 ounces, how is the barista to ring you up? If the mugs were standard, that is no longer a problem.

You still get the convenience of having it to-go, if it is the tall, insulated ceramic type of mug.

And you still have the convenience of multiple locations.

Over time, as this became more accepted and became the social norm, this concept of reusable mugs would become the top social class, and reuse would be something to be proud of, to get all your friends on board with, and to brag about.

 

Want to learn about more Small Things you can do? Read up on cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, no more straws, and water bottles.

 

 

Are you on board the reusable cup train? Or do you find it annoying, inconvenient, or other thoughts?

Chocolatey Banana Coffee Milkshake

 

Who loves a meal solution that is easy, healthy, and super fast??

I know my hand is raised. While I do love the occasional intricate breakfast (after all, what are weekends for if not a strata, homemade crepes, cinnamon rolls, or banana pancakes?) that is just not feasible for every day. Most mornings have between 2 and 10 minutes to devote to making sure I’m fed.

Now I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, trust me. That’s why I simply cannot go with having nothing at all. But man, it is just really hard sometimes to make a hot, solid food at 7 am! And I hate to admit the number of time I’ve eaten pop-tarts this year is not zero…

C’mon people, I know I’m not alone here.

Why do you think there’s a Starbucks on every corner, along with Dunkin Donnuts, Tim Hortons, and all the local coffee and donut joints nationwide? And they all always seem to have a line.

Boy, have I found the perfect solution! I like a healthy breakfast, which includes protein, fiber, and nutrients. And I need coffee. Why not combine them into one easily drinkable drink!

I find it’s hard to get solid food down sometimes when it’s so early my stomach hasn’t woken up yet. But a shake or smoothie is always possible. Now I finally understand protein shakes; for so many years I was mystified how people could replace solid food with liquids. Now I know.

This shake is chocolatey because of the flavored protein powder, but you could also use non-flavored protein and simply add a tbsp of cocoa powder for the same effect. Use a plant-based milk instead of regular milk, and a plant-based protein instead of whey for a vegetarian option.

The banana is also optional, but I like knowing that I got a serving of fruit with my caffeinated milkshake (which is what this tastes like).

Ingredients:

  • 1 sm-med banana
  • 8-10 oz coffee
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)
  • Handful of ice cubes (optional)

Step 1: Blend everything well, until smooth. The longer you blend it, the creamier and ‘fluffier’ it becomes because of the whey. Other protein blends may not cause this, experiment until you find the type and amount you like best.

Now go conquer your day, caffeinated and protein-powered!

Coffee Body Scrub

 

Don’t you just love the feeling of soft, smooth skin? And doesn’t the smell of coffee energize you and wake you right up in the morning? It doesn’t hurt that I love finding new ways to use up things I would otherwise throw out, like used coffee grounds.

How about we combine those two things into a simple, practical body scrub!

You can make this for yourself to make mornings more tolerable, or gift it to other special people in your life. It’s sugar and coffee particles scrub skin smooth, the oil hydrates and softens, and the coffee scent just perks you up.

No one needs to know it took mere minutes to make (because there are only three ingredients), and is absurdly frugal to put together!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tbsp fine coffee grounds

IMG_7208

Step 1: Just mix all three ingredients! You can scale up to make gifts by combining 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups grounds, then adding oil and mixing until it reached a wet sand consistency. Put in a cute clear jar and tie a little ribbon around it.

IMG_7209

Or, if this is your own personal spa treatment, this small batch is perfect to whip up before your morning shower or for a relaxing afternoon soak. It exfoliates, has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps tighten skin. The perfect way to start a beautiful day!

How to stay cool, plus a Keurig give-away!

 

Summer is winding down, but there are still a few scorchers ahead. And even through the fall and winter, sometimes it’s nice to have a frosty beverage pick-me-up. Iced drinks are my number one favorite way to keep cool, as they taste great and also cool your internal body temperature, making it easier to beat the heat.

It’s no secret that I love my caffeinated beverages, and have finally figured out the secret to Perfect Iced Coffee. This trick works with tea, juices, or any other drink as well. Try it yourself and see how great it is to no longer have watered-down drinks that are still icy cold.

This summer, Keurig is sponsoring a nation-wide #StayCool contest! If you share a photo of how you stay cool on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you are entered in a contest to win a Keurig K Cup and other fun goodies!

  • On your mobile device, take a photo and share it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #StayCool & #Sweeps. Make sure to share your location!
  • Your photo will appear on the interactive map where you can see how everyone else is riding out the summer heat. You’ll automatically get a chance to win a Keurig® brewer and Brew Over Ice K-Cup® packs!

In other exciting news, The Budget Epicurean is partnering with Keurig for a K Cup beverage give-away! Readers who enter will have the chance to win:

  1. A variety pack of Keurig K Cups
  2. Coupons for BOGO K Cups
  3. An ebook with drink recipes

Top three entries will receive the prizes in order. One other mode of entry is to send an email to BudgetEpicurean (at) gmail (dot) com with your name and how you #StayCool! Raffle ends 8/25/2014. Winners will be notified and posted about on 8/26/2014.

BudgetEpicurean Keurig giveaway, by Rafflecopter.

This is why I was super-pumped to get a Keurig K-Cup brewer! IMG_4471

I’ve long laughed at the idea of a one-cup wonder, as I tend to brew a big ‘ol pot of java on Monday and use it throughout the week (or freeze it… hint hint). However, I’ve been more and more curious as tons of new options come out for this bad boy. What if I only wanted one cup of hot coffee? What if I wanted to try a new type of tea? What if I wanted cold tea?

IMG_4472

Well, now Keurig has the answer to all these dilemmas! Hot tea, any kind you want, just one cup, and no tea kettle required. Cold tea, perfect for sunny days, porch sipping, or watching your show on the couch. Coffees, flavored coffees, decaf too. All at the touch of a button.

IMG_4473

I have to admit, I’ve only tried a few varieties so far and I’m already in love! This guy had earned its counter space the first day I had it. Set-up was a breeze, and it was ready to brew within minutes of leaving the package.

IMG_4475

The first thing I tried was the Vitamin Burst acai berry Cold Brew. It smelled delicious the second it began brewing.

IMG_4479

Simply fill up a tall glass with ice cubes, pop in the cup, and hit ‘brew’. Easy peasy.

IMG_4480

This is a 24 oz cup I think, and it was done in less than a minute.

IMG_4483

I just popped on some berries and a cute umbrella as garnish, and enjoyed!

IMG_4484

The flavor is delightful, refreshing and light. I found the highest brew setting was just sugary enough for me, though you could choose lower amounts of water if you like it stronger.

keurig ice splash

Trying to re-create the ice cube “splash” on the box. =)

IMG_4492

The Keurig obviously works wonders for coffee. For just one cup in the mornings or afternoon, pop in your favorite and hit the button. You can have six people with six different favorites, and serve up a hot fresh round in minutes. My counter is now half dedicated to beverages.

IMG_4494

The brew-over-ice coffee is equally wonderful. Yes you will get some watered down effect, unless you use my tip

In case you missed it above, The Budget Epicurean is partnering with Keurig for a K Cup beverage give-away! Readers who enter will have the chance to win:

    1. A variety pack of Keurig K Cups
    2. Coupons for BOGO K Cups
    3. An ebook with drink recipes

Top three entries will receive the prizes in order. One other mode of entry is to send an email to BudgetEpicurean (at) gmail (dot) com with your name and how you #StayCool! Raffle ends 8/25/2014. BudgetEpicurean Keurig giveaway, by Rafflecopter!

Disclaimer: Keurig machine and K-Cups were provided by Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., all opinions are those of the Budget Epicurean.

[subscribe2]

Save

Perfect Iced Coffee

 

If you ever tried to make an iced coffee at home only to end up with lukewarm, watery coffee; or if you’ve ever tried to make a homemade Frappuccino and ended up with cold coffee-scented water, this post is for you.

My friend B is a bit of a Starbucks addict. Any time the S word is mentioned, off we go for venti frappuccinos. Because of the significant toll this takes on your wallet, we started experimenting at home. Regular hot coffee is a no-brainer; it is far cheaper to brew your own in the mornings, saving you $1-4 per day. About $5 per pound of coffee and $1 for 100 filters will give you a few months of java.

The problem is when it heats up outside, a steaming cup of coffee isn’t so desirable. When you pour hot coffee over frozen water, physics dictates that you end up with a watery, tasteless, lukewarm beverage. Then she came up with the most brilliant idea ever: freeze extra coffee into coffee cubes!

coffee cubes

We then pop these into a plastic bag in the freezer, and use them when the hankering for an iced coffee hits. They can also be blended into your own version of a frappuccino. Feel free to add in sugar, honey, creamer, cocoa powder, Hershey’s syrup…

IMG_2075

This saves money twice: extra coffee is not wasted, it is instead frozen for later. Also you can use that frozen coffee for two different types of frozen caffeinated beverages during the warm summer months.

IMG_2077

Step 1: Just fill your mug with coffee cubes, and pour more coffee over it. It is best to let the coffee cool down, or even put it in the refrigerator to chill before pouring. Physics still says hot liquid over frozen things will cause it to melt. =)

IMG_2078

Step 2: Add in your creamer and/or flavorings.

IMG_2079

Step 3: Give it a mix, and enjoy! Take your iced drink to work, school, the pool, a picnic, whatever. If you want a Frappuccino, simply fill a blender with coffee cubes, pour in a cup of cool coffee and flavorings, and blend until smooth. You can add whipped topping, cinnamon, Khalua… whatever your heart desires.

Iced coffee

Enjoy non-watery iced coffee every summer from now on!

 

Chocolate Shortcake with Balsamic Honey Strawberries and Patrón Cafe Whipped Cream

 

This post was developed in association with The Daily Meal and Driscoll’s in honor of National Strawberry Shortcake Day this June 14th!  #Driscollsberry @strawshort

Driscoll

As the days grow longer and hotter, we crave fresh, juicy fruits and light, refreshing desserts.  Every foodie’s favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh produce rolling in. From farmer’s market kale to home-grown lettuce to ripe berries, summer is a fresh food paradise.

Driscoll’s has been committed to growing strawberries for over 100 years. Each berry is loaded with vitamin C, folate, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Driscoll’s ensures year-round availability by growing strawberries in multiple locations. However, the summertime strawberries carry with them the warmth of the sun and long days to ripen, and are best used at the peak of the season.

strawberry bowl

Therefore, in celebration of summer, fresh berries, and sweet deliciousness, I decided to make the world’s finest Strawberry Shortcake. This was to be no ordinary biscuit with berries sprinkled on top. I searched the world wide web for inspiration, considered all kinds of crazy flavors, and took apart each element of the classic cake to come up with this recipe.

Dense, moist, and decadent chocolate shortcake. Thinly sliced plump Driscoll strawberries bathed in sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar and local Colorado honey, and the tour-de-force, a homemade French Vanilla whipped cream spiked with Patron Cafe.

choc shortcake

If you aren’t salivating by now, just keep scrolling for the pictures…

Shortcake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter (4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup milk

choc cake ingredients

For the strawberries:

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

IMG_2193

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz French Vanilla coffee creamer
  • 2 oz Patron cafe (or other coffee-flavored liquor)
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

Patron creamThis may seem intimidating, but trust me, it takes less than 30 minutes altogether. And the only ingredient I had to specifically go buy was the heavy cream. You can omit the Patron if you don’t like the taste or the alcohol content as well. Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, sugar. Sift together if you do things that way.

IMG_2206

Step 2: Cut in the cold butter or use a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Step 3: Stir as you pour in the milk. Batter should be just wet, and a bit sticky.

IMG_2207

Step 4: You can just drop the batter onto a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet, but I chose to bake mine in cupcake pans for shape. Pour about 1/4 cup into each well.

IMG_2213

Step 5: Bake at 400 for 15-17 minutes, until beginning to brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, chill a bowl and whisk in the refrigerator or freezer to make the whipped cream.

Step 6: Cut the tops off the strawberries, then stand them on end and cut into thin slices.

IMG_2194

I will totally not tell if you sneak a few as you’re cutting. Fresh strawberries are hard to resist! I know I had a few…

IMG_2215

Step 7: In a bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and honey. You may need to microwave for 15-20 seconds to get the honey and vinegar to mix well. Dump the sliced berries in, and mix well to coat. Set aside.

honey vinegar berries

Step 8: The home stretch, whipped cream time! Take out your cold bowl and whisk. Pour in 1 cup heavy whipping cream, and then whip the crap outta the cream.

whipping

The cream will start to thicken, and form stiff peaks. Add the 2 oz of creamer, powdered sugar, and Patron. Mix well again. Be sure to not over-beat it though, you don’t want alcoholic butter. Or maybe you do…

Patron
As you can see, my arm got tired and I resorted to a hand mixer. =)

Step 9: Now you have all three ingredients to assemble your masterpiece. Cut the cooled shortcupcakes in half, and smear on some cafe cream. Add a few slices of berries, and a drizzle of the extra juice.

IMG_2243

Put the top layer on, smear on some more cream, and top with berry slices.

IMG_2248

And there you have it! A delicious, fresh, unique dessert to wow a crowd or make a summertime picnic extra special. This recipe makes enough for 8 small cakes, you can easily double it to make a larger 9 inch round pan.

IMG_2252

The cake is flaky on the outside, yet moist on the inside, with just a hint of cocoa flavor. The whipped cream adds a mysterious bite, with a chocolate-complementing essence of coffee. Likewise, the balsamic vinegar is a unique, yet balancing tang to the coffee-chocolate notes, and the honey is just the right amount of sweet without being overwhelming. The longer you let the berries soak, the more they will take on this amazing flavor combination. You might want to make extra to just eat with a spoon!

IMG_2257

Now the next time you have a birthday, office gathering, garden party, or dinner you know where to turn for a uniquely impressive dessert that’s sure to bring compliments for years to come!