Bringing Your Coffee Shop Habit Home

Coffee has changed over the years, as anyone who remembers the dark, frappĂ©-free days of the past will be able to tell you. There was a time, not that long ago, when "going for coffee" was a very different thing. There wasn't much choice to be had. Black or white. Sugar, or not. Possibly an artificial sweetener. If you were adventurous, you might plump for a cappuccino. It's all changed now. You don't need to have a basic command of conversational Italian to order a hot drink, but it helps. For some of us, this is embarrassing. We like sweet coffee, but feel self-conscious trying to master the various ways in which we have to ask for it. Should we pronounce the “E” in “grande”? Is “tall” large, small, or something in between?

That's not to mention the cost of such coffee establishments, which can be substantial. Your £5 coffee might seem like a nice, inexpensive treat a couple of times a week - right up until the point you realise that's £520 a year. The solution is, thankfully, easily enough found - make it at home. While the initial setup costs of such an idea might be more substantial than a quick cup of Joe at your local coffee house, you'll be able to keep enjoying it time and again. To help you see if the decision to brew at home is one worth doing, here's an overview of the most common questions - and the answers you need.

Can I Make These Drinks With Instant Coffee?
Definitely. It will just taste like rain, but you can totally do it. Or you're probably better off with a percolator or filter coffee machine as your at-home version of barista tools. One of the best coffee experts, John Beans, argues that using such coffee maker you will achieve maximum similarity in taste and strength compared to restaurant coffee. Yes, there is more of an outlay up front. But you'll save in the long term - a bag of good coffee in the supermarket, which will make several cups, costs less than one order in a coffee shop. Bear in mind that, if you have a serious coffee habit, then it's worth branching out from instant. You'll find yourself a convert in no time at all and what seems intimidating to begin with will swiftly become second nature.

I Live Alone - Is It Worth Buying This Stuff?
Yes, and the same goes if you're a coffee drinker in a tea household. You can buy single-cup coffee machines so there's no waste and you get the perfect cup every time. Plus you have the tools to offer friends, family and other guests and amazing drink any time they pop round.

Can I Do Frappes / Mochas / etc?
The only limit is your imagination. It's easy enough to find substitute recipes for your coffee shop favourites online. You will likely need to invest in some coffee syrups, but they're easily enough found in most supermarkets. Then all you need is a reusable (preferably BPA-free) thermal mug and you're set to go. You'll have saved money, learned a new skill and opened up a range of flavours.