Spring Forward with A Coffee Bar
Coffee bars are not just for winter, see how we Spring Forward with A Coffee Bar adding a fresh new twist on the coffee bar for warmer months.
Honestly I had the best of intentions of releasing this post for daylight savings weekend, but there were just too many holidays in March this year. So, this post got pushed until after Easter. I figured that is okay, because people drink coffee year round. Some of us, eh hmmm… Mr. Gainer, still have not acclimated to the spring forward time change. So let Spring Forward with A Coffee Bar.I have seen so many beautiful set ups for coffee, tea and hot chocolate bars for this winter. I have to say I love them all; from the free standing furniture bars, to the custom built in kitchen bars. I also have gotten a lot of questions about what to do with these spaces for the spring and summer months. Let me just start by saying, while you may not be drinking marshmallow laden hot chocolate year round, at my house coffee is a staple and so is tea. So you keep it out of course! Maybe add in a few ice coffee options or organic teas just to mix things up a bit.
What makes a good coffee bar? My personal coffee bar is set up to be a functional part of my kitchen. I designated a separate cabinet above the coffee maker to house only cups, sweeteners, pods and various other supplies needed for coffee. I actually styled it after my first coffee bar 10 years ago, in our first home. My inspiration came from traveling abroad, and falling in love with elaborate European coffee stations in our hotels. I honestly think my love for a coffee station stemmed from the fact that they used Nespresso machines, which is on my wishlist right now.In my previous coffee bar, we had a Keurig K-cup coffee maker, which is very convenient to purchase refills for and has a ton of flavor options. I found this great dispenser which can hold 9 types of the K-cups. So, I had plenty of room for regular coffee, decaf, tea, cocoas, cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and even ice coffees. We have recently added a new Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine to our line up and we love it, as far as our coffee goes. Now we have really great blends and rich options that are whipped into a beautiful frothy espresso style cup of coffee. Just like the ones we would have in Europe. The varieties are really amazing and come from around the world, we decided to invest in one of each flavor to determine our favorites when we bought the machine. Now we know our favorite Variety Pack that we order directly from the company and have them shipped to our door. Plus we get to try the Annual Seasonal Flavors as well. As I mentioned, I took my inspiration for my coffee bar from European hotels. Which all had a trash can nearby for the empty pods. I found a super small flip top trash can that I placed on the counter just for this reason. Call me lazy, but I am making the coffee bar for convenience. Plus I want to keep people out of the kitchen on busy mornings, the last thing I want is someone trying to get to the trash can under the sink.I also like to add flavors to my coffees. As an avid Starbucks drinker, I took notice one day at the syrups they used for my pumpkin spice latte. Then I went home and looked them up. To my surprise you could order the exact same bottles with dispenser pumps online. Voila, instant coffee bar.The Almond and Irish Cream are a few of our springtime favorites, which we change out with Pumpkin Spice and Salted Caramel in the Fall. You may also notice that ours are sugar free, they also make regular syrups too, this is just our preference to cut out some additional sugar in our daily in take. I personally like a Nutty Irishman which is the 1 pump Hazelnut and 2 pumps Irish Cream, or French Amaretto 2 pumps French Vanilla and 1 pump Almond . My husband is a little more simplistic, and drinks 2 pumps of one flavor at a time, and he prefers Pumpkin Spice year round, lol.
Another fun little addition we have made is adding in a milk frother. This is a nice way to add cream or milk your the top of coffee, cappuccino and espresso. You can also make all those fancy coffee drinks available at your favorite coffee shops but at home.
It has four settings so you can have 3 types of warm whipped milk from thin to thick or a thick cold whipped milk for macchiatos. I have found the warmed milk setting makes great hot cocoa in the winter time, just a word of advice.
Once your milk is whipped you can just dollop it on top of your choice of coffee or espresso. As you can I am still working of making patterns, which is challenging, but we will get there. What would a coffee station be without stir sticks? Yes, you can use spoons, but if you are going for a no wash, toss and go convenience, this is it folks. When I am done stirring in my half a gallon of creamer, the stick gets tossed in that very same countertop trash bin. I like using this old antique french salt box as my stir stick holder, I think it looks cute in my kitchen. Finally, make sure that you have easy grab and go muffins or pastries for your coffee bar. Pictured below are some of my favorite chocolate croissants from Trader Joe’s they bake up so nice and are divine when fresh from the oven. I also keep a section of cookies, muffins or coffee cake under a cake dome which makes self service in the mornings very easy.Feel free to check out a few of my own homemade favorite recipes that can be found under my cake dome regularly. Almost Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies & Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes. The Blueberry Lemon cupcakes actually make an excellent morning muffin, just leave off the frosting.
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