Gourmet coffee consumption has never been greater. In fact, according to the National Coffee Association, nearly 60% of all coffee served in the United States is brewed from premium beans, and consumption of espresso-based beverages like cappuccinos and lattes is up more than 50%! So, if you’re like most American coffee drinkers, there’s no better time to uncover some tricks of the trade and learn what to keep on hand at home to brew barista-quality drinks in your kitchen. Read on to find out what types of coffee to keep in your cupboard and how to make your favorite toppings and add-ins so you can bring out your inner barista and enjoy premium coffee whenever you want.
One thing that makes picking up your morning cup of kope (coffee in Hawaiian) from a cafe or coffee chain so convenient is the variety of beans and roasts you can choose from to customize your beverage in a hurry. From light to dark roasts and beans from growing regions worldwide, there is so much flavor to enjoy! So the first step to being an at-home barista is to bring a little variety into your kitchen. Here’s what we recommend you keep in your regular coffee rotation.
Something you can drink black
Some days you need to get moving and get your coffee as quickly as possible. So why not have beans on hand you can brew in a flash and enjoy without any additions? Keeping a stock of premium coffee beans you can brew and enjoy black is a great way to bring the convenience and quality of a cafe to your home. Premium coffee like Kauai Coffee Estate Reserve is the top of the crop. Our single-origin beans are expertly roasted to bring out distinct flavor and aroma. You won’t need to add anything unless you want to!
- Barrel Aged: This small-batch coffee is crafted and roasted after we age green Kauai Coffee beans in charred Koloa Rum oak barrels from our neighbors here on Kauai. This process gives our 100% Hawaiian beans a uniquely delicate, complex, bright, and sweet flavor profile with notes of rum, cocoa, honey, floral, dried berries, and oak. Koloa Rum Barrel Aged Kauai Coffee received a 92-point score from Coffee Review and is a barista-quality coffee you can enjoy anytime.
- Peaberry: Peaberry coffee is a naturally occurring mutation in arabica and robusta coffee varieties where only one bean develops inside the coffee cherry instead of two. Because peaberries are the only seed inside the coffee cherry, they tend to be smaller, rounder, and denser than their two-seeded counterparts. These characteristics can affect how evenly the bean roasts, which can affect the flavor. Peaberry lovers and some professional coffee graders also believe that because the single peaberry bean receives all of the nutrients of the coffee cherry rather than sharing with another seed, peaberries can have more caffeine and taste sweeter than other beans as well. Try Kauai Coffee Peaberry Dark and Medium Roasts
- Blue Mountain: The Blue Mountain varietal was introduced to Kauai Coffee in 1990. Kauai Blue Mountain is a whole bean, dark roast with mild fruit and floral flavors and brightness. It is the ultimate expression of Island coffee – smooth, mild, and subtle with a pleasantly bright aftertaste.
- Medium/Light roasts: Medium roast coffees are the most widely consumed in the United States and are a great option to keep in your pantry when you want a flavorful brew you can drink black. Light roast coffees also offer a world of bright, acidic, and fruit-forward flavors, so keep them on hand and enjoy hot or iced! Kope Olenalena is an excellent medium-light roast option!
Something you can dress up
When the craving for a cappuccino, latte, or flat white hits at home, it’s great to have a bean you can dress up with your favorite milk, syrups, and toppings! Here are a few of our favorites.
- Estate Roast: Our signature medium roast coffee is 100% Hawaiian coffee, with a smooth, delicious flavor and unique aroma. It’s the perfect coffee to dress up and drink morning, afternoon, or evening!
- ‘Ohana Collection: Bold and distinctive. Try Rooster Alarm, Big Braddah, and Aunty Aloha
- Poipu Estate Espresso Roast: Delicate and deep aroma with a well-rounded, full-body that adds to the buttery mouthfeel. Perfect for creamy lattes or bold Cafe Americanos.
Something you don’t have to work hard for
Sometimes you need all the flavor and decadence of a barista beverage without the hassle, and Kauai Coffee has you covered! Our uniquely flavored 100% Kauai Coffee delivers cafe flavor without the effort. Serve with a splash of your favorite milk or creamer, and you’ll have a barista-worthy creation in minutes!
- Coconut Caramel Crunch: One of our most popular items! Coconut Caramel Crunch is 100% Hawaiian Coffee combined with the all-natural flavoring of sweet, nutty caramel and tropical coconut.
- Hawaiian Pumpkin Pie: Coming soon! Our seasonal favorite returns in September and tastes like the holidays in Hawaii! We combine our 100% Hawaiian coffee with the sweet warmth of cinnamon and caramel and a hint of toasted pecan.
- Toasty Banana Nut Cream: Hawaiian-style banana bread you can drink! Add your favorite milk or cream to bring out the notes of tropical banana and toasted hazelnuts. It’s a warm, tropical hug in a mug!
Something you can drink cold
Cold brew and nitro coffee drinks were relatively unknown to the average coffee drinker until 2015, but now nearly 20% of coffee drinkers under age 40 drink one every week! If you love cold brew or iced coffee, try 100% Kauai Coffee Cold Brew, which is uniquely crafted for cold brewing at home. Brewing is easy. Just combine, steep, filter, and then refrigerate to enjoy your homemade cold brew coffee! Best served over ice.
Barista Quality Add-Ins
Another perk of popping into your favorite cafe for coffee is the selection of syrups, toppings, and add-ins you can use to customize your latte just the way you like. But did you know it’s easy to make and stock them at home? Start with this simple syrup recipe and add your favorite flavors to create a barista-level library of flavor!
Simple syrup is easy to make and the basis for many coffee drinks and cocktails. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer it over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and store your syrup in a glass jar or easy-to-pour-from container in the refrigerator. It will last up to two weeks or a little longer if stored in an airtight container. If you would like a thicker syrup, use two parts sugar to one part water. Once you have the basic recipe down, add these classic coffee flavors!
- Almond: Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in one teaspoon of almond extract, cool, and store in the refrigerator.
- Cinnamon: Add two cinnamon sticks to your simple syrup and let steep for 30 minutes or while cooling. Add fresh cinnamon sticks to the jar or container and store in the fridge for a more robust cinnamon flavor.
- Ginger: This one packs a sweet heat that pairs perfectly with coffee! Simmer 1 cup of fresh ginger root peeled and sliced into rounds in the simple syrup for 15 minutes or longer, depending on how spicy you like your ginger. When the syrup has cooled, strain out the ginger and store.
- Peppermint: Add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to your simple syrup for a minty addition that will add a little holiday flair to your mochas and macchiatos.
- Pumpkin: You can’t go wrong with this fresh take on the fall flavor. Add 8 ounces of pumpkin puree, one cup sugar, and one cup of water to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir in one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice blend and chill. For a smooth syrup, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth before storing.
- Vanilla: Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste for a classic coffee syrup you can use in any coffee, tea, or cocktail.
What’s a fancy cafe coffee without a bit of caramel or fudge? Make these easy sauces and store in a plastic condiment bottle in your fridge for easy use and decorating!
- Caramel sauce: Add one cup of granulated sugar to a medium saucepan. Cook it over medium-high heat until it dissolves and turns a rich amber color. Remove it from the heat when the color changes and quickly whisk in three tablespoons of butter. When the sugar and butter are well combined, gently pour in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and whisk fervently until all ingredients are smooth and combined. Add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to taste. Once cool, use a funnel to pour caramel sauce into a condiment container or jar. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Fudge Sauce: Combine one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 8 ounces of dark chocolate chips, and one tablespoon of corn syrup in a saucepan. Heat over medium until ingredients are smooth and combined. Add a splash of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of brewed coffee and stir until you reach the desired consistency. For thicker fudge sauce, use 1/4 cup of coffee. Funnel into a container and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Tools and accessories
Being an at-home barista doesn’t require many tools or machines, but here are a few we love that you may want to explore or add to your coffee collection.
- Automatic Grinder: Grinding whole bean coffee right before you brew it ensures maximum freshness and flavor. Your favorite brewing method will help you determine how coarse or fine to grind your beans. For a pour-over method like French Press or Chemex, you will want a coarser grind. For an automatic brewer or espresso machine, you’ll want a finer grind. Burr grinders are multiblade grinders with coarse to fine settings preferred by many baristas and at-home coffee enthusiasts. Learn more about how to grind beans like a pro in our grind guide.
- Manual and Automatic Brewers: There are so many ways to brew coffee, and each one can affect the flavors and mouth feel of your cup. Learn more about various brewing methods and machines here.
- Milk frother: One of the most decadent parts of a cafe coffee is the steamed, whipped, foamed, or blended milk you can add to your coffee. From steamers to handheld frothers, there are various tools you can keep at home to make your favorite creamy coffee concoction. Don’t have a frother? Use your blender instead! Whip your favorite milk or cream on high until light and frothy. Spoon over cold brew, iced or hot coffee, and enjoy!
- Ice maker or trays: If you love cold coffee, ice is a key ingredient! Freeze leftover coffee in ice trays and use the coffee cubes to cool your brew without diluting it. Ice trays with unique shapes like flowers, hearts, or spheres also add a little fun to your cup.
There are so many simple ways to elevate your at-home coffee. We can’t wait to see what barista-quality beverages you make! Please share them with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @KauaiCoffeeCo.