The Perfect Pair: What Fruits Go Best With Which Coffee Drinks?

November 13, 2019

coffee drinks

In the US alone, there are over 150 million daily coffee drinkers. This equates to more than half of the population!

If you’re someone who drinks coffee on a regular basis, then you probably know exactly how you like to take it. Perhaps you’re among the 35 percent of people who take their coffee black. Maybe you like to add some sugar or milk to your coffee. Or, maybe you prefer to drink a latte or a cappuccino.

But, even if you know the go-to coffee order of all your close friends and relatives, there’s a good chance that if someone were to ask you what to pair with coffee, you’d have no idea.

Just as wines pair well with certain cheeses, so too do certain coffees with certain fruits and other foods.

Check out this guide to learn which fruits go with which coffee drinks.

Fruit and Coffee Pairings

If you’re looking to pair your coffee with something light and nutritious, fruit is the way to go.

However, it’s important to note that not all fruits pair well with coffee, and some fruits can completely destroy the flavor of your morning cup of Joe.

Here are the top pairings you need to know about:

Berries

Berries, like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are rich in antioxidants. Berries are great for lowering cholesterol, fighting inflammation, improving your skin, providing the body with essential nutrients, and improving blood sugar levels.

Berries taste great with pretty much any type of coffee, but, you’ll find that berries are especially delicious with Haitian coffee, Kenyan coffee, and Tanzanian coffee.

Also, blueberries taste especially great with Jamaican coffee.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, you may want to consider taking your berries in the form of a pastry or pie.

Stone Fruits

Stone fruits are any fruits that contain a pit. Examples of stone fruits include plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, mangos, cherries, apriums, lychees, and dates.

Stone fruits tend to be rich in fiber and are extremely beneficial for improving digestive health. They also encourage bone growth, protect your eye health, keep your muscles healthy, and help build your immune system.

Stone fruits pair especially well with Tanzanian coffees and Haitian coffees.

Tart Fruit

Tart fruit, such as kiwis, black currants, granny smith apples, lemons, limes, and grapefruits pair especially well with dark-roasted coffee.

In particular, you’ll find that tart fruits pair exceptionally well with dark-roasted Costa Rican coffees and Brazilian coffees.

Adding Fruity Flavors to Your Coffee

In addition to pairing your coffee with fruit, you may also want to consider adding fruity flavors to your coffee.

Here are some fruit infusions you should try for your next batch of coffee:

Bananas

Bananas and coffee may seem like an odd combination, but trust us, this is a match made in heaven.

Next time you’re grinding up your coffee beans, add in some fresh banana chips. This will help add a fresh sweetness to your coffee that sugar and other artificial sweeteners simply cannot duplicate.

Oranges

Orange-infused coffee is a great morning pick-me-up that can make you feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise.

To make orange-infused coffee, brew a batch of coffee as you normally would. Then, slice an orange into wedges and squeeze the wedges into the pot of coffee.

To add some extra orange flavor, you can also add a wedge to your individual mug.

Raspberries

If you’re looking to add a tangy kick to your coffee, raspberries are the way to go.

For the perfect start to your day, we suggest whipping up a batch of raspberry iced coffee.

Start by brewing a pot of coffee as you normally would. Then, mash up a cup of raspberries and one teaspoon of sugar into a bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge so that the mixture can turn into a syrup. Once the coffee is done brewing, place it in the fridge as well.

After a few hours in the fridge, combine the coffee and the raspberry mixture. Stir it vigorously so that it blends well.

If desired, you can also add some milk or cream.

Also, you can substitute blueberries for raspberries.

Other Coffee Pairings

In addition to fruit, there are some other coffee pairings that you absolutely need to know about.

These include:

Chocolate Pairings

Chocolate and coffee are a match made in heaven. Here are some pairings to try out:

  • Brownies: Dark chocolate brownies pair well with full-bodied coffees from Guatemala or Indonesia
  • Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate tastes great with dark roast coffees from Guatemala, Indonesia, Ethiopia, or Brazil
  • Milk chocolate: Milk chocolate tastes especially great with Yemeni, Colombian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Kona coffee
  • White chocolate: The milder flavor of white chocolate makes it a great match for Yemeni or Costa Rican coffee
  • Chocolate cake: Chocolate cake is even more delicious when it’s washed down with a cup of Arabian or Guatemalan coffee

Breakfast Pairings

Coffee also pairs extremely well with the most important meal of the day, breakfast.

Here are some excellent pairing options:

  • Omelets: Omelets pair well with coffees from Jamaica, Jave, or Sumatra
  • Quiche: The savory, full flavor of a quiche goes great with Pacific Island coffee
  • Wheat toast: The perfect match for wheat toast is Brazilian, Guatemalan, Colombian, or Costa Rican coffee
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal tastes delicious when paired with a light roast
  • Eggs and bacon: An American-style breakfast pairs perfectly with a Costa Rican cup of coffee

Baked Goods

Here are some ways you can pair your favorite baked goods with coffee:

  • Croissant: It should come as no surprise that a flaky, buttery croissant pairs perfectly with a French cafe au lait
  • Muffins and doughnuts: Muffins and doughnuts pair well with most coffees, but especially Mexican and Costa Rican coffees
  • Coffee cake: Coffee cake pairs extremely well with light to medium roast Nicaraguan or Hawaiin coffees
  • Scones: That’s right. scones aren’t just great for tea. They also pair well with Kenyan, Haitian, and Yemeni coffee

Are You Ready to Pair Your Coffee Drinks?

As you can see, there are many excellent pairings out there for coffee drinks.

Of course, there’s a lot more to learn about coffee outside of food pairings. Check out this guide to learn about ten interesting coffee facts you probably didn’t know.

Brewing Coffee at Home: 8 Secrets to an Amazing Cup

November 4, 2019

brewing coffee

It was surveyed that 64% of Americans drink a cup of coffee every single day. We all know a few people who you can’t even talk to in the mornings until they’ve had their coffee fix. Are you the type of person who can’t start their day without a cup of coffee?

Making coffee at home can be even better than buying it from a local coffee shop but there are a few tips you should know about brewing coffee at home.

Just about anyone can make the perfect cup of coffee so keep reading for 8 secrets to make an amazing cup.

1. Stick With Fresh and Whole Beans

When it comes to brewing your coffee at home you’re going to want to buy fresh and whole beans. Coffee beans are just the start of making your coffee delicious. So if you’re buying bags of already ground coffee, then you’re doing it wrong.

Coffee is the best when the beans have just been roasted which is why most bagged coffees do not tell you the date they were roasted. When it comes to buying your coffee beans look for fresh roasters like at a local coffee shop. You should be careful about buying beans from a supermarket because they may have sat in bins for a long time before getting purchased.

2. Keep Your Beans Fresh

Once you do buy your fresh and whole coffee beans, then you need to find the best way to keep them fresh. Fresh beans will help you make the perfect cup of coffee every morning or whenever you need it. You should only buy about 5-7 days worth of coffee beans at a time.

Make sure to store your coffee beans in an airtight container for optimal freshness. Mason jars or storage containers with a rubber gasket seal are good choices for keeping your coffee fresh. You should also never refrigerate or freeze your coffee because they easily absorb moisture and other food odors.

3. Grind and Use

You only have about 30 minutes after the coffee beans are ground to use them before they start losing their flavor. This is because the more time the beans are exposed to oxygen the quicker they begin to break down. So every time you want a delicious cup of coffee you should be grinding your beans right then.

You have many different options when it comes to grinding your beans and they’re all at different price points. Some people like a fancier automatic burr grinder which will cost you a pretty penny but a manual hand mill can get you the same effect. The finer you grind your coffee, then the more flavor you will get.

4. Certain Water

When it comes to brewing your coffee you should take a lot at the type of water your using. Tap water can change the taste of your coffee because of the chlorine or other flavors. Using softened or distilled water can also make your coffee taste bad because a good cup of coffee needs minerals found in other sources of water.

You should opt for using bottled spring water or a filter on your tap water. Filtered and spring water help to make the best cup of coffee because they contain essential minerals. So when it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee you should be aware of the kind of water you are using.

5. The Right Temperature

When you use an automatic coffee maker you’re skipping the vital step of making your coffee at the right temperature. You should aim to make your drip brew coffee at 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. High end and pricier coffeemakers usually have a way to adjust the temperature but less high tech ones do not.

You can see how hot your coffee gets by doing a test. Run only water through your machine and use a thermometer to see how hot the water gets during the brewing process. Some machines don’t make it to 195 degrees Fahrenheit so you may want to try pre-boiling the water before running it through the coffee maker.

6. Measure the Right Way

When you make coffee you will want to use the same amount of coffee per unit of water every single time you brew. Measure your coffee by weight instead of volume. You can use a digital scale for the best results on comparing coffee and water each time.

Figuring out the right way to make your coffee may take a lot of trial and error. Generally, to make a fairly strong cup of coffee you can use the ratio of 1:20 which is one part coffee to 20 units of water. It is up to you to decide how you want to make the perfect cup of coffee.

7. Avoid Using Cheap Filters

According to the experts, cheap coffee filters produce cheap tasting coffee so you want to invest a little bit when it comes to buying your coffee filters. Oxygen-bleached or dioxin-free paper filters are the ones you will want to look for and yield the best effects. Good tasting coffee comes from being specific about every step of the process.

8. Keep Your Equipment Clean

To get the best and freshest tasting coffee you need to make sure that all of your equipment is clean. At least once a month you should run a strong solution of vinegar or speciality equipment cleaner through your coffee machine. This will help to get rid of any build-up of minerals in the machine that could create a different taste.

You will also want to keep your grinder and storage bins clean as well. Make sure to empty them every so often so you can really clean them out. Oils can build up and ruin your beans making a not so tasty cup of coffee.

Brewing Coffee Can Be Fun

While there are many tips and tricks to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, brewing coffee can still be fun. There are many different ways to brew coffee and make it taste great.  You have to figure out what works for you.

If you’re in the Evanston area and are looking for a delicious cup of coffee or a bite to eat, then come check out Cupitol.

5 Truly Great Chicago Sandwiches and Their Ingredients

October 21, 2019

chicago sandwiches

Whether you’re new to the city or grew up here, you know Chicago is all about her food.

Sure, you get a kick out of the glittering nighttime cityscapes, especially from the top of the Sears (err…Wilson) Tower. A day on the pier—Navy Pier—brings the lake up close. Or, far away if you view it from the top of the Centennial Wheel.

But it’s the food that warms your heart in this city.

Those iconic Chicago sandwiches. Some you’ll only discover if you venture into certain neighborhoods. You’ll find others at some of the most popular eateries in town.

Here are 5 of the greatest Chicago sandwiches. We’ve even included the ingredients, and for some, a little history.

1. Now That’s Italian

If you’re looking for a Chicago icon in the form of a sandwich, look no further than the Italian Beef. Don’t look too far because once you’re out of the Chicago area, it’s hard to find a proper beef.

You can thank Chicago’s Italian immigrant community for this sandwich. It’s a simple working man’s sandwich likely enjoyed by stockyard workers back in the 1920s and 30s.

You need 3 basic ingredients for an Italian Beef sandwich.

A soft roll with a nice crunch to the crust. Tender, thin-sliced beef. Juice, or jus, full of classic Italian spices like oregano and garlic, with a dash of red pepper.

Order yours dry, easy dipped, or dipped, depending on how much gravy you like. Top it off with sweet peppers, or another Chicago classic—spicy giardiniera. Request your peppers on the side (in a container), or on the sandwich.

If you’ve saved your appetite for something big, make your sandwich a combo, which means you get an Italian sausage nestled in the beef.

This is a filling meal even if you don’t pair it with a serving of hand-cut fries. Take a walk and then look for a sweet little café where you can relax with an espresso or cup of coffee.

2. Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The hot dog. A simple little sausage sitting in a bun. The hot dog is simply classic Chicago food.

That said, this Chicago street sandwich is far from simple. You can order a hot dog naked—dog and bun, no condiments, or you can enjoy it as one of the following:

Depression Dog

Start with a hot dog on a steamed bun. Add yellow mustard, a little onion, and a few sport peppers lined up along each side of the dog. A smattering of sweet relish, a serving of fresh-cut fries.

All this is rolled up in paper. The fries soak up a bit of the mustard and onion. So much yum your senses can hardly bear it.

Hot dogs and Chicago go back a long way. During the Great Depression, vendors sold them from street carts on Maxwell Street. They cost a nickel each.

Dragged Through the Garden

This is the quintessential Chicago-style hot dog and it’s monikered as such by hot dog vendors and sandwich shops alike.

Begin with an all-beef hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun. Add the following toppings in order:

  • Yellow Mustard
  • Neon Green Pickle Relish
  • Chopped Onion
  • Tomato Wedges
  • Dill Pickle Spear
  • Sport Peppers
  • Sprinkle of Celery Salt

Prepare for your taste buds to sing. Of course, you can find all kinds of other hot dog variations in Chicago, but this is the authentic Chicago Dog! Also, notice the absence of ketchup.

3. La Jibarito

Now, we switch gears, and cultures, and taste another Midwestern delicacy, the jibarito (HEE-bar-EET-oh) sandwich. While it’s found primarily in the Chicago-area, this sandwich has island roots.

Created back in the 1980s, by Juan Figueroa, owner of Borinquen, the jibarito employs fried plantains instead of bread. Sitting between the fried plantains, you’ll find your choice of thinly sliced steak, chicken, ham, pork or vegetarian fillings. Garnish is lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayo.

Hint: For the original, and more authentic jibarito experience, stick with the thinly sliced steak.

We can’t imagine anything better than a robust coffee drink as an après-sandwich treat.

4. Pork Chops and Applesauce

Or is it pork chopsh and apple shauce? You know, there’s an ongoing debate over whether it’s a Humphrey Bogart or Peter Brady line. Either way, if you visit or live in Chicago and haven’t tasted a pork chop sandwich (sans apple sauce), you haven’t lived.

The bone-on-a-bun sandwich goes back to the early 1940s. It doesn’t come with apple sauce, but it does come with the chop bone and a few tasty condiments.

Chicago’s pork chop sandwich features a juicy and tender bone-in pork chop. It’s put in a bun and loaded up with mustard, grilled onions, and hot peppers. One popular Southside sandwich shop has been serving these tasty sandwiches for over 40 years—and the fries are free.

Isn’t that schwell?

5. It’s All Greek to Me

While not unique to Chicago, the Gyro sandwich (pronounced YEER-os) is nevertheless a Chicago favorite. And, at least one company that makes gyro cones, has its headquarters in Chicago.

Gyros are a Greek specialty sandwich, traditionally made from lamb, beef, or pork. Yes, pork! Most restaurants in the Chicago area make them from lamb or beef, but pork is more Grecian.

Shaved from a cone that cooks on a rotating spit, the meat for this sandwich is wrapped in a pita. Then, it’s dressed with sliced onions and tomato. The crowning glory of the gyro is a dollop of tzatziki sauce on top.

When searching for your gyro, make sure you also find a place where you can sip a hot or iced coffee afterward. It’s like having an after-dinner mint in a mug.

How Many Chicago Sandwiches Have You Tried?

We’ve only shared 5 sandwiches loved by Chicagoans and visitors to the city. You probably have a few of your own favorites too.

Make it a point to try out a few new Chicago sandwiches before the end of the year. It’s always fun to taste test some of the fantastic food offered all over the Chicago area.

If you’re in our part of the city, come on over and enjoy a coffee drink with us. Stay for dinner and we’ll share a few of our favorite sandwiches. We can’t wait to meet you! We welcome guests at our Evanston and Streeterville locations.