Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Beverages to FALL For

We all know that “pumpkin spice” has become it’s own season at this point, but we often forget that there are so many other drinks to consider to get you warm and cozy as you walk through those crunchy leaves. Here are just a few more to consider and try to make at home!

To start, there are many teas that can be turned into lattes and it’s so easy to make them!

This tea latte features a nice frothy texture, a floral lavender taste, and can be sweetened with vanilla syrup as opposed to vanilla extract. Start with brewing your Earl Grey tea – you can brew by filling your cup with just half boiling water because we’re going to fill the rest up with frothed milk. Next, froth your milk until it reaches your preferred temperature or foamy texture. With the addition of the vanilla and a quick stir, the warm flavours of the earl grey tea come through to provide you with the feeling of comfort.

This still falls under the ‘tea latte’ category but with a twist! If you’re someone who enjoys slight spice to his or her morning brew, you’ll definitely love adding chai to your espresso! The easiest way to make this latte is by using chai syrup so that your espresso isn’t watered down by brewed tea. The rest is easy – just froth some milk and pour on top of your espresso and enjoy! The cinnamon and cloves in the chai syrup make a great pairing with almost any espresso!

If you’re not a tea person at all of course we have the perfect espresso-based beverages for you to try!

This flavoured latte-like beverage combines our favourite things: coffee and chocolate! Start by adding chocolate syrup to your cup and pour your espresso on top – give it a quick swirl or stir to melt it up too. Next, just like any other latte, froth your milk! Make sure you don’t make your milk too foamy because you’re going to want to add whipped cream on top and foam definitely gets in the way of that! Last but not least, add a sprinkle of cocoa or a drizzle of chocolate syrup to complete your beverage!

Let’s take it a step further, you’ve got the mocha down, but if we add just a little hazelnut syrup you’ll end up with a beverage reminding you of that oh so gooey chocolate hazelnut spread we all know and love! Finish it off with whipped cream too!

Now, if you’re looking for a fall beverage for the kiddos or just something to cozy up with before bed without a burst of caffeine, this hot chocolate is just for you!

Imagine melting down a Caramilk bar and mixing it with warm milk – this hot chocolate is certainly similar! Start with adding equal shots of chocolate syrup and caramel syrup, then add a touch of hot water just to melt the chocolate and stir it with the caramel syrup. Froth your milk, again not creating too much foam and pour it into your cup leaving enough space to layer on whipped cream (and caramel sauce!)! This beverage is perfect to warm you up after playing outside in the leaves, or cuddling up to watch a movie in the evening.

So next time you're looking for a drink that's #InstagramWorthy, a sweet afternoon pick-me-up, or just something tasty to try this fall, refer back to these recipes for some inspiration! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Back to School Espresso Essentials for All

There are many individuals affected by the beckoning back to school blues (or celebrations). You have your excited “Finally it’s here!” moms & dads, your night-owl college and university students, and of course the teachers and professors getting ready to be grading and learning plan prepping through the long night hours once again.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s your back to school list: pens and pencils not necessary.

Parents & Guardians

You’ve just put the kiddos on the bus or packed your young adult’s car up for school and you’re eagerly waiting to get back in the house to have that sweet caffeine fix. What’s the quickest way to do so? We suggest a machine that isn’t too difficult to use but still produces a perfect espresso bella. A Breville Café Roma is great because it isn’t a super fancy machine that requires a lot of practice and can produce a fresh espresso quickly! 

We also suggest the Breville Barista Express: this machine does basically all of the work for you, from grinding the beans, to dosing the correct amount of espresso, to pouring that perfect crema. If you’re a busy working mom or a parent that’s excited to relax with no need to worry about keeping the little ones occupied, this machine is definitely calling your name.


Obviously, we’re not referring to the little guys here, but if you’re a college student moving away from home into a dorm or even into your own place this fall, there’s definitely going to be some late nights in your future. Let’s face it, dorm rooms are small and apartment kitchens aren’t much better; but that’s okay, we’ve got you covered! We suggest a machine that fits in smaller spaces and doesn’t create a lot of mess but still gives you delicious espresso. Something like the LavAzza Espresso Point! This machine holds all of the tech of fancy capsule machines but is nice and compact. This machine is also perfect for that ‘not-so-clean’ college kid because the drawer holds up to 12 used capsules so no need to worry about cleaning up after yourself each and every time you make a coffee.

We get it though, these machines can be pretty pricey, but not to fret, a Bodum pour-over can certainly help getting you that caffeine fix! Pour-overs are very easy to use, and are a great way to show off your coffee making skills to your friends – all you need is a hot water source (like a kettle) and coffee ground on a medium setting (#6 on a Ditting grinder)!

Teachers & Professors

Many people don’t recognize the amount of hard work that goes into prepping and planning each day as well as all of the grading that takes place throughout the school year. But teachers, we got your back! You guys deserve to treat yourself with amazing espresso and something a little more high-tech could be just your style to keep you going until next summer! We know espresso machines can sometimes be quite costly, so we’ve aimed for a mid-range machine that’s still worthy of being a part of a teacher’s espresso journey.
The Breville Duo-Temp Pro espresso machine allows for the user to extract his or her espresso at the perfect temperature but at the same time heating cool water for the right pressure for steam to froth milk perfectly.

We also understand that teachers need their coffee to get through their days, especially during the first month of school! At Espresso Bella we have the perfect match for the teacher’s lounge - Purchase four (4) boxes of Gualtieri Espresso Capsules (100 units per box) and receive the Min. E. Bella for FREE! That’s 400 coffees and our very own, easy-to-use capsule machine (made in Italy) to make ‘em!

So, once you've taken care of all the boring supplies like books, pens, and paper, head on over to to order the real essentials today!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Beverage Basics

Not everyone is a born coffee-drinker and we often forget that not everyone knows the in’s and out’s of coffee or espresso beverages. For those that may be out of their comfort zone walking into a traditional café or ordering an espresso, I’m going to give you a breakdown of the 4 most commonly confused espresso-based beverages: Espresso, Macchiato, Latte, and Cappuccino. 

When the perfect espresso is poured, you can distinctly see three layers with the last being a sweet crema. The lowest layer is the strongest tasting, with a full body and roasty flavour. The second layer usually blends into the lowest quickly but contains all of the identifiable flavour profiles of the espresso. The third layer is the most beautiful. If done correctly, your espresso will be topped with a rich hazelnut-coloured crema that has a smooth mouthfeel and a sweet finish.

If you’re not a straight espresso type of person, try opting for a macchiato. A traditional macchiato contains a shot or two of espresso and is topped with just a little frothed milk for a richer mouthfeel and creamier taste. Adding this small amount of frothed milk can turn your quick espresso into a lasting beverage.
A traditional Italian macchiato is not to be confused with newer, westernized beverages that can sometimes be quite large in size. 

One step up from a macchiato is a latte. By just adding a bit more frothed milk, and a layer of fluffy foam you have the simplest yet delicious espresso beverage. Most espresso blends are roasted to create flavour profiles that can not only withstand a large amount of milk, but also compliment the creaminess that frothed milk offers. Lattes are made by frothing enough milk to fill your cup and poured on an angle to allow the milk to mix with the espresso and the foam to be layered on top. As someone that may not enjoy plain espresso and often takes his or her coffee with creamer or milk, a latte is a great place to start. Consider adding flavoured syrups or spiced toppings to your foam as well!

Not to be confused with a latte, although they are quite similar, a cappuccino is probably the most decadent of these four beverages. Because it only contains a small amount of frothed milk and is mainly comprised of foam, cappuccinos can be described as dessert-like. Cappuccinos are made by frothing the milk for just a tad longer than a latte or holding the frothing pitcher at just the right angle to allow the steam to create a wet foam. When poured, the froth should mix with the espresso and become a canvas of rich brown and golden colours allowing the entire beverage to be a thick consistency. 
It's said that true Italian cappuccinos are no more than 8oz. of liquid and are traditionally stirred after serving to incorporate all of the flavours. 

Now you're a pro at determining which flavour, texture, and size of beverage best suits you! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Barista Behind the Scenes

Your barista has just arrived, they have called you, the event planner, to let you know they're on their way to their area and are all ready to set up. Sometimes what we don’t think about when adding an espresso bar to our event is how much work goes into preparation, set-up, service, and of course tear down. 

I’m going to give you a breakdown, what behind the scenes really looks like…

First things first, we’ve got the deets, time to start packing! Each event we have just the right number of machines, cups, milk, and supplies. We gather all the tools we need, from frothing jugs to whisks, to cloths to clean our frothing wands. We also grind just the right amount of freshly roasted beans right before your big event! Once everything is packed, we pack it into our car and head on out, or, we pack the coffee trailer, hitch it and go!

Because we go all over Ontario, we plan accordingly to be at your event at least an hour before it starts, to get all set up. A lot goes into our set up to make sure it’s picture perfect for you, your guests, and of course all those tagged photos on the ‘gram.

We’re very specific in the placement of our items, we want the espresso machine to be front and
centre, it’s the main attraction – what brings your guests to the table. We then set up our bags of espresso so you and your guests know what’s in that white tie cup! We also add any décor that you may have as well as our cute boards and signs. Don’t worry, all those grinds and mess, not to be seen!

Now that we’re all set up, the machine has been warmed, and we’ve guaranteed the espresso is pouring just right, we put on our apron and start serving! This is the fun part…

For each guest we follow the same steps:
1.       Dose
2.       Tamp
3.       Pour
4.       Froth
5.       Finish
Each and every guest receives a fresh espresso made to order!

The best part about being a barista with Espresso Bella is definitely being a part of the action: whether we’re serving for a wedding, at a golf tournament, a trade show, or a VIP event we love interacting with each guest!

After the party is finished, we begin to clean up, making sure we gather all of our supplies and tools, that we’ve properly cleaned our machine, and pack up our gear. Most importantly, we make sure to leave our area spick and span and say goodbye and thank you to our amazing clients!

It seems pretty straight forward from start to finish, but in the end, our service is our pride and joy and we love having our white tie cups in all of your guests’ hands!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cup O'Flavours

It’s the perfect Sunday morning, you wake up, tamp just the right amount of espresso, and pour an espresso bella. As you’re sipping on the sweet crema, you smell it’s enticing aroma, taste the chocolate and nutty notes, and enjoy every last drop. But have you ever considered where your beans came from and why the coffee tastes the way it does?

There are three main growing regions that span across the world that coffee is cultivated from: South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Each has its own distinct flavour profiles, all of which can be found in our very own Venti Sei and Barista Blend.

South America
South American coffees are those that are full of nutty chocolately flavours and fall under the medium-bodied tier of coffees with mellow after notes. I’m sure everyone has heard of “Colombian coffee” – and it’s because most coffee does in fact come from Colombia, making it the most well-known or considered bean to buy. With it’s soft flavours, south American coffees are the favourite among most North American coffee drinkers – many Canadians actually prefer lighter roasts!

Southeast Asia
Asian coffees are those that tend to be full-bodied, and earthy or herbal in flavour. These beans are often found in dark roast coffees or blends. The most popular growing areas from southeast Asia are Vietnam and Indonesia – which is also known for it’s uniquely aged coffees. Italy is among one of the biggest importers of Indonesian coffees!

African coffees are unique in flavour, bringing about very fragrant notes and fruity finishes. African coffees tend to come from Ethiopia and Kenya, both of which can produce medium-full bodied coffees. Ethiopia is also said to be the birthplace of coffee, dating back to 800 C.E!

If we look at our two unique blends, Venti Sei and Barista Blend, we can definitely break down where all of the flavours come from:

80% Colombian/Brazilian, giving it a mellow afternote and with the blend of its 20% Vietnamese
beans, this espresso becomes a well-rounded, nutty, medium roast with a perfectly sweet crema.

This blend is very unique and holds beans from two growing regions and 5 growing areas within those regions.  Let’s break it down: Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The blend of these beans allows for a full bodied espresso with strong caramel and nutty flavours and a fruity chocolate finish. With a perfect pour, this espresso creates a rich hazelnut-coloured crema. Our Barista Blend can be likened to that perfect Italian espresso.

So, next time you sit down to enjoy your espresso bella, think of how far your beans have traveled and the uniqueness your cup holds!

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Great Debate: Old vs. New

No matter how you brew it, Nonna is always going to think her way is best. But is there really a right vs. wrong way to doing espresso?

Her way? Probably a stove top machine or a Moka pot that she’s had for years that heats fresh cold water causing the boiling water to bubble and rise and push that freshly brewed coffee to the top ready to be enjoyed. 

But nowadays, that’s too easy and there are fancier machines that make each espresso individually with fresh ground beans, aerate milk, and create a bold flavour. 

If we think about it, we’ve come a long way with technology – smartphones, laptops, smartwatches, and we can’t forget about espresso machines!

An espresso machine has three main components: the water boiler, the grouphead or valve that operates the pressure of the water through the espresso, and a portafilter that holds the grounds and allows for the coffee to be forced through small holes and flowed into your cup. 

So what are the points for this great debate:

Multiple cups of coffee
Bold, 3-layered espresso with a rich crema
Rich, thick, full-bodied coffee
Individual, personalized cup
Easy to operate and clean
Some can produce milk-based beverages such as cappuccinos
Nonna’s favourite
Fancy addition to any home or event

In the end the winner comes down to how you like your coffee, how much time you have, and your patience level. Although a stove top is easy to operate and clean, it takes years to perfect that flavor. Similarly, an espresso machine may make an individual cup but it takes patience to learn how to operate.

Or maybe it comes down to that nostalgia of smelling the aromatic coffee and hearing the stove top pot hissing to a finish. Either way, there are many options to choose from and many resources to help you through the learning curves of each style.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Love is Brewing...

Every bride wants to be different, unique, please her guests, and have that one thing that makes everyone say, “Wow! Such a good idea!”

Let me tell you, the ordinary drip coffee that comes with your venue or catering company might not provide that 'wow' factor.

But there are other options to give your guests that extra “pick me up” after dinner that’s guaranteed to get everyone dancing all night long!

Even if you're not having a late wedding, you could enjoy espresso as you're getting all dolled up in the morning, after the service, midday, or even making it an addition to your cocktail hour!

Have you ever wanted a personal barista, someone equipped with all the knowledge and skills, that will make the perfect cappuccino just for you? That’s espresso bar catering.

There are many options to make your wedding unique: the perfect venue, décor, a photo booth, an awesome DJ, and now, your own personal barista and espresso bar.

You’re probably thinking: “I paid for a caterer, they come with coffee and tea.” Yes, but imagine the perfect espresso, that sweet crema and caramel notes – that is the treat your guests should be enjoying after the caterer does what they do best: food.

Also, you have a barista that greets each and every one of your guests with a smile and friendly service.

Just like a bar, espresso bar catering can be open for service for as long or as little as you’d like, giving your guests the choice of when they want an espresso – even if that means jumping off the dance floor for that quick extra burst of energy.

We know that your day is all about you, so let’s make it just that! Got a wedding hashtag, or a cute theme? Put that on your lattes! It’ll definitely be Instagram worthy, making your wedding the one everyone is talking about.

Speaking of lattes, there’s so much more to offer! Cappuccino, macchiato, espresso, americano, or any flavour addition...You name it, you can have it!

So, why not add this Pinterest pinnable, Instagram worthy service to your wedding and relax knowing your guests are enjoying the perfect after dinner espresso bella.