The USA is obsessed with coffee, and while it may have some health benefits, those are overshadowed by misuse. Coffee contains antioxidants that can be beneficial, and caffeine is not absolutely horrid for you. Small amounts of caffeine stimulate the brain and may boost metabolism. If you drink coffee in moderation, it is typically harmless.
The problem is when coffee is misused. Drinking too much can cause jitters and worsen symptoms of anxiety. Coffee is acidic, so drinking it excessively can cause reflux or stomach issues. And worst of all is all the additives. A little milk won’t hurt, but it is the rest that can cause problems.
Especially in lattes, there is a ton of sugar with the sweeteners and syrups used. In some coffee shops, the different milks may have added sugar, and the syrups are quite literally sugar, water, and flavoring. Then you add whipped cream, sweet foam, caramel drizzle, or so many other things.
If you can’t kick coffee, or if you want some alternative sweeteners for your home brew, there is an alternative! Whether you put this in a latte, mix it with cream for brewed coffee, or even flavor your tea, you can make homemade syrups!
Many people think that syrup is difficult to make at home, or that the DIY version is bad. This couldn’t be further from the truth! By making syrups at home, you have complete control over the ingredients and the flavor!
Making syrup is simple, and usually takes less than an hour. Simply mix one part water and one part sugar or sugar substitute in a saucepan. You can use any kind of sugar substitute, but it may change the color of your final product. If you use standard white sugar, your syrup will be clear before adding flavor. If you use raw stevia or another alternative, it will be a light tan but transparent color. If you choose brown sugar or coconut sugar, the syrup will be a dark brown. Whatever you choose, the syrup will be sweet and delicious!
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, but once it gets to a rolling boil, reduce your heat to a low setting and simmer your syrup for 12-15 minutes. This will give it a slightly more viscous, glossy appearance like most store bought syrups. Be sure to let your syrup cool before adding your flavors.
For flavoring, you can use 1 tablespoon for every cup of syrup. You can use any baking extracts you would like, from a simple vanilla to a decadent butter rum. Simply look in the baking aisle of your local grocery store!
If you’d like to be a little more creative, you can even make your own flavor extracts! Try making a soft caramel by heating sugar and water until the sugar cooks, then carefully adding it to your syrup about five minutes before it’s done simmering. Make fruit flavored extract by mashing up your favorites fruits such as raspberry or strawberry and boiling it with a cup of water for about ten minutes. Once it’s boiled, strain the fruit out and reduce the liquid down to concentrate the flavor. You can also reduce down unsweetened fruit juice for flavors if you prefer.
Use your syrups in coffee, tea, cocktails, or anything else you can imagine! You could even reduce your syrup down to a thick consistency for pancakes and waffles! If you decide to make some, be sure to snap a photo or video and tag Foods Alive on social media!