My afternoon beverage: 3-in-1 Coffee

 

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I really, really like 3-in-1 coffee. For those who do not know, this is an instant coffee mixture that is premixed with creamer and sugar. I get super excited when I travel to places where 3-in-1 is the norm. I tell myself to not consume it too often because the ingredients in non-dairy creamer are not the most healthful. Once I read the ingredient list, I don’t enjoy my coffee as much anymore. I drink it anyways.

Recently, I have felt the need for some enjoyable beverage around lunchtime. After spending that much time with 17 year olds, I look for anything that brings me some joy and some relief from the exhaustion. I got myself some Korean 3-in-1 to keep at work. But as my supply is running low, I am hesitant to get more of that stuff. I wondered why we could not just use powdered milk instead of non-dairy creamer.

So I started experimenting with making my own coffee mix. I searched the internet for tips and ideas for this attempt. Here are some of the results of my trials.

INGREDIENTS

Milk powder: I grew up with milk powder so it is not as gross to me as it might be for some. Non-fat milk powder, I find to be, actually disgusting. Most people on the internet seem to be working with non-fat powdered milk but I can imagine the end product is likely to be more watery than if you used whole milk.

For the creamer, I mixed whole powdered milk with a little bit of coconut oil. Not enough to make the powder clump or to taste the coconut but enough to make the coffee a little “softer” tasting.

If one were interested in a mocha like beverage, this is where you would want to add the cocoa powder. I assume one could add any other flavors one would like in their coffee.

For it to be a true 3-in-1 you need the sugar. Powdered sugar works well because it creates an uniform mixture but if you want to use granulated, just make sure to shake your mixture before using.

 

METHOD

Mix the instant coffee and creamer in the proportions you like. I like my coffee quite “white” so I like the coffee to creamer ratio of 1:2. Add the sugar, if using. If you usually measure sugar by the number of spoons per cup, remember you will be using more than a spoon of this mixture for your beverage. 

 

I made my mix and put it in the fridge. When I am ready for my afternoon coffee, I heat up water in the microwave and add some of the powdered mix. In my opinion, it tastes better than the store bought stuff. It might not be as convenient for travel but for my workplace, it works wonderfully. It also ends up being significantly cheaper and creates less waste than the individual packages.

Do other people enjoy coffee mixes? Any brand recommendations?

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Beverage Idea: Switchel

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Ingredients for Switchel; Source: The American Table 

I had been drinking this beverage for about a year before I learned the name for it. Switchel is a vinegar based beverage that is thought to have originated in the West Indies. When I worked on the farm, I drank this a few times a day during the summer. It is a refreshing, non-alcoholic, beverage for work hours. Although alcohol is a perfectly acceptable daytime beverage when you are a farmer 🙂

The reason I decided to share this “recipe” was because I have been drinking a lot of it this summer and realized that not many people are aware of this beverage. It is the best thirst quencher I have come across and many would call it a health tonic as well.

This drink is not for everyone. I have been drinking apple cider vinegar for about five years so, for me, this is just a more appealing way to consume it. There is no consensus on whether apple cider vinegar is good for you so I am just going to leave it at that. What they do agree is that ginger is really good for you; especially for immunity. Here is what you need:

Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Sweetener, Lemon Juice (optional)

It’s not that complicated to make switchel. You mix the three ingredients and dilute it with water. Add ice if you like or just use cold water. Seltzer water makes it even better. Personally, I like to add qual parts of vinegar and lemon juice. It might sound counter-intuitive to add more acid but it really does make the drink more enjoyable.

You can use fresh ginger root or powdered dry ginger. The traditional sweetener of choice was molasses but that is not for everyone. Honey is a popular alternative but the trendy “hipster” versions are made with maple syrup. Use whatever appeals to you. I have even heard of people using it as a mixer for alcoholic beverages but I have not tried that.

It sort of bothers me when I see people pay good money for something that can be made at home, so easily, for so much less. Half a  quart of this stuff sells for around $8. I did the calculations and it costs me less than 25 cents to make the same quantity, even if I used maple syrup. You can make a bigger batch of this and keep it in the fridge much like iced tea.

As I said this is not for everyone. It is an acquired taste that has really grown on me. If you are not in the habit of drinking apple cider vinegar and would like to try it, this is a nice introduction. If you are just an adventurous person and want to add a new drink to you list of summer beverages, this is an interesting choice. I would encourage you to try it even just to know what the hype is all about.