Q. “Do you have any ideas about how to spice up my coffee in the morning? I love Starbucks but I need to pump the brakes on how often I stop!” —Rosalind, Fremont
For starters, buy the best coffee you can afford. Keep in mind that you can afford any coffee for home use since it is much more economical to brew it at home than buying it for $5.00 a cup! Starting with great coffee is really the key to enjoying your brew, just like no amount of seasoning can rescue poor meat. From there, the direction you choose to prepare your coffee comes down to three factors: creaminess, sweetness and flavoring. For creaminess, there are both dairy and non-dairy alternatives. It will make a tremendous difference if you use skim milk with 0% milkfat, half and half with 12% milkfat, or heavy cream with 36% milkfat. For sweetness there are distinct types of sugars and sugar substitutes. For flavorings, your options are endless, from popular favorites like vanilla, cocoa powder, caramel and mint to unique blends you can make yourself including butterscotch, gingerbread, pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha. Of course, to save time you can certainly indulge in the hundreds of dairy and non-dairy varieties available at the store. Happy brewing!