The Camping Latté Recipe

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The last time I attempted to write something was three weeks ago. I got as far as the title. We’re preparing for a big move—a change of house, country, preschool, and everything else one could possibly change. My husband and I are walking zombies.

Wednesday is our “Sabbath”, a day to rest, reflect, and connect with God. But these days, a “day off” doesn’t really count unless we go somewhere far away and crawl in a cave. And who has time for that?

So I’m keeping an eye on my little Lego-builders while Tyler naps, and instead of running down to our fabulous café (where I would run into 100 of our best friends) I’m making myself a vanilla latté at home. This reminded me that I have yet to post my fabulous “Camping Latté” recipe (the kind you can make when the only power you have is a fire or a gas stove).

I have only one disclaimer. I don’t camp. I know.  My coolness factor just dropped significantly. But I make no apology. When my daily life involves lack of power, connectivity, and running water, I feel no motivation to trudge out into nature and voluntarily experience these inconveniences. If lack of modern amenities connects one with nature, then I’m sure I’m more connected with nature than any of you campers out there!

Living in a small town in the Himalayas, we face power outages and lack of running water on a regular basis. That means no heat (it hailed on our tin roof last night, by the way, in mid-May), and no internet, fridge, flushing toilet, baths, or washing clothes at any given point on any day.

So I’ve learned to get creative and make due with what we have. We don’t own a toaster or a microwave or coffeemaker. That way, we don’t stress when the power goes out! In fact, sometimes we don’t even notice!

Another sanity-saving innovation of ours is the genuinely yummy café latte made on our gas stovetop. So in case anyone wants to give it a go the next time you’re camping (or the next time you lose power), here’s my step-by-step guide.

First I start with the delicious dark coffee beans we get in our café, made by Coffeewalla and grown in the fields of Southern India. My barista husband likes to grind the beans on the spot, but I have a panic attack when the power’s out and I can’t use the coffee grinder, so I have the whole bag ground at the café. 😉

Next I use whole milk, because it’s yummier. It may not froth as easily as skim, but it makes the latté so full and sweet.

For an extra special treat, I put in a spoonful of sugar (which I always have in an airtight container with a couple whole vanilla beans).

Now for the latte-making process…

  1. Fill a stove-top espresso maker (mine is Bialetti) with water and coffee grounds. Screw together tight and place it on the stove till you hear it bubbling.
  2. While espresso is percolating, pour water into a separate small pan and place over fire.
  3. Place your mug, half filled with milk, into the water as it heats (water should be halfway up the mug’s height). Once the water boils you can turn off the heat.
  4. Place a long-handle whisk into the milk (while the mug sits in the hot water) and roll it between the palms of your hands, back and forth as it spins clockwise, then counter-clockwise. The milk should only take about 15 seconds to froth up.
  5. By this time your espresso should have filled the upper chamber of the Espresso maker, and you can pour it into the middle of your frothed milk.

Ta-da! Hope you enjoy … This little treat and some time to blog sure made my sabbath that much more refreshing. Now I’m off to family dinner. Thankful for moments like these to take the day off.


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