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How To Be the Best At-Home Barista

For most of us, starting the day means having that oh-so-necessary cup of coffee in hand, stat. Wouldn’t it be nice if our local barista was in the kitchen waiting with said cup of jo? Well, that’s totally impossible (unless you’re dating or married to one), but the next best thing? Becoming the ultimate at-home barista. With the help of OXO, you can easily learn how to make the best-ever cup of coffee with these bean to brew steps.

Bean Selection

First things first, find your perfect bean. For the ultimate cup of coffee (and to be the ultimate at-home barista), you’re going to be grinding your own beans. But you might be wondering, where do I start? Think of beans to coffee like grapes to wine. Everything from the region and variety to the season and roast duration all play a part in the final flavor of your brew. Educate yourself on each of these factors and you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to select the beans that suit your palette.

Freshness Factor

Once you’ve made your bean selection—keep them fresh and happy. The journey to a flavorful cup of coffee includes bean storage and fighting their worst enemies: air, moisture, heat, and light. That’s where an OXO’s Coffee POP Container comes in handy. A unique one-touch push-button guarantees an airtight seal and ultimate freshness, while it’s UV-blocking technology battles light. Not to mention, they’re also stackable for those of us who have a little obsession with pantry organization.


The Grind

Now that you’ve got a way to keep your beans fresh until you’re ready, it’s time to learn the grind. Why not just buy your beans ground already? If you really want to be a kick-butt at-home barista, get your own grind on, folks. Coffee beans contain oils that, when ground release an aroma and can interact with moisture in the environment. Basically, the longer coffee grounds sit around, the less flavorful your cup of jo becomes.

Investing in a grinder like OXO’s Conical Burr Grinder brings you one step closer to the perfect brew every time. Its built-in scale allows it to grind by weight instead of time and gives you the ability to custom measure grounds to create your own coffee ratio, or to use precise, pre-set grams-to-cup ratios. So, whether your perfect cup means give me all the jitters OR I just need a little jumpstart to get going, this is your grinder.

A Tasty Temperature

Now that you’ve mastered the art of keeping your beans fresh and finding your perfect grind, it’s time to get your brew down to a science. It means combining brew time, water temperature and water volume in just the right way. Taking the guess work out of the process is easy with the OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker, which brews at the optimal temperature for coffee as certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The intelligent Barista Brain microprocessor monitors time, water volume and temperature from start to finish, giving you the precision of expertly hand-crafted coffee. In other words, you’ll feel like you just placed an order at your favorite local coffee shop.

Voila! You’re now armed with the steps to becoming the best at-home barista. Get ready for happier mornings, wowed guests and a coffee experience like no other.

Give Your Front Door the Prettiest Fall Makeover with this Easy DIY

Your front door is begging for this pretty wreath. Seriously, it told us. And the best part of this seasonal revamp is it’s 100% DIY. Bare Root Flora is breaking down the basics for a lovely way to Fall-ify your home and it all starts with this feather-infused grand entrance. Get the how-to shot by Tamara Gruner Photography below. Psst… more ways to celebrate Fall right this way.

Like so many others, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the autumn. I’m not sure if it’s the light, or the smells, or the colors and textures, or maybe it’s just the apple cider donuts. But whatever it is, and it’s probably all those things, this bittersweet season—full of endings in so many ways—is the time of year I most look forward to. To celebrate the gorgeous, textural botanical elements fall gives us, I decided to create a number of beautiful fall wreaths and capture the process through the eye of my dear friend and amazing photographer Tamara Gruner.

 I created my wreaths using a mix of beautiful dried (and even a few silk flowers), artichokes, pomegranates, tapioca wood flowers, bittersweet vine, nigella and lotus pods, dried grasses, fall leaves and pheasant feathers, but the beauty of this kind of wreath is that there are so many ways to make it your own. My own front door is sheltered but if you want something that will stand up to more direct exposure to the elements, I’d recommend using silks—there are some incredibly beautiful and realistic ones out there.

Materials

A wreath form — I used Victorian birch, but grapevine is a wonderful option as well
Dried pods, berries, grasses, flowers, feathers—anything with beautiful, varying textures
Hot glue pan and glue
Small zip ties
Ribbon or wreath hanger

instructions

To begin, lay out your wreath form. Choose how you want to position your wreath—there may be a side or orientation you like best and want to incorporate into your design. Here, I wanted a little extra color and movement in the wreath form so I added some bittersweet vine, one of my fall favorites, into the wreath using tiny zip ties. (Choose a color of zip tie like brown or dark green and once you trim the ends, they’ll blend right into your wreath form.)

If this is your first wreath, I’d recommend planning out your design by laying out all the elements first, before committing to the permanence of hot glue! After zip tying on my vines, I started by placing my larger, more focal items on my wreath, here, my artichokes, lotus pods and pomegranates.

Because I like asymmetry, I like to cover only a segment of my wreath, leaving some negative space for the eye to rest. After I placed my larger items, I laid out the flowers I used to create my base layer. I happened to find some gorgeous silk hydrangea that I loved but I also used some dried hydrangea florets as well.

Then, because depth is such an important part of a beautiful wreath, you’ll want to begin to layer in some of your smaller textural items. Here I used nigella pods, wheat and dried grasses. To accentuate the line of the birch branches, I also tucked in some gorgeous pheasant feathers, which feel quintessentially autumnal to me. Remember to create depth by layering items, and by varying the placement of your botanicals.

You’ll want your wreath to be beautiful from every angle that it’s viewed, so place some items deep inside the frame of the wreath, some on top, and some on the outside frame of the wreath form.

Once you’ve laid out all your elements, take a photo so you can recreate your design as you begin to glue all these elements. You can certainly glue as you go, but I find I like to have a visual plan in place, at least in the beginning!

After securing all your botanical elements with hot glue, hang your wreath with a gorgeous ribbon. Then, I find it helpful to sit down with a plate of apple cider donuts to really enjoy the fruits of my labor!

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List
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The Ultimate Fall Bucket List
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Photography: Tamara Gruner Photography | Florals: Bare Root Flora | Scans: Richard Photo Lab

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16 Stylish Ways to Make the Transition to Fall

Fall is officially here, hooray! And in our world? That means layering as much cozy in life as possible, from home decor to fashion finds and everything in between. That’s right, it’s time to stock up on seasonal candles and cute booties, babes, and our friends at Gilt are helping us do just that—in the most stylish way of course. Click below for some of our pretty picks to get you in a fall frame of mind!

Pretty Picks + Gilt
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Pretty Picks + Gilt
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More inspiration on how to live a life well styled!

 

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