How, Why And Where To Create a Healthy Home Beverage Center – Forbes

The pandemic has impacted how and where we’ve been enjoying our favorite beverages, shifting from coffee houses to our houses, for example, and spurring the trend of entertaining close friends and family in our indoor and outdoor living spaces. This is contributing to the recent burst of residential remodeling activity, with home beverage centers being part of that.

It’s not just at the high end either. “Coffee bars don’t seem to be limited to the luxury sector anymore,” observes Shannon Ggem, a Los Angeles-based whole home remodeling and furnishings specialist. “Because there are so many great machines at so many different price points, and morning coffee is the assumption for every American adult, we plan for coffee for every client,” she notes.  

At the other end of the workday is wine. “Wine bars are a lot of fun to incorporate, and here in California, we install them in nearly every project,” the designer adds. Beer, tea, juice and smoothies are also popular inspirations for home beverage centers.

Overview

Each of these has the potential to enhance the value of the residence, along with adding to the convenience and pleasure of occupants and guests.  While kitchens are the natural site for smoothie and juice stations, given their ingredients, and are often the chosen spot for coffee or tea centers, they’re not the only ideal locations. “I love when we get to include coffee in the master suite,” Ggem comments. Guest suites and libraries are natural hosts for tea centers, she suggests, given their association with leisurely enjoyment. Each beverage center type has its own planning center ideals and considerations.

Coffee Planning

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If you’re one of the 65% of American adults who consume coffee daily, having a coffee maker at home is a definite plus, particularly if you’ve been working remotely since the pandemic began. The good news is that there are some wellness pluses for the conscientious consumer. “Coffee does indeed have some health benefits,” says Dr. Marvin Singh, MD, San Diego-based author of Rescue Your Health, and Founder of Precisione Clinic. “There have been studies suggesting lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver, for example.” However, he cautions, not everyone metabolizes caffeine well, and for those individuals, there are health risks to consuming it.

If you’re not one of those at risk, Berkshires-based chef and culinary consultant Katy Sparks offers these suggestions on storing and serving coffee: “The optimum is in whole bean form in a cool dark place.” Once ground, she suggests brewing coffee within a day or two. The best way to do that depends on the type of bean, she says. “For a medium roast I like pour overs and for darker roasts I like espresso style either with a small machine or a stovetop Bialetti moka pot.” 

A successful coffee center should have these elements, Ggem advises:

  • The appropriate power supply for the coffee machine;
  • Filtered water to fill any non-plumbed machine;
  • A water line for plumbed machines;
  • Fresh storage for beans or ground coffee;
  • Easy clean surfaces surrounding the area.

The designer’s nice-to-haves include a mug drawer, a fridge drawer for creamer, a coffee grinder and a back-up carafe.

Wine Planning

“There have been links with red wine and reduced risk of heart disease; in fact, it is part of the Mediterranean diet (in moderation),” Singh notes. “Red wine may get some its benefits from antioxidant effects found in resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes,” he adds, pointing out that the longevity studies from the Blue Zones often include certain reds when dining or socializing with friends. Moderation means one glass for women and two for men, he points out, presuming there are no alcohol dependence issues.

If wine is one of your healthy beverages of choice, you can enjoy it simply, Sparks shares. “All wines benefit from being stored at 55 degrees and then either slightly chilled or warmed, depending on your preference, right before serving.” You don’t need a dozen different glasses to enjoy wine either, the chef declares: “You really only need one white wine glass and one red wine glass.” That certainly makes creating a wine bar an easier proposition.

Ggem comments, “The fridges offered by the major appliance manufacturers have really evolved and dual temperature zone, vibration reduction and darkness have been prioritized, emulating a true wine cave. I love models that offer display storage shelves, easy to change temperatures, and pretty lighting.”   She also recommends that you factor in space for your wine bottle openers. (If you’re not using a preservation system, bottle stoppers are also handy to store close at hand.)

In hospitable climates, wine centers are sometimes set in outdoor kitchens. Larger homes may also have tasting rooms, or the wine bar may be integrated into a game room or home theater. “My new favorite wine add-on is integrated wine dispensers [that] store your wine and dispense it a single glass at a time.” Ggem’s favorite dispenser features include smart tech-based detection of the wine inserted with auto temperature setting and preservation systems allowing for up to three months of freshness.

Juice and Smoothie Planning

Singh has reservations about these popular beverages: “When you go out and get a smoothie or juice, they may add in a lot more sweetener than you need.” For patients who enjoy them, he suggests creating their drinks at home. “Smoothies can be a great way of getting a lot of different healthy foods in one place at one time.” He just cautions against turning these potentially healthy sips into sodas.

Chef Sparks observes that they don’t store terribly well. “You want to make your juice or smoothie just a little ahead of when you want to enjoy it.” She also recommends using seasonal, local and organic ingredients wherever possible.  “The quality of the ingredients you buy for these beverages is important.”

“ I think we all envision ourselves with our farmers market bag with fresh fruits and herbs, but in reality, most smoothie makers are using frozen ingredients,” shares Ggem. “I love the undercounter freezer drawers for this, and better yet, a flex drawer that you can change from fridge to freezer whenever you like!”

Ggem often sites her smoothie centers in appliance garages and adjacent upper cabinets. “Smoothies are a messy interest, so having a plan for cleanability is key,” she advises. You also want “containers and measuring spoons for protein powders,” the designer suggests, “and filtered water and storage for any dairy or nut milks your client is adding.” 

Juicing brings a different set of considerations because it’s generally fresh produce being used, Ggem comments, “so consider a composting solution and cutting station.”

Tea Planning

“Teas can be a great addition to a health plan,” Singh comments. “Chamomile is great for those with IBS type symptoms and peppermint also may help with abdominal cramping. Green and oolong tea have anti-inflammatory properties and can be help in those with auto-immune and inflammatory conditions,” the doctor adds.

“Every style of tea has different brewing times and temperatures,” chef Sparks comments, “but in general you want to avoid using boiling water, which tends to burn the tea leaves. Most teas benefit from a slightly cooler water around 180 degrees. It’s still plenty hot, but able to extract the best of the tea instead of scalding it.” If you buy tea leaves in bulk, she suggests investing in a tea tin to keep out humidity and odors.

It’s really important to consider preferences and tools when it comes to planning tea centers, Ggem comments. “Tea is about the ritual, so serving the preferred process is so important.” Some tea aficionados love their electric kettles; others want a burner and the kettle really seems to matter, the designer notes.

For those who like to brew their tea on a burner, it’s important to know that not all pots will work on induction. For placement, she suggests placing a “tea center in a guest unit, perhaps offering storage for disposable tea bags.” She also notes that libraries make lovely tea centers.

Essential Planning Feature

For many of the beverages you’ll be making at home, water is a required ingredient and its quality can impact the taste and health of your drink. (The residents of Flint, Michigan can sadly attest to this fact.) “Water filtration is a big subject and I think it’s important to know what you are filtering for,” advises Sparks. “I am generally against dispensers of any kind because unless you are scrupulous in cleaning and maintaining them, they can potentially harbor bacteria. Not to disparage the dispenser makers, it’s just another layer of things you need to take care of to keep healthy.”

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Author’s Note: Singh, Sparks and Ggem will be participating in a Clubhouse conversation Wednesday, October 20 at 4 pm Eastern (1 PM Pacific) to share more advice and trends, and answer participant questions. This session is open to design industry, cooking and nutrition professionals, as well as enthusiasts interested in those areas. Those who miss the live event can find a recording the following Wednesday on the Gold Notes blog.

This article firstly appeared here.

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