First, a word about True Love. My husband cannot stand the smell or taste of coffee – hates it. A number of Christmases ago, he bought me my first espresso maker. That, ladies and gentlemen, is True Love.
I’m not a “drip coffee” person. You shouldn’t ask me to make it for any function I am a part of – it will not taste good, I promise you. I started really enjoying lattes – my coffee drink of choice – in my 30’s after I had given birth to both my kids. Coincidence? Hmmmm…!
I love the melding of the hot coffee, my flavoring “du jour” and the hot milk (non-fat, doc! I promise!). I like it hot with a nice skim of thick foam on top – when it is made right, it can almost be a religious experience. When I was commuting, my coffee experience devolved into “celebrating the moments of my life” instant stuff to save time and money. It was probably pretty bad for me – have you read the ingredients on those cans? For the past two years, however, I have been working from home at my own business, so my coffee experience has improved.
I pulled out the a fore mentioned espresso maker and bought some good Tully’s espresso beans, pre-ground. My espresso maker is of the stove-top variety – a pressure cooker of sorts. The smallest amount of coffee you can make in this machine is a triple-shot and I drink a double-shot, (see updated Fun Facts page) so I will measure out a double and waste a shot. If you can think of a better way, let me know, but this works for me.
This is what it looks like. The top knob twists off and the black arm – a part of the “press” in “espresso” comes off for cleaning and filling. The coffee basket with reversible insert goes inside with the water. The insert can be placed for 3 shots, flipped over for 6 shots or removed for 9 shots and different water levels for the shot quantity is etched inside. I put in the water and then place and fill the basket, using a spoon to tamp down the coffee. The black arm is returned to it’s position and I screw the knob on tight – it’s a pressure cooker, remember! I place it on the stove and make sure the valve on the end of the arm is full open with a cup is under it to catch the coffee when it starts to drip. The valve on the side has to be closed in order for the pressure to build enough for the coffee to “espresso” out. It operates the steaming arm which I use later for the milk. While the coffee is “cooking,” I heat the milk in the microwave so it doesn’t take too long to get it piping hot during the “steaming step.” After the coffee begins to drip, I watch it in hopes of keeping to a double-shot – I don’t always achieve this goal, but I do try! After I shut off the coffee valve, I keep it on the burner to build up the pressure for steaming – about a minute will do. I put my flavoring into the mug with the hot coffee while I’m waiting. A personal fave is Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup – yum! With the milk pre-heated in the microwave, it doesn’t take to long to steam the milk to “very hot” – the way I like it! I get some smooth foam by keeping the steam wand tip just below the milk’s surface. Finally, I add the milk to the coffee/flavoring mixture – I need someone to teach me to make cool patterns in the top with the foam….
Does that sound like it takes a long time? It does! Between cleaning the pot from it’s previous use and getting my first sip, is about 20 minutes. You heard me – TWENTY MINUTES. Several times a week, I make my coffee by driving to our neighborhood espresso stand and handing them my favorite ceramic mug – it doesn’t take near as long!