Monday, August 20, 2007

my new toy...

No, not THAT kind of toy...

Being Scandinavian, I don't really remember a time when I wasn't interested in coffee. I know that I began to drink it regularly before I knew how to write my name. I remember when I was about 4, sitting on my uncle Rudy's knee while he drank coffee with my Grandma and my aunt Laura in Grandma's kitchen. Everyone I knew drank their coffee black, but Uncle Rudy liked cream and sugar in his. I think I must have spoken up about how I thought it was strange, because I remember Uncle Rudy smiled and offered to let me try a little of his coffee, with cream and sugar, to see what I thought. I tasted it but was disappointed...I thought it was only OK...even at the tender age of 4, I remember thinking that the cream and sugar were simply diluting the rich taste of the coffee. By the time I was 6, I was enjoying coffee on a regular basis, and I have to admit that as much as I enjoyed the aroma and the flavor, I also enjoyed the little jolt that seemed to register with a lot of adults when they saw me downing a cup of the rich, black stuff.

When I was in my teens, many of my friends started their day with a Coke, but I continued to prefer coffee. Eventually, I had my first espresso, and then my first cappuccino...heaven!
I still prefer coffee (or espresso or cappuccino) to any other drink in the morning. I don't drink it all day long...I limit myself to a strong cup or two, and for the most part, that's it (barring, say, an FDA audit at work...). I do love to have coffee after dinner, if I'm out at a home, I don't often indulge in coffee at night.

Anyway, with the commute, my morning coffee has become more important than ever. For a while, I tried stopping by Starbuck's and starting my day with a cappuccino, but that's an expensive habit, plus the quality was very uneven, depending on who was making the drink. I tried resurrecting an old Krups espresso maker that I'd purchased years ago, but it produced an undrinkable cup of sludge. Not surprising, actually, as it was a steam machine (vs. the superior pump machines, read all about it here).

Saturday morning, I went to Starbuck's for a cappuccino and noticed that a number of their espresso machines (all of which extract using pump rather than steam) were on sale. I checked out the prices, and when I got home, I went on the net and did a little research. I went to (great website for coffee drinkers). There, to my surprise, I discovered that Starbuck's Barista machine got rave reviews as a great, "introductory" consumer espresso machine. On sale, it was approximately one-third the price of the other consumer machine I was considering (the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky Grinder - great names, ha!). There were 116 reviews of this machine, almost all of them enthusiastically positive. That did it for me...I went back to my local Starbuck's and made the purchase.

It's Hatch chile time here in Texas, and this afternoon I also went to Central Market where I picked up some sausages stuffed with cheese and Hatch chilies. This evening, I grilled the sausages on the Weber, and served them with stone ground mustard, German potato salad, Hatch chile corn relish and ice cold beer. For dessert I made strawberries pazzo and...of course...cappuccino using my new espresso machine. It's a little noisy when frothing the milk, but other than several of the reviewers said, it's the perfect beginner addict machine.

And speaking of addictions...I'm contemplating buying a margarita maker...


Tammy said...

I want one! Whining to Dave as he keeps saying no. My new kitchen "dream toy" must wait until we stop paying two mortgages. *sigh*

Now where are those AA'a. lol


Jan said...

What fun! Sometimes I wish I liked coffee. I always wonder about that when I visit Seattle, from which I've just returned. Enjoy!

Lisa :-] said...

Cute little toy! Emphasis on "little..."

My "toy" cost several grand and squats imperiously on the counter at my cafe. I can (and do) have a nice fresh latte anytime I want one. Which is only in the morning, if I want to sleep at all at night... :)

dreaminglily said... lol

I love those. I want one SO bad. Thankfully Will agrees we have to get one when we get our place lol


Erin said...

Congratulations on your purchase! Oh man, a margarita maker would be so dangerous for me. :-)