There comes a moment in every coffee-loving gal’s life when you meet the one. It’s a beautiful moment; the kind of occasion that might one day inspire novels, epic poems, or at least a sappy pop song or two. This meeting—my very special meeting—involved a Breville espresso maker.
I have spent many a day since junior year of high school enjoying a cup of coffee with
the prying of the blankets from my still-drowsy fingers the rising of the sun. Through the ages, this coffee journey has involved all manners of coffee makers from Mr. Coffee, to Mr. French Press, to Mr. Chemex. Worthy coffee makers. Valiant even. Worthy of a stanza in that epic poem. But there was always a white whale out in the world to which I knew I would one day be introduced.
Insert a home espresso maker here.
And speaking of the one, when I met my husband, he was not a coffee drinker. He might, possibly, if coerced or on the losing end of a bet, get some kind of holiday foam creation at the chain coffee joint. Occasionally. Under duress. But then he started hanging out with me. And you know what they say about bad influences. (A lot of things, presumably?)
Before too many years passed in our friendship-turned-relationship, I had him mostly leaving behind the caffeinated-soda products and instead turning to coffee. To be specific, turning to lattes. Flash forward to Christmas 2015, and you’ll find Dan and myself standing beside his maternal uncle as he showed off his beautiful, shiny, European espresso maker. I should elaborate: you’ll find Dan and myself standing beside his maternal uncle drooling over the beautiful, shiny, European espresso maker. Yes, that’s more accurate. It wasn’t in the cards for us to invest in such a splendid invention at the time, so we said our farewells and promised never to forget the little fellow.
Flash forward, once more, to Christmas 2016, the year in which a variety of our family members ever so thoughtfully gifted us Amazon gift cards. And by the magic of online shopping, we converted those gifts cards into our very own Espresso Mania 3000. (That is not what it’s actually called, but I’m of the opinion that all fancy kitchenware ought to sound like fireworks or a laser show would accompany its unveiling.)
I have to admit, as excited as I was to start cooking with this puppy, there was some part of me that was convinced the setup would be difficult. I was also moderately sure that I would break the brand new machine in the process. Lucky for me, my genius sister was visiting one afternoon, and she helped me out.
Also lucky for me, the instructions were fairly straightforward and not at all intimidating. Go figure!
Step 1: Fill reservoir with water.
(Thanks for doing the heavy lifting while I photograph, Elise!)
Step 2: Load up the coffee beans.
Step 3: Grind the coffee beans into the coffee bean basket. I do believe there is a more technical term for this sturdy little contraption; I also believe I have quite forgotten it.
Step 4 and step 5: Tamp down ground beans and shave off any excess.
Step 6: Decide over the coming days that you don’t understand the need for shaving off excess, so you abandon that step rather quickly.
Step 7: Don’t forget the mug to collect the fresh espresso bean juices. Albert, you look fantastic.
Step 8: Brew! (Which for this very user-friendly machine, mostly consists of picking a portion size and pushing a button.)
Step 9: If you’re feeling very fancy, you can now foam up some milk to make a latte (Dan’s favorite), or a cappuccino (my favorite).
(Elise took over the camera so I could exhibit this step, and may I just say, look at her go! She’s going to be taking my photo credentials any day now.)
Step 10: Look contemplative, thoughtful, serene as you enjoy your fresh, homemade beverage.
Step 11: Decide you look like a total dork and move on.
Step 12: Voilà!
I must admit I am still perfecting the morning latte recipe I construct for Dan each day, as well as the right ratio of cold milk ⇾ to foaming jug ⇾ to cappuccino mug to get that proper dry cappuccino that makes my heart go pitter patter. Anyone out there have any tips and tricks to share?
Once I crack the code, I fully expect you to all come over for a morning espresso party. I’ll provide the beans, you provide the donuts, who’s with me!?
A special thank you to Elise for coming to the cottage house and helping me unpack and demystify this home espresso machine. You’re a lady and a scholar.
And a second particular thank you to our family members who sent along the Amazon gift card funds this Christmas, and enabled this extravagant purchase. Coffee cheers to each and every one of you.
SIGNED, anya elise