Until recently I thought I could make a pretty decent cup of coffee using a cafetière. I was wrong. I’ve eyed up various espresso machines and added them to internet wish list vainly hoping they’d appear some birthday or Christmas. Recently I decided to treat myself and finally bought one.
I didn’t want or need a large, expensive machine with all the bells and whistles. A simple pump machine for about £50 was what I was looking for. This also served to lower my expectations of the final result. I expected to get a bit of crema on top but probably not a lot. The result would just be a shorter, stronger version of the coffee I was making in the cafetière.
In the end when I unboxed it and plugged it in for the first time then dutifully followed the tips I found online by other owners of the same machine – pour an empty shot first to warm the filter and cup, use fresh water each time; I pretty surprised to find a thick brown layer of crema on top. A quick dash of milk (straight coffee gives me migraines) to make a machiatto then the taste test. Superb! This coffee is light-years ahead of the stuff I was making before.
It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve gone from occasionally drinking coffee at home over weekends (confining midweek coffee to the office) to paying regular visits to my little friend on the worktop most days. Mostly because the coffee this little thing produces is delicious but also because I’m the only coffee drinker in the house and I need to try to get through as much of it as possible while the grounds are still fresh!
Still need to get the hang of a cappuccino. Only tried it the once and the milk frothing didn’t go well. For now I’m sticking to the machiattos.
5 thoughts on “I’m loving my espresso machine”
Ahhh coffee, I’ve got a similar machine, espresso is wonderful I’ve had a few cracks at the Milk Steamer lark and it takes me ages to clean the milk off the machine, cupboards, walls, dog etc …..
A machine will be the first thing i purchase when i get my own place one day.
Want a tip for a cappuccino?
1. Don’t be scared nor intimidated by the steamer. It is your friend! It knows when you don’t like it and will shatter your ‘frothy’ (for lack of a better word) dreams.
2. I find milk that is slightly warmer (i’e – not straight from the fridge) better for froth.
3. Technique and patience – You want to put the steamer on for a second or two first, to get any lying water out of there. Put the nozzle in all the way and turn on the steamer. From there gradually and slowly move the jug down the nozzle at an angle. The froth will happen when the milk is around half heated,but only if the nozzle is barely in the milk. Let it rumble around the top for a few seconds.
4. Take it off the heat when it’s around 80/85 degrees. Anything more that that is too hot and you won’t get froth/burn the milk.
5.Let it rest for a minute or so.
6.Tap the side of the milk jug with a spoon. This will help seperate the milk from the froth.
7. You should be good to go!
Take it easy.
Think we have the same machine, though mine is an earlier version as it looks a little different (was the cheapest in their range back then too). I am fairly pleased but find getting the crema is rather hit and miss and not sure what I have to do to ensure it. Here in London we are in a hard water area? I used ready ground coffee, but not espresso type, however even grinding it finer made little difference. It is not easy to find Fairtrade espresso coffee and it is often a very harsh flavour. I have only seen hugely expensive ones. I covet my brother in law’s wonderful, ‘all singing, all dancing’ machine – grinds the beans and no tamping down – so every cup is perfect. It was a retirement present, so unfortunately beyond my price range.
I would certainly replace it with another, perhaps slightly more expensive one, if it died. It is becoming an essential in my kitchen! I used it when I made Tiramisu the other day and I am sure it made a difference.
‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’
Cheers for the cappuccino tips Crocker! I’ll give them a go at the weekend I think.
Hopeeternal, have you tried using espresso ground? I use Lavazza espresso which seems to give great results consistently. I’ve tried using a few different amounts of tamping and varying the amount of ground I put into the filter and I still usually get a decent level of crema. It’s not fairtrade though.
I only buy Fairtrade coffee and it is not easy to find that ground for Espresso, hence me trying to
re-grind the coffee finer. I too have tried different levels of tamping but sometimes I get no crema at all and usually not much, which then dissipates quickly – a pity. The taste makes up for it, however!