This whole world of espresso is much more complicated than I thought it could be. I almost wish I was still naïve and using my crappy $30 Mr. Coffee steam “espresso” maker, but I can’t go back in time and make the frother not break so here I am.
When my frother on my 3 year old Mr. Coffee finally crapped out I went straight to Craigslist. I found a Krups Gusto espresso machine, paid $25, went home with a smile on my face. My smile quickly faded into a pissed off frown when I realized the guy only gave me the filter for a single shot of espresso (I’m used to having 4 every morning). Mr. Craigslist seller never bothered to search his kitchen drawers for me either so I never got relief from a 2 shot filter.
To make it worse the machine was crap. Within about 10 seconds the espresso started coming out clear. Where’s the crema I ask? Hell, what is crema? I didn’t even know there was such a thing, or rather that it was called “crema.” Crema is the foaming, frothy stuff that’s supposed to be on the top of your shot of espresso if it is brewed correctly; I obviously never received this from Mr. Coffee (or Signor Gusto).
So, after weeks of meticulously searching Craigslist, Overstock.com, every store on the planet that sells espresso machines, and Ebay I finally ordered an espresso machine. I wanted a better one than the simple lil’ steamer I had for so long but being an unemployed college student at the moment kinda puts a damper on the ole checkbook. I now own a Breville Café Roma espresso machine, which I procured for about $50 plus shipping from Ebay. The machine originally retailed for over $200 so I’m ok with how much I paid for it. What I’m not ok with is the annoying thumping sound the pump makes when you turn the frother on, but the internet tells me (and it has to be true as the internet never lies) that the thumping sound is normal… oh well.
What sucks now is that I realized I’m not using the right grind of coffee to make espresso with, which has a dire impact on the quality of espresso that is produced. Burr coffee grinders, I am told (again from the internet), are the way to go (not blade ones). Burr coffee grinders are evidently in high demand as they are priced higher than most low – medium end espresso machines. **sigh**
Maybe at the end of my coffee rainbow I’ll be able to get a job as a barista somewhere as I’ll actually have “experience” other than being a logistics director and post payment auditor (which I would assume means absolutely squat to the folks at Starbucks). I know, I’m bassackwards. Who says to themselves, “I want to quit my fluffy salaried job to make coffee, and get paid beans (ha) to do so.”
10/14/09 Update: My advice to those of you in the espresso machine market, do NOT buy one of these suckers unless you have endless amounts of patience. Espresso ground coffee, yeah it won’t go through the portafilter on this. In fact, I typically have to mix different grinds of coffee to get anything out of it at all. And today I just spent over half an hour fighting with the little buggard because my filter is clogged. Nothing will come out of it. Nothing. Not even water by its lonesome. I’ve read similar stories for the higher end Breville as well. Pain in the ass!