OK I know I’ve talked a lot about coffee on this blog but it as important in our lives as our food!! What prompted me to do this post was an article in the Indo a couple of weeks back by my “amico” Paulo about coffee machines and the perfect espresso machine. Coffee machines seem to be the new must have item these days and most of them are not cheap!! A trip to BT’s one day opened my eyes to how much a Gaggia machine will put you back these days. I decided to this post to show you our coffee making facilities at home.
Paulo says the perfect espresso is achieved by putting the hot water through six grammes of grounds at 16 atmospheres of pressure. This releases the oils from the grounds and these oils make the head or the crema which we all know at this stage is the most important part of an espresso. The way to test a good crema is if it is thick enough a spoonful of Castor sugar ,no sugar lumps please;) will sit up to 10 seconds on the head before sinking into the coffee below. He says he has yet to get one like this in Dublin but if he came to Limerick he is guaranteed one if Bru’s dad makes it!! Alfredo definitely knows his coffee and he makes the best espresso I have ever had in Ireland and it ALWAYS passes the sugar test, mine is pretty good in La Cucina but not as good as his, an Italian even told me recently at the top of his voice in the shop that it was better than most he has had in Italy!! I didn’t tell him I had to make it 4 times before the bloody thing came out right but everyone looked so impressed I didn’t want to ruin the moment so I just basked in the glory;)
There is so much involved in coffee making and I always say it’s a “science”, I think people think I’m mad but it’s true, even the weather affects the quality!! I personally don’t know enough about it and would love to learn a lot more, Alfredo calls into the shop regularly to check the coffee grind, the water etc and spends a good hour at it!! So, this lack of knowledge on my part brings me back to coffee machines at home, if you don’t know anything about coffee there really is no point in buying a beautiful Gaggia machine for €1000 to make a cup of black coffee that you could make with a percolator!! This is where the ESE(Easy Serving Espresso) systems come in and these are the machines that Paulo tested and this is what we have and every member of the family has at home even Bruno’s dad. In Italy everyone has these machines, I have never seen a real coffee machine in an Italian household it is always an ESE or the little espresso pot that you heat up on the gas!!
The great thing about these little machines is that you are guaranteed an espresso with a good crema every time, the coffee comes in small pods, like a teabag which means no measuring and a consistent espresso!
So if you are planning on buying a machine and are confused about what to buy, go with the ESE system!! I’m afraid I don’t know much about prices or anything, I know we can get them from one of our suppliers for about €350 but I don’t know if that’s expensive?? and the pods are more expensive than using regular coffee but for the quality aspect alone they are worth it. Our little machine was so cheap €100 I think, I could probably start a business importing them;) and we have it 5 years and have never had a problem! The only thing we don’t have is a frother so we do it the old fashioned way every morning by heating the milk on the gas and frothing with one of those little handheld frothers that cost €3 and a perfect cappucino is had every time:)