Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saving Some Serious (Star)Bucks

$2.60 x 5 days per week x 4 weeks per month x 10 months per year (I'm a teacher) = $520 worth of soy lattes from Starbucks.
$140 (regular price) - 30% (sale) + $15 (cute cups) + $70 (a year's worth of beans from Trader Joe's) = $185 to make my own espresso.

Translation? I was spending an insane amount of money at Starbucks on coffee (and let's be real here-- you know I also got some lemon pound cake, or an apple-walnut muffin, or some oatmeal).  I'm not one of those omigoddon'teventalktomeuntilI'vehadmycoffee people, but I do become a nicer person after one cup in the morning.  It prevents headaches (no, I'm not addicted-- the headaches came first) and helps me focus, so Starbucks became an integral part of my job performance.  But on a teacher's salary, $500 is a BIG hit.  So I hit up Macy's instead.

Check out this bad boy!
The only downside to this machine is its height: it fits a demitasse cup under the spouts where the espresso comes out, not a regular cup.  One could argue that really, that's the way it should be-- an espresso-sized cup fits in an espresso-making machine.  But if I want to make a latte (and I do), I have to pour the espresso into a larger mug, and then I lose a little bit of the foam, which is the best part.  There are bigger problems in the world, I know.  But still.

I'm having just one problem.  Whenever I use non-dairy milk in my coffee, I notice a metallic aftertaste.  I don't like it.  I've tried almond milk (chocolate and regular), hazelnut milk (chocolate), and soy milk (unsweetened). I don't have this problem when I use dairy milk, and I make a darn good latte with all that foamy milk from my machine.  But a) I'm lactose intolerant;  b) if Starbucks can do it without the aftertaste, dang it, so can I!  So what am I doing wrong?   Help!

The key to really good espresso is the grind of the beans.  The big grinder at the store doesn't grind them up well enough, though it's a good start.  Enter my dad's 40-year-old Braun grinder, made in Germany and made to last FOREVER.

This thing is a classic!

The cute little red demitasse cup and saucer is the perfect indulgence in the morning, and makes me feel like I'm in un bar in Italy.  OK, not really-- I hardly notice it as I gulp down the espresso because I'm almost always running late.  

Un espresso (the crema is soooooo good!)
A dairy latte, with good foam.

Lemon pound cake? Stay tuned...

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