It was actually the Latte Craze of the 90s that got me hooked on coffee. Up until that point, I was a Diet Coke in the morning to get me going girl. Aaahhh .... lattes. The transition drug. Add to the equation that I had a good friend working at a Starbucks roasting factory in Washington who didn't like coffee, and so forwarded me care packages containing assortments of her employee free pound of coffee per week. Oh, my. That'll get you hooked. I quickly was.
Fortunately for me, I ran in a cheap (broke) circle of 20 something singles who made their own lattes. So this has pretty much been par for the course for me over the years. However, two years ago I upgraded to a nicer machine with a pump pressure system. This isn't a Product Review - this is me sharing one of my Favorite Things in Life with you!
This is also not intended to be a Consumer Reports breakdown of the Espresso Maker options out there. Suffice it to say that after I performed online research for hours, and tried and returned 3 different unsatisfactory models, I discovered my dream machine!
|The Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine|
Last year these were at the $250 price point. Currently, this retails around $200. But if you shop around you can sometimes get it for $150. Kohls stocked them during this Holiday season ... hold out for one of their 30% coupons that come in the mail, and use that!
Once in awhile, I do splurge on purchasing a coffee drink. And they are usually really good. But I'm usually only "out and about" in the afternoons or evenings. And being the "I can't drink caffeine past 3 PM" wuss that I have apparently grown to become ... that rules out swinging through Starbucks. Cause let's face it people: a decaf cappuccino defeats the point!
Here's the thing about making my own lattes at home:
- Cost Savings
- Excellent Strength/Quality
- Enjoy 1st Thing in the Morning!
The cost saving is obvious. It kills me to spend $5 on a drink. That's good lunch money! I do purchase quality whole Espresso beans, usually at Starbucks. If you grind your beans yourself at home as needed, your espresso is going to taste much stronger and fresher. You will need to use a Burr style grinder if you are going to invest in using the pump pressure style machine. With this combination, you are going to be able to pull an amazing shot with gorgeous tasty crema on top! Yes, I like me a triple shot...
|From my Cuisinart EM-100 machine at home. YUM!|
This leads me to my next point - the quality and strength of your latte! For every 4 lattes my mom purchases at a coffee shop, she is happy with the taste and strength of about 1 of them. That's a 25% satisfaction return on investment. Not good enough! Make it at home, make it as strong as you like.
Here's a tip that seems small but for some reason pushed me from the "this is kindof a hassle, I don't do it very often" zone to "this is slick, I now make my own lattes daily" zone. I don't mess around with the teeny tiny stainless steel frothing pitchers. I just use a nice thick glass mug, pour my cold milk in there (only fill it 1/3 to 1/2 way), and froth it directly in my drinking mug!
For you nursing moms out there, did you know that a latte with a couple shots of esspresso has LESS caffeine than a mug of strongly brewed coffee? These got me through my pregnancies! I downsized to two shots during during those times, but the espresso boost and milk first thing in the morning when my stomach wasn't too happy were exactly what I needed to get my pregnant self out the door to work!
And last, but not least: if you make your lattes at home, you can enjoy one the second you stumble out of bed! I swear I don't even know how to get myself ready in the morning anymore without a latte in one hand.
My little gift to you. Save money AND improve the quality of your life! What a deal.
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