Jay Cronley: Best gift of all is a good cup of coffee
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, December 23, 2012
12/23/12 at 4:40 AM
It's etcetera, not excetera, witness the abbreviation, etc.
And it's espresso, not expresso - espresso, awkward to say, even more difficult to make.
Espresso is what real coffee drinkers drink, not the watered-down amateur-hour stuff sold in the popular chains or brewed at home on a cheap plastic machine.
Espresso is a concentrated beverage produced by water under pressure.
The difference in real coffee, espresso and commercial coffee is like the difference in Belgian beer and something with a squirt of lime in it.
Lousy coffee is frequently reheated in a microwave oven, which electrocutes the flavor.
The problem with creating great espresso at home has always been the system that creates the pressure. Early machines came with instructions: Attach espresso grounds device. Turn switch On. Vacate the premises immediately in case it blows. Return in four minutes. Enjoy coffee.
Another trouble spot was the milk-frothing prong that frequently sent stuff flying onto the ceiling fan.
There's a busted coffee maker museum in my basement: The Evolution of Unsacred Grounds.
Lofty aims: And so here is the new Nespresso machine, a pricey piece of equipment aimed at producing the perfect cup of coffee at home on a freezing winter's morning, frost on the windows, reading material on the table, a day off in the offing.
Beautiful people on TV said this machine really worked.
Beautiful people on TV have lied before.
The Nespresso machines start at more than $200.
But if you have a museum named Joe in the basement, the thinking goes like this: One perfect coffee machine would be worth the price.
My Nespresso was a self-contained unit that included a milk stirrer or milk frothing unit next to where your cup went.
The verdict: Guess what? You guessed it. It makes a great cup of coffee or latte - better than the best chain, good as the best local house.
Getting the coffee hot enough requires running a cup of water through the unit. And getting the right amount of coffee into the cup requires attention and coordination.
Only Nespresso coffee pods fit the machine.
The milk frothing unit is magical.
Self-gifting makes for a happy Christmas and holiday.
The Nespresso is Swiss and so far works better than the army knife.
Original Print Headline: Best gift of all is good cup of coffee