Simply Espresso

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Since the DeLonghi espresso machine we currently use is now approaching six years of age, Marc is starting to hint at buying a new one.  For every day of every year since we’ve had it (except the year spent travelling) this machine has brewed up at least two cappuccini in the morning.  Marc has calculated that we’ve used it over 1ooo times.  Considering I paid $40 for it, used, 6 years ago, I figure it doesn’t owe us anything.  That works out to about, what,  2¢/cappuccino!?    But now the seal is starting to go and it’s getting a little too finicky…

The espresso machine is actually the only thing that has a permanent home on our one small countertop.   And I mean the only thing.   We both have an affinity for minimalist design, so any surface area in our whole flat has minimal permanent residents.   (On my desk, only the small desk lamp, the monitor and a framed print live here permanently.)  So by combining the need for a new espresso machine with the requirement that it be as unobtrusive as possible, I think I’ve found a viable contender: the Stelton 898 Simply Espresso.


Pros:  It’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s European (upon this point I shall infer that it makes a decent tasting espresso), it looks really simple to use, and would take up no more than its fair share of countertop space.   Because it’s battery-operated, it could even come to the breakfast table with us!

Cons: no milk frother (duh), $289, and does it only make one double shot?  Must one use those wretched coffee pods?   How much does it cost to replace the battery?   Of course, Stelton also sells the appropriate accoutrements, including a milk frother.

This may not be the choice, but it’s fascinating to see the innovation.

Recently, in Photos

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Endive Salad with Feta and Scallions


Green Papaya Thai Salad


New Orleans-Style Blue Bottle Iced Coffee



Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Arguably, art should mimic life and not the other way around.   And arguably, advertising is not really art.   Yet, I purposely arrange my morning coffee to mimic an ad I once saw for Starbucks, trying to sell their beans for people to brew at home.   The image was of one small, rickety folding chair set on a back step of a house in what looked like it could be a garden; on the chair sat a folded section of newspaper and a large Starbucks mug.  The caption  was something like “Coffee for one.”

I’m not a regular ‘bucks drinker anymore, but I never forgot that ad.    Here, in this flat, I find an opportunity to approximate this scenario-  my coffee, my reading material of choice, our wee, cozy garden in the morning sun.



…and a dog nose sniffing through the bedroom window.


Caffeinated Gems

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Janet had nearly convinced me to give up on coffee until we returned to Seoul. The five dollar cappucinos made from water and powder were less than satisfying and a waste of our funds. The Lonely Planet Guide, usually refered to as “The Book”, recommended a coffee shop in Gyeongju called Clara & Schumann. Although it stated the place was for coffee lovers, we weren’t even sure it served espresso.

We arrived sweaty after a long walk in the heat. My macchiato was on par with the Blue Bottle Company in San Francisco, the best I’d ever had. However, the whole experience was outstanding. The owners seemed to know more about coffee than anyone I’ve ever met. They didn’t speak much English, but they went to extremes to ensure we they had the best coffee and everything complimented the coffee. It didn’t hurt that they gave us a lot of free stuff to enhance our experience.

IMG_3851.JPGOn the first day we polished our first cups off too quickly, so we were brought cups of a mild coffee almost like tea. It was thin and weaker than I’m used to, which I would normally accocciate with bad coffee, but these people are very deliberate. Besides the usual cappuccinos and lattes, one can select from dozens of beans which are ground specifically for the order. However, prices are different depending on the coffee and how strong you want it. Rather than using a machine, water is poured by hand over the grounds and the water tempurature is closely monitored. The Wedgwood cups were nice too. I’m glad I didn’t break one.

IMG_3907.JPGOn the second day, my macchiatto was not the best compliment for the cheesecake we ordered so I was brought an espresso. Later, we were given Double Toast, two inch thick toast with butter and jam. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed butter. On the third day we were brought complimentary cappuccinos for no particular reason.