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At my daughter Mary's house I discovered a Starbucks Barista espresso machine on top of the refrigerator. i asked mary about it. She said Marty had brought it home but it didn't have a manual. We both knew we could find the manual online. I more than hinted to Marty that I would actually use it and he gave it to me. A company where he works gave it to him because they did not know how to use it. Marty, who doesn't drink coffee, happily gave it to me! THank you Marty!!

When I got it home I looked up and printed out the manual. I went over the parts photograph, identifying parts. Saw a few missing.

Yesterday I went to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks to ask about one of these parts, the cup that holds the espresso grind. That store did not have one but the manager recommended that I check downtown, said that is the major retail Starbucks in the area. He would order the cup if I preferred, however. No, I said I'd check downtown. I asked about the pods, though, and bought a box of coffee pods.

So I found myself downtown, leaving my car in the parking building with this one goal to fill. I went to Starbucks. I found the pitcher that holds the milk and I asked about the little cup. The person went into the back to hunt, didn't know what was available. She came out a bit later with the cup, saying "Usually we have to sell the whole set, but today you get it free!"

Wow! I was on my way.

It doesn't do to rush these things, though. When I got home I read through the instructions for "priming the pump", and did the first part, which is to rinse out the water container, clean parts. And I left it that way last night.

During the night I woke or dreamed of making espresso. I saw the instructions for steaming the milk, which I had also read, in my mind. I figured I would complete that priming this morning. So it was the first thing I was thinking about when I got up. No, not quite the first thing. Thinking about coffee had brought to mind my mother's coffee and my stepmother's and the differences. I woke wondering if my mother's way of making and drinking coffee could possibly have been a reaction to the way my stepmother did these things, because they are so opposite. My stepmother carefully made a drip coffee, using a Melitta  drip cone, and she insisted that coffee be drunk black. My mother used a percolator and put cream and sugar into hers. Why, I wonder now, would you make the choice on the percolator in particular, unless it is a reaction to someone you detested? All my life my mother threw out little barbs at my stepmother and father. Clearly she never saw the need to get over it.

For my part I went with Elizabeth, my stepmother. I saw the superiority of the drip system rather quickly, even after being raised with the perc. Or maybe because of. I also went with gas stoves. My stepmother had a Chambers gas stove, a machine from heaven, infinitely adjustable. It didn't take any time for me to see the advantage of that over my mother's electric stoves, which, again, I had grown up with.

I primed the pump this morning. Then I unplugged the machine and set it on the table. Tonight I'll go all the way.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 14th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
Starbucks Barista espresso machine

coffee, yuummmm...

lucky you, judith! enjoy that nice machine you got there!

i have a couple of vintage percolators - mother used hers only on special occasions. she preferred instant and/or freeze-dried over anything else, gak.

why does drip taste better then perc'ed, i wonder... or does it?
Jul. 14th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
I think drip tastes better because it isn't "cooked". Perced coffee is cooked. Has to be hot enough to perk through the tube and then back through again.

The stove-top espresso makers (I have two sizes) operate on a similar principle to the perc, but the water pushes through the coffee and lands in a container on top, does not go through again and again.

Of course some people do really prefer the perc taste. Just as some people seem to prefer cheap wine, which makes me sick.

Preferences. At Joey's fifth birthday there was a party at his dad's house, and lots of adults were there. I remember one of them complaining that the potato salad didn't have enough mayo. I have developed almost an aversion to mayonaisse, but used plenty in this salad. This person, though, grew up eating it straight, almost.

It's interesting that some of us change our tastes as we go along in life and others never do. My brother Mike didn't eat vegetables or fruit until he became very sick and that was about all he could eat. Could there have been a connection? Naaah!

Anyway! I look forward to the Big Experiment this afternoon. I am going to attempt a cappuccino.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 14th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Yes! The ritual is what I love. I do use an automatic drip coffee maker but I use the programmable part and there is a ritual to grinding the beans, pouring in the water, and setting it. Pleasing.

And a cup. I have a couple of appropriate cap cups but they are nothing special. I may need to fix that.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Slow food
Cool site! I think I might join. It matches a lot of my thinking and eating.

I feel fortunate that I actually like to cook. I like to take each step, smelling and feeling and tasting.

As for instant oatmeal...lordy. Salt and sugar up to yazoo. I'd be cooking oatmeal more often if I didn't get distracted by sims on some mornings...
Jul. 14th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC)
A sigh of admiration.

Jul. 14th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
What I meant was, I often feel defeated when facing complicated machinery of any kind.
Jul. 14th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
I did wonder!

I usually approach these things fairly enthusiastically, but only if I have the instructions. And even then I admit that I often hang back and absorb for a while before actually attempting.

When I was a young'n and interested in cooking (I still am) I liked to curl up with a good cookbook. I would read the steps over more than once and visualize them in my mind and when I felt I understood the entire process then I would gather the ingredients and make the thing. It's the same thing for me when I am about to embark on a new machine. You'll notice I didn't rush in the moment I got home.

now I have the last pieces that I will need to make my drink. Thermometer and milk. I think I'll go take a nap...then...
Jul. 14th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
You are just too cool, Judy!

I always admire your positive attitude when dealing with anything.

Now, may you enjoy the fruits of your labor!

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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