I am a coffee fanatic. And that is stating is lightly. I think it started when we moved to Seattle and I was exposed to Starbucks on every street corner. My sisters and I were buying so much Starbucks my Dad bought us our own espresso machine. Having limited knowledge the first lattes we made were not very appetizing!
I started paying attention to what coffee tasted like. Without pumps of flavor or packets of sugar. To pick my coffee beans for lattes, I would go up and down the coffee isle, munching every coffee bean until I found one I liked. That started a weird addiction where I would carry coffee beans around and munch on them whenever.
When I got pregnant with Brookelyn I craved dirt (iron deficiency) and coffee beans were the next best thing to get rid of the craving. But I decided the caffeine was not good for Brooke so I cut myself off from coffee. That is until I went to Italy and had my first Italian cappuccino. I fell in love so to say. Aaron had to help me control myself. I would have had five a day! There coffee was like nothing I had every tasted!!! I would scrounge all the change I could to go buy a cup :) I limited myself to two a week. Filled the craving for that delicious nectar with eating huge amounts of strawberry/banana gelato.
I remember sitting in the Rome airport waiting for my flight back to the states. I was super thirsty but only had a little bit of Euro left. I had heard you weren't supposed to drink the water from Rome faucets and there were no drinking fountains so my choice was buy a bottle of water or one last cappuccino. Can you guess what I might have bought?
Yup. The Cappuccino. I sat there for half an hour savoring every last drop.
I got back stateside and found myself ordering a Starbucks. I took one drink and threw it away. I didn't drink any more coffee for a long time. I slowly started drinking Starbucks again for lack of something better. I also resorted to drinking black coffee loaded with creamer. All I wanted was a cup of good coffee!
Well my wonderful husband is amazing. When he knows there is something I like, he goes to every length to makes sure I get it! He started researching and decided to get me the means to roast my own beans.
We found a little place near SanFrancisco that sells green coffee beans and ships cheaply. We have gotten 6 different blends trying to find one we like best. And yes I said WE! Aaron always drank coffee in Italy but hated coffee here in the USA. He called it puddlewater. He is now a converted coffee drinker. I am able to roast the beans exactly the way I like them. There were a few batches that weren't so tasty but we have gotten the art down and have some tasty beans!
Starting to turn color..
My adorable assistant
helping me cooling the beans off
My other adorable assistant grinding the beans. While reseraching coffee Aaron learned that you need a burr grinder instead of the normal blade grinder. The make automatic burr grinders but I wanted an old fashioned hand crank one! Brooke loves to help out. She hears us grinding and runs up saying, "I help make toffee?"
You need the perfect amount of coffee that has been freshly ground,
and the proper tamp (30lbs of presssure... I don't know if I always get exactly 30lbs but the idea is to push it very firmly)
To make the perfect shot of espresso.
Look at that thick crema. mmhmm!!
All the above makes a cappuccino that tastes pretty darn close to the Italians ones!
I don't have the nicest espresso machine.. I am waiting for this one to die before investing in a better one but I have learned you don't need a super expensive machine.
When you know how to use the machine to it's fullest ability, you have delicious beans, know all the tricks, you can get an amazing result! Another delicious option is getting a french press. That enables you to fully enjoy the coffee flavor. There are even stove top espresso percolators. (Cheaper than getting a big espresso machine) Still have yet to get one of those and try it out. There were very popular in Italy so they must be good.
So if you are ever in the neighborhood, stop by and we can chat over a hot cup o' joe!
But don't ask for sugar or creamer because I don't serve those with my coffee!!!