Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good Afternoon Latte!

I have started this post with a picture depicting a shot of the mountain from the vantage point of my living room. Today it is snowing on the mountain and the ski-run is not visible. Spring is trying so hard to arrive, but as you can see in the photo; the quaking aspen tree buds have not burst. Mother nature is caught in this "gray state"--desperately trying to move to green.

A month has passed since my last blog post and whilst I have been busy, there is only one item of noteworthy mention. Myself and four friends were fortunate enough to see Elton John in concert. The concert was amazing because Elton made it amazing. He belted out classics, one right after the other. For me, it will be a fun night to be remembered for years to come.

So, on to the post.  I thought I'd talk about my espresso maker. I don't use it every day, but being able to whip up a latte that rivals those made at an espresso bar while still in a person's pj's is one of life's luxurious pleasures, this is, at least for me.

I purchased this unit about 15 years ago, as witnessed by the dated forest green. Dang it, why did I not pick the black or stainless model?? This unit is a Starbucks Barista model, manufactured by Saeco. While this particular model is no longer available, used versions can be purchased on Ebay and Amazon. Saeco has a comparable unit referred to as the "Aroma" model.  My unit ran $300USD, and it has more than paid for itself many times over.  Similar units can be found online for $325-$400USD. That may sound expensive, but when you consider what you spend at the coffeehouse for your daily latte, its really not that bad, but you do the math.

This morning I made a latte and added some homemade Kahlua a friend gave me for Christmas...not gonna lie, it was yummy. I made the drink using beans from our local coffee roaster here in town. I'm also including a link to a youtube video showing step-by-step instructions. And yes, like my espresso maker, the video is dated as well!
Notice the crema this unit puts out. It has a pump driven system with a pressurized boiler unit. The picture does not do it justice, but the steamer wand also produces frothy steamed milk or cream, again just like you'd receive from the professionals.

A word of unit was stored for a period of time while I worked some temporary jobs. I had to have some repairs done. The unit has a water reservoir, that I emptied prior to storing it. But what I did not know is the water can remain trapped inside the workings of the unit, and when exposed to freezing temperatures, can ruin several of the system gaskets. I paid $100USD for the repairs, which I felt was still better than the cost of a new unit. That was almost three years ago. This little baby is still producing shots of espresso with the same vigor as when it was new.

Oh, and by the way...this is what our spring weather looks like right now...the mountain is no longer visible, and there is little white frozen flakes flying about...Happy May Day everyone!

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