When it comes to coffee, like many things, I'm definitely no expert but I'm very fussy.
It may not surprise my friends or regular readers of this blog but I don't have much patience for fancy-shmancy pseudo-coffee drinks.
You're likely to get a slightly odd look if you ask me for sugar in your coffee before tasting it - the same way I'll quietly glare at liberal use of salt and pepper before tasting my cooking.
I apologise to the girl behind me in the queue at Velvet the other day who ordered a large skinny decaf with two sugars - yes, I did laugh at you.
So now you see where I stand. Firmly in the uninformed but self-righteous camp.
True Love at Home
Which is why it eventually just wouldn't do to have an automatic coffee machine. While it produced coffee and it was free as it was my father's old machine, we tired of not-quite-good-enough coffee and regular servicing.
After a bit of consultation with the friendly people on the coffee snobs forum, a chat with the all-knowing king of self-righteousness himself, Matt from Abstract Gourmet (who will hopefully take that in the good humour with which it was intended) and a friendly tip from baristaapp on twitter, we decided on an Isomac Tea (pronounced Teh-ah).
For those clever about these things, it is an Italian-made HX machine with an E61 commercial group head. All I know is that it will look rather pretty in my kitchen and it makes fabulously rich, almost syrupy coffee.
My long-suffering husband who usually rolls his eyes when I tell him about something we "need" was way ahead of me on this one.
After I told him about various opinions, sent him links to look at and details of our friendly local stockist (thanks Ashley from Five Senses) it was all happening.
It took just one excellent ristretto and a fabulously textured flat white to sell him completely.
Stimulating the Economy - Thanks for the Rudd Bucks
I do however know enough to know that there is no point having a great espresso machine without an even better grinder.
I've deployed my Rudd Bucks (for those outside of Australia, there has been an almighty cash handout of up to $900 per tax-payer earning under a particular amount) and bought Miss Tea a friend.
She's a Mazzer Mini-Electronic. Glad to see the money is going to those in need...
The Value Equation
While I'm not an advocate of wanton spending, I do believe very strongly in carefully budgeted luxuries.
My husband and I do drink a fair amount of coffee and we entertain at home a lot too.
Having excellent coffee at home will reduce the temptation to drink coffee out (and with it, often a piece of cake).
I'm also a proponent of the buy cheap buy twice - so always try to buy the best value (not necessarily the most expensive) I can afford.
Our new toys also contribute to one of our major goals - to enjoy time entertaining friends.
I'm looking forward to wonderful coffee at home.
Things I do know about coffee
- The skill of the person operating the grinder and espresso machine is an important factor. Accordingly I'm sending my husband to the WA Barista Academy.
- Fresh coffee is everything. We buy our coffee freshly roasted from Five Senses
- Milk quality is important in a flat white or latte. We get Bannister Downs milk whenever we can - it becomes fabulous microfoam very easily.
- Michael at Cafe Grendel knows more than I could ever hope to know about coffee
- I prefer the taste of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe over Kopi Luwak, the world's most expensive coffee, pre-digested by an East-Javanese civet cat.
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