There is something about the smell of a freshly brewed Espresso … whilst I suffer from a chronic lack of smell due to allergies this is one of the few things I can actually smell and enjoy.
Whatsmore, after drinking the rich, black coffee it tends to open up my sinuses, reduce my allergies and get me breathing again.
I remember the first coffee I ever drank. I was 26 years old, on reserve duty in the Tze’elim IDF training base and we were in an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier). The weather was cold and windy and we had been driving around for a couple of hours, training. We pulled up and got out for a break and one of the guys opened up what looked like a small plastic toolbox. It contained everything necessary from the gas stove to cups to make Turkish Coffee. (I had never had coffee as in England everyone drank Instant which seemed like a repulsive, acidic brew.) When the complex ritual of making the coffee on the fire had been completed we each got one. It felt nice just to hold something warm and it smelt sooo good so I tried it.
The caffeine kick was amazing and it tasted rich and potent and a little syrupy. I was hooked.
I discovered with time that if my allergies or Asthma flared up then Espresso could help a little in a pinch but really I just loved that such a small drink has so much flavor and punch to it.
I have resisted the temptation to purchase an Espresso machine for the house as I would probably drink too much coffee. However, I always felt the need to be able to make good coffee.
I tried French Press coffee makers but it wasn’t the same even with the best coffee. I decided that this was one of those situations where you make do. Recently, I was in a local store that deals in “chef” quality cooking products and saw they had their own coffee grinder and beans. After chatting with the owner who admitted right away that he too was a caffeine addict, he listened to my plight and offerred several suggestions.
Ultimately I left the store with a Stove-top percolator and coffee ground for it.
The one I purchased was strictly a one cup, double espresso maker. The percolator works simply; the lower half contains water that on boiling bubbles up thru the section containing the fine ground coffee and out thru a narrow pipe into a cup. The associated smell and sounds of the bubbling percolation leave you in the heights of anticipation.
The espresso in the cup even has la crema, the golden froth associated with fine espresso.
Why did I stress that the coffee be ground for this device especially? I fthe grains are too coarse then the pipe becomes blocked and even with a small pressure release valve this can suddenly reach critical mass. Coffee sprayed everywhere is not easy to clean up and you will find little dark patches on walls and ceilings for days after.
Like any other Espresso making device two things a vitally important to ensure a great Espresso:
Keep it clean. Limescale buildup alone can give a terrible taste to the coffee. Rinse well and to remove limescale you can use a liberal solution of vinegar and baking soda (rinse thoroughly after as well).
Good coffee, ground properly. Subjective but vital.
I don’t know if this is the best home brewed Espresso I will ever find but up until now it leaves me feeling happy. Still my quest for that perfect cup continues.