Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Making of a Latté

It's funny but I never liked coffee when I was a teen or in my twenties or even early into my thirties. The same goes for onions and tomatoes. The reasons are simple really and engrained somewhere deep into my cranium. My mother was and still is a huge fan of the onion and she made it known with practice. Every meal she made incorporated onions. Most notably the meatloaf that had not small but large chunks of the yellow or red variety throughout. I would ask if there were onions in the meatloaf and she naturally would say "No honey." The same thing happened with tomatoes. The coffee thing just came out of the bad taste. Perhaps it was the Folgers, Yuban or Sanka that was in our cupboards as a teen. I quickly associated coffee with a stale taste.

Later on though I discovered that onions and tomatoes are good and that coffee doesn't have to be instant. I now grill my onions and eat raw tomatoes and dabble in different coffee (espresso mostly) from around the globe. While I used to frequent the local coffee joint I eventually began making my own, granted it's not the old-world manual press, but instead an old Krups my wife got as a wedding present years and years ago. Simple and industrial, the thing was a workhorse and eventually I was in a routine of making lattés and/or espresso shots every morning: one for my wife and one for me. It became ritual and still is to this day for the past two years. I retired the Krups in favor of a Starbucks Barrista. Before you give me a shakedown on Starbucks, it's actually Saeco and made in Italy. Oh snap!

This new chapter of a new, more modern machine is about a year old and I couldn't be happier. It steams wonderfully and makes a fine shot or two of espresso.
I love this current machine and made the wise choice. At the time I searched five different stores and none of them had the model because they were discontinuing it. Eventually I tracked one down and got it for 60% off! Though the Krups was older and less fancy, it clearly made a stronger shot for some reason.

Fast forward to now. This is where I get melodramatic. Yes I love the machine and what it does, but I am growing tired of the latté. I end up leaving about one-quarter of a cup in my mug and the taste has become too familiar. I have deduced that the reason I continue making lattés is because I like the process. I like the morning ritual: climb out of bed, go to the bathroom, get the milk and espresso out, turn on the machine, and on and on. I like steaming and presenting the mug to my wife and getting the praise she delivers after the first sip. I like the way it makes the house smell and how it signifies the opening of a new morning, a new day.

And so my "predicament" has caused me to be jaded in a way, but I have now figured that my next homemade latté may be a Yerba Maté Latté.