Years ago, my then boyfriend and I were hanging out and got on the subject of his Starbuck’s habit. I recalled to him when we first got a coffee cart downstairs in the West Wing of the Capitol, man, I thought that was just the greatest! I’d go down every morning and get my mocha and bring it back to my desk overlooking the West Steps, and think, life is good. Then one day, I did the math. And the party was over.
My then BF considered the Starbuck’s at 19th and J to be his other office. He’d go in there every morning, they knew exactly what he would order. Sometimes he’d go back or sometimes to another Starbuck’s in the afternoon, too. And sometimes he’d get a scone. By the time I got out the calculator, he had already figured out in his head based on AT LEAST two mochas a day and NOT counting the occasional scone, his habit added up to over $3,000 a year!
NOTE: We tried really hard to support the little guys, but we just never knew what we were going to get. Example: we were in Half Moon Bay and ordered a soy mocha. They made it with instant cocoa mix that had cow milk in it! La Bou makes a WONDerful soy mocha, too, but there’s not always one close by when you need it. Absolutely not to infer you are one of the little, guys, Trong! And we buy PLENTY of your smoked turkey on a croissant sandwiches and apple cake and mochas when we’re there, pleaznthankyouverymuch! And we haven’t even conSIDered doing the math!
So, anyway, soon after, I thought about buying an espresso machine. My then BF wasn’t so good with surprises (still isn’t), and besides, I wasn’t going to plunk down that kind of money if he wasn’t going to use it. And besides, too, the coffee shop was kind of his social thang. See all the regulars, commiserate/jubilate over the team, read the paper… But, I bought it anyway. And I really didn’t think he’d use it. But, HE DID! That little espresso machine, a Saeco Classico (the new models are called Aroma) is such a trooper and the best $300 I ever spent. It paid for itself in less than two months and at 4 1/2 years old, it’s still plugging away and brewing up mochas that rival the best. And on Sunday mornings, we don’t even have to leave the house. Summertime, I make one in the morning, put it in a Tupperware tumbler, put it in the fridge at work work, and come 3:00, pour it over ice. (smak) Ahhh!
From the Significant Deviation Department: Do you have a community fridge at work? Ever use that ice? Eeew. Nobody does. I bought a Make and Shake ice tray. It’s like a flat plastic bottle with little indentations on one side. Fill it with water, screw on the cap, lay it flat in the freezer and you have ice, fresh, clean, not stinky, ice whenever you want it. They sell them at Linens & Things, but check other kitchen supplies stores. I even found one online that has the indentations on one side and the little tube shaped indentations on the other side to ice down your water bottles. Has anyone ever swallowed one of those long ice cubes, I wonder? Be vewwy, vewwy careful!
I don’t remember why I chose the Saeco Classico, but I’m sure it was because it seemed easy to use and maintain and didn’t have all the bells and schmancy doo-dads that we would never use. And it was small. And pretty. But, it was still a few weeks before I tried it out myself. And I smiled.
Drop hints for an espresso machine. Or, what the heck? Buy it yourself. I bought ours at wholelattelove.com (30 day money back guarantee and a one year, sometimes two, warranty–besides, they’re very nice) But, I just found some refurbished ones on eBay for a latte less. (oh, I’m SO sorry!) And they’re the stainless steel, too! I’m tellin’ ya, you will think lovingly of your espresso machine, and maybe of me, too, for suggesting it, when it’s pouring outside come next winter and you’re warm and dry and sipping a finely brewed espresso beverage at home. On the cheap! Speaking of cheap–do NOT buy a cheap espresso machine! It will not be the same experience. OTHER NOTE: Don’t care much for mochas or lattes? Pull your shot and dilute it with hot water. It’s called Cafe Americano. Load it up with cream and sugar (Italians cringing everywhere, but go ahead, I won’t tell), and I calls it a Cafe Ugly Americano!
I’m still amazed and thrilled, every day, that we can get an almost $4 mocha for about a quarter. And the best part? We can make them at home in our ‘jammies.
The Dove Lady sleeps well at night knowing Starbuck’s made a quick financial recovery after she bought the Saeco.