Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The twitch. The fix. The re-up.

Despite a sketchy past littered with empty Diet Coke cans and even a brief stint with those little pink Wake-Ups in high school (yes, it was my Jessie Spano moment) I have consistently tried to downplay or limit the role of caffeine in my life. It's an endless battle. My best friend in high school drank Pepsi for breakfast. In university my roommate worked for an upscale coffee joint and we would eat chocolate covered espresso beans for dinner. In later years I would come to respect the delicate balance of my stomach lining and find comfort and solace in a cuppa tea - but I would always turn back to coffee when looking for a little jolt, a little fix, a little kick in the pants. I've never been the hardcore type that could drink it black - no, I'm a coffee pansy that is for certain. In grad school I was frequently asked if I wanted some "coffee with my sugar?". So I distinctly remember the very first time that a cafe latte touched my lips. It was Fall 2000 and a good friend had just moved to downtown Toronto - so swanky! He lived near the Starbucks at College & Euclid and that is the spot where I first fell in love with the delightful mixture of syrup, frothed milk and espresso. It was love at first sip.

Over the years I tried to make my own. I used a crappy Salton machine, a pretty Italian Moka, various Bodum accessories - but it never tasted the same. I was never the Barista of my dreams. And so it passed that in the Fall of 2008 during a trip to Spain my bf and I were introduced to the miracle of Nespresso. At first I mistook it for the powdered Nescafe coffee shite - but after being brought into the mecca that is a Nespresso store in Valencia I was shown the error of my ways. It had all the elements that made it attractive to a coffee snob - exclusive club, quality espresso beans, shiny coffee toys and smart, pretty people to man the counters (not to mention Clooney as the spokesperson). But don't be mistaken - there is no purchasing a cup of joe in these stores. Oh no. They'll certainly brew you a shot or a drink, but it's free and meant to entice your taste buds and open you up to a much bigger purchase. The store is there only to sell the beans (or pods if you will), the machines, and the various elements for drinking (cups, sugar, spoons).

I bought a machine for the bf for Christmas this year and I swear that I saw a tear in his eye - unheard of for a hard-hearted Englishman, trust me. I knew once I saw him documenting the entire experience on film that he was hooked. And so was I. The machine came with a small frothing machine that makes the most perfect quality steamed, frothed milk EVER. That's right, I said it IN CAPS. Last week I experimented for the first time with an iced latte and Nespresso didn't let me down. It frothed the milk cold! COLD!

So good - once it hits your lips....

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