Welcome to The Cafe' Experience!

This is a site dedicated to my thoughts on coffee, one of my favorite subjects. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. However, please refrain from any abusive or disrespectful language as it would taint the beauty of the coffee dialogue.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Restart Now

I can't believe so much time has passed.  I was really enjoying writing in this blog and then I got the sudden notion to start graduate school -- it's been crazy busy since then. But, given that I'm on summer break, I thought I'd start back up again.  My coffee pot conundrum was solved by purchasing the Francis Francis X8 by Illy.  See here: http://www.illyusa.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_iperespresso_iperespresso_iperespresso_francis-francis-x8-E309

Now, before I go one, I must admit that I didn't get rid of my Cuisinart. It still sits on my counter top.  I haven't gotten rid of it because when guests come over, I need to make large quantities of coffee.  Plus, I haven't researched another type of coffee maker. I honestly don't use my coffee maker anymore since the X8. 

Now, about my new love...Illy espresso.  So, although I drank Illy coffee with my Cuisinart, Illy espresso is another experience.  Illy espresso has a unique flavor and my visits to Illy Cafe's over the summer of 2010 wasn't enough.  I kept looking for excuses to go to D.C., and grab a latte to go which wasn't always very easy to do given that I live about 2 hours away. 

Decisions - Espresso Machine vs Espresso Machine vs Coffee Machine
My coffee obsession started years ago when I was in college.  I worked as a barista for that place, you know the one that's on every corner? Back then, they didn't have the automated espresso machines and in order to serve drinks, you had to learn exactly how to make and pull the proper espresso shot. 

Thanks to Illy cafes, I started looking for espresso machines.  I was considering buying the high end espresso machine, but after researching the various brands, I realized it was too much of a hassle.  Yes, you can dish out thousands for an extremely nice espresso machine, but know that you need to also buy an expensive grinder - at least $300 plus.  Then, you need to spend a lot of time making sure that you are grinding the beans properly and tamping the espresso properly...all too much for the little time I have in the day.  Plus, I would feel excessively guilty knowing that the espresso machine/grinder cost more than my dishwasher, or stove or refrigerator. I don't think I could balance that in my head ever. 

The iperEspresso system which the X8 uses is perfect for people like me.  The capsules have the exact pre-measured amount of espresso ready to go.  The machine is easy to use and also has a frothing wand that makes excellent steamed milk.  I bought it in July of 2010 and havent' looked back.  The taste of the espresso is spot on to the Illy cafes as well...the best part of the whole purchase I believe.  Yes, you need to purchase the recurring delivery of Illy capsules, but I got over that pretty quickly.  It saved me an extra trip to the grocery store and shows up on my doorstep every month.  I love it!!!  The only downfall is, you can only make one shot at a time. Which means, it will take you a long while to make a cup of espresso for guests. Which is why my Cuisinart survives. 

Well, I could go on, but I'll save it for the next post. 

Coffee News:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coffee Delay

I miss my early morning cup of coffee in quiet.  I need to start back up and yet I have continually missed my early mornings for more than 2 weeks.  Need some inspirations and some energy. Hopefully, I'll be able to get to bed earlier and wake up at 5.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Illy issimo

I need to get back on my schedule of waking up at 5AM.  I just got back from a vacation and it's thrown me off.  I intend to try my best to wake up tomorrow at 5AM, pray, workout, eat breakfast and have my coffee in silence.  I really enjoy it when I am drinking coffee in the early morning, family is asleep and I'm sitting outside on the deck greeting the morning.  Gives me time to refocus my thoughts, write out my to do lists and make more lists for my to do lists, or just chill.  Writing about it is a good motivator, but the next challenge is to force myself to go to bed by 10PM.  That isn't always easy, especially when it has the same elements of that early morning coffee -- kids asleep and quiet house. 

Today, I had to make a Whole Foods run and came across the prepared cappuccino drink by Illy - issimo http://www.illyissimo.com/ .  I only tried the cappuccino version and the taste was not bad, it was low in sugar and 100 calories, but low on the caffeine content as well.  I rate this by the fact that I basically conked out after drinking it.  Now, that could be it was at the low time of my day -- around 5PM, but all in all it wasn't bad.  At $7.99 for four cans, I thought it was a bit costly.  So, I probably won't be buying it again, but I was trying to recreate my earlier Illy experience and failed. 

My two cents for today...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Coffee - Decaf and Caff

The Decaf
So, I've had my Cuisinart Grind & Brew http://www.cuisinartgrindandbrewcoffeemaker.net/images/3060235214_LG.jpg for about 3 years.  I initially got it because it has a grinder with the coffee maker and I thought it would make my life a bit easier by doing the grinding for me.  It also has this awesome thermal carafe that retains the heat.  However, every time I made coffee using the grinder, the coffee turned out weak.  Plus it was a mess to clean out the grinder.  I stopped using the grinder and have been grinding the beans myself, but still using the coffee maker. About a year ago, I noticed the carafe wasn't retaining the heat anymore.  And more recently, its been leaking water and making really weak/light coffee randomly.  Did I overfill the chamber? Nope.  Since Monday night (when it leaked water), I've used it twice, but it seems to be working fine.  I've read reviews on other coffee maker sites and am leaning towards a more pricier coffee maker being the better buy.  It seems that if you spend a bit more up front, the cost works it way out  because usually the coffee maker lasts longer.  But, honestly, I can't decide.  After my Illy Espressemente experience, I'm leaning towards an espresso machine.  But the problem with any espresso machine is the amount you can make. You can only make about 2 cups(shots) at a time and when you have guests over, you want to be able to spend time with them instead of being the barista all night.  For now though, I'm most likely going to stick it out with this coffee maker until it completely craps out on me.  I have my old $20 Ebay coffee maker as a back up if that happens. 

The Caff
I've long been a coconut fanatic (yes, coffee isn't the only thing I love).  In fact, coconut for me came before coffee since my South Indian heritage has many foods infused with coconut. I thought I was in love with Coffee Mate's Coconut Creamer,  http://www.coffee-mate.com/products/CoconutCremeLiquid.aspxbut a few days ago, I found So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer.  http://www.turtlemountain.com/products/coconut_milk_creamer.html

What's the difference?  Coffee Mate's is basically artificial, where as the second one is made from actual coconut milk and doesn't contain any dairy.  Plus, its healthier! I like the original version and add a touch of toffee nut syrup to sweeten it a bit.  I'm definitely replacing Coffee Mate with So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer.

My two cents today...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Illy Espressmente Cafe

Dear Illy Esspresmente Cafe,
Please open up more stores in the United States. The value of a true cup of espresso or latte is devalued by the chain starting with an "S" and ending with an "S". I had one large latte last week and the buzz still lingers. The perfection of the froth, the taste of the espresso cannot be compared to any chain store. It's obvious that there are real "chefs" preparing the coffee and taking pride in the work. I've long been a fan of Illy coffee beans and use them regularly to prepare my daily cup of Joe. But this cafe experience was like no other. And since I don't live in a bustling city like New York or Las Vegas (where I had my first encounter), I must dream of the day where an Illy Cafe opens up near me.

However, if you do live near an Illy Cafe, I urge you to go. Yes, it is a bit more pricey than the other guys...but definitely worth the experience.

My two cents for today....