off topic

How to make a latte.

Starbucks is closing 600 US stores due to pressure from the tanking economy. Is your ‘Bucks on the list? You don’t have to be a trained barista or have a ton of expensive equipment to make a latte that easily rivals the Starbucks version. For a modest investment, you can have your Grande Latte any time you want (and for a lot cheaper than $5-a-pop).

Hardware
Stove top espresso pot (I got an inexpensive one at the supermarket for under $20)
Milk frother (I have one from IKEA that cost less than $5)
Coffee grinder (Inexpensive grinders can be found anywhere. I can’t remember where we got ours…)
Cooking thermometer (here’s mine)

Software
About 3 or 4 Tbsp or so of whole coffee beans. (I buy my coffee at TJ’s where they have a good selection of coffees in different roasts. Traditionally espresso is made with a dark roasted but you can make your espresso from whatever beans you like the best.)
8 oz Milk (I prefer fat-free)
Sugar (if you are so inclined)

update: I should note here that my espresso pot makes a single 1-1/2 oz cup.

Application
1.Finely grind your beans following the grinder’s instructions. Really fine. As close to a powder as you can get it. Of course, if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can grind the beans at the store or buy espresso coffee that is pre-ground to the right texture, but grinding your beans yourself right before you make the espresso really is the best way.
2. Pack the coffee into the basket of your espresso pot and fire up your stove, making the espresso as per the pot’s instructions.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat up your milk to (up to 155°, don’t go any higher or it tastes scalded). When it’s at your desired temp (mine is 140°-145°) give it a little whirl with the frother.
4. Make your latte by layering everything into a tall (16 oz) coffee mug in this order: sugar, espresso, milk.

Yum!

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There are No Coffee Filters

About a year and a half ago, I bought one of those giant-sized bags of coffee filters at Costco. I think there were something like 500 in the package. I remember feeling pleased that it would be a long time before I had to even consider buying coffee filters again. I also remember a vague idea that I might become so accustomed to having coffee filters in the house that I’d probably forget to buy them when we finally ran out.

A couple of days ago, I said to myself, “gee, we’re running low on coffee filters. I guess I’ll need to dig some more out of the back of the cabinet.” Of course, I didn’t do it right away and I got distracted and I forgot about it completely. This morning, the children woke early (and I stayed up late). I put the TV on for them and stumbled into the kitchen to make a pot of Motivation. Filters? None. That’s fine, I’ll just climb up on this chair and dig them out of the back of the top-shelf cabinet. Shove the cookbooks out of the way, move all the rolls of aluminum foil (why do I have so many rolls of aluminium foil?), shove the cookbooks back to the other side, and start to feel frantic. How can we not have filters? I bought that huge thing. Where could they be?

Then realization began to set in. I’ve been awake for an hour. I’ve tossed all the cabinets my kitchen. There are no coffee filters in the house. We finally ran out and I had become accustomed to having them in the house, neglecting to purchase any more.

I have not had my morning coffee. This day is not going well.