As with many other things in the food and beverage department, America has taken the European concept of coffee and taken it to the next level. And to a degree bested Europe. (As they did with Pizza...) With the help of Starbucks, who introduced Americans to Espresso drinks, many entrepreneurs were able to start their independent coffee shops and be very good at it without being part of a chain.
If you live in Calgary, you may be familiar with Phil & Sebastian, Fratello, Cafe Beano or others who brew excellent coffee and pull some of the best Espressos anywhere.
While you can find great coffee in Italy and great Cafes in France (think people watching in Paris), the actual coffee in France is not that good. Not sure why. But I've tried long and hard here in Jarnac and Cognac and realized early on that only my own equipment and great beans will make me happy in the morning.
Always considerate of local small business, I contacted a Torrefacteur (roaster) in Cognac if he would be interested in getting me the Espresso machine and grinder and after having waited for a couple of month without a reply and a final visit just to be told he had no time, I finally went online and did my own research where to get my set up from.
So that took another month, as it was incredibly challenging to make a distinction between some machines. As hard as buying a car I thought. But eventually a package from Germany that included all sorts of accessories won me over and the order was placed.
The people at www.imprezza.de were very helpful and one type of their coffee beans won me over as my current favorite for this machine. While some others (mostly the Osso Negro beans) were very good, the beans included in the shipment reminded me the most of a smooth Espresso in Italy.
Just in time for Christmas the boxes arrived at our door and we are now the proud owners of a Bezzera Mitica and a Mazzer Mini Grinder. It`s a step up from our days with a Starbucks machine back in Calgary.
I could hook up the Espresso machine to the water main, but want to wait until we install a softener, as water here is very hard and could calcificate the machine too fast. The grinder comes with an automatic doser, once programmed it grinds the same amount of coffee for a single or double every time.
I am happy, back in the habit drinking a couple of double Mochas or later on in the day a nice single shot Espresso with a bit of whipped cream.
Isabella gets her hot chocolate daily and Victoria is happy as well, drinking her Mocha for breakfast.
STARTING A MOCHA
STEAMER WORKS FAST
DOUBLE SHOT ESPRESSO
POURING THE HOT CHOCOLATE INTO THE DOUBLE ESPRESSO
PULLING A SINGLE SHOT
MY OTHER FAVORITE, ESPRESSO CON PANNA
PLAYING AROUND TO FIND THE BEST BEANS