Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Cafe con leche

So I noticed at some place I was at that they had these remarkably cheap little gadgets they called "stovetop espresso makers." You put water in the bottom and coffee in the middle, heat them up, and when the water boils it's forced up through the grounds--sort of like an inverted percolator. After doing a bit of research, I found that coffee snobs now call these "Moka pots," after the original model which dates back to the 1930s, and don't consider them "true" espresso machines, which force hot (but not boiling) water through grounds using a pump. As it turns out, though, while espresso machines date back to 1901, pump espresso machines only date back to the 1940s--from World War II back, the machines used a steam system very much like these stovetop makers (which appears to be somewhat better than the steam system used on low-end modern espresso machines, ironically). And when I read that these "moka pots" are the classic way to make cafe con leche, I couldn't resist.

Yesterday I found a dirt-cheap "3 cup" model--in this case, "cups" refer to demitasse cups, slightly under two ounces! You use slightly more ground coffee than you'd use to make a 12-ounce mug of normal coffee, though. After fiddling around with it for a while last night, this morning I made a good con leche: a "full" pot of the espresso using some of the Costa Rican coffee I roasted a couple days ago, and while it's heating, six ounces of milk in the microwave. Whip the milk a bit with a fork to get some froth. Then add a little too much sugar to a mug (which for me is about 2-3 teaspoons, as I'm not much of a sweet tooth), pour in the espresso and the milk.

Now, off to shower and possibly to head out north to visit the "Mountain Play" in Marin County, which I'm going to be bidding on a website design for (apparently with dozens of other people). I decided to blow off MacWorld completely this year; between a floor pass and either rail transport up the peninsula or parking charges if I drive, it'd be around $50, and that's $50 I don't have. (That's a lot more than I paid for the stovetop espresso maker, and I get to keep it for years.) I'm sorry to have missed Tacit and to have missed trying to connive the Bare Bones Software people out of a T-shirt, but I've been using my time to apply for various jobs and to contemplate--as yet with few ideas--how better to promote my consulting business. I suspect the real answer is to get comfortable doing what I'm traditionally quite uncomfortable doing--figuring out who to cold call and contacting them directly. But that's a topic for another time.

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