I’ve never really liked coffee, but started drinking it even more when we first got married, and I would sit up late with my husband while he was studying for the flight school. Then my mother-in-law got me my first-of-many espresso machines in 1999, and I got hooked for lattes.
Finding the best espresso machine can be difficult..
For some reason coffee makers and me don’t go well together, and we’ve had at least 10 coffee/espresso makers over the years ranging from expensive semi-automatic ones that grind the beans to simple cheap drip coffee makers, ranging from 20 bucks to over thousand dollars in price. When we moved from New York, I carried both my Tassimo home brewing system and a Breville espresso machine to Goodwill and was ready for a change even in my daily coffee.
Tassimo – the pods just don’t do it for me, and the Breville espresso machine that I got from Williams-Sonoma was even worse than the cheap ones from Walmart – it worked well only every fourth time and was way too loud. The best espresso machine I’ve ever had is the DeLonghi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, but I just didn’t have heart to spend the money again once mine broke after several years of use. I should have though – it’s worth the money.
Enjoy coffee like the Europeans do
Once we got to Sweden I visited every single store in Linköping that I imagined selling espresso machines. The super-automatic ones are big here. Most espresso machines I found looked like my old DeLonghi – a large chunk of a machine, and frankly after having two sitting in my counter in New York, I wanted something more beautiful, but I guess Francis Francis-type of gorgeous vintage looking espresso machines are not big in Sweden, because I could not find one anywhere.
Swedes enjoy fika. Fika is more than just enjoying a cup of coffee, kaffe, it’s having a coffee break. Swedes take having fika very seriously, in fact it’s a law that employers have to offer fikapaus, coffee breaks, for the employees, and many employers offer the coffee for free to keep everyone happy. My husband said their automatic espresso machine at work broke – and a repair man was called in immediately, and the machine was fixed by the end of the day.
It’s very similar to many other European countries as well, and you don’t see people driving in their cars drinking coffee on the go, in fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a drive-through coffee shop in Europe, and any self-respecting cafes do not serve coffee on-the-go.
Coffee is something to be enjoyed, you sit down and chat with a friend, or you eat a little cookie, macaroon, biscotti or a cinnamon bun with it. Not having my Venti lattes on-the-go has been an adjustment for sure – not just that I can’t have the coffee on-the-go, but also the 20 oz. size is unheard of. But finding good coffee isn’t difficult. When we were on our road trip in Italy – even the gas stations had amazing espresso bars serving better cappucinos than many coffee shops of New York City. Small cups, and not to be taken in a disposable cup for the ride, but good freshly-grounded-brewed-with-large-shiny-Italian-espresso-machine coffee.
While I prefer a big mug, and lots of milk, and yes, cinnamon buns with my coffee like in Sweden and Finland, but it was in Italy where I found my new espresso machine. I had the best coffee in our hotel suite in Venice and we made it ourselves. But that’s another story.
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