Making Espresso at Home and This Weeks Eats 2.8.14

A few weeks ago, I was on one of my (almost weekly) trips to Target and happened upon a Nespresso demonstration.  It was pretty tasty, so I became intrigued and did a little research.  I've never done the pod coffee thing because I like pretty strong coffee and those things just don't cut it, no matter how strong of a roast.  It's still too watery for me.  But a pod espresso maker?  Hmmmm...  In the end I thought that the machine was just too expensive, wasteful with all those cups and I wouldn't be able to buy Starbucks Espressso Roast (you have to buy Nespresso brand coffee pods only).  I figured I'd get a cheap espresso machine and see how I fared; you can get one for $40 at Target!  Brewing espresso always seemed like such a mystery to me and I was a bit intimidated by the process (cue the laughter of my born and bred Seattle friends).  Here's a little step by step with pictures that I wish I had when debating whether to take the plunge on a machine.  Spoiler: it's really easy and is pretty much like setting up a regular coffee machine, without having to buy filters!  Bonus!

  • First off, buy some espresso ground coffee or grind your own beans down a little bit more fine than drip coffee.
  • Your machine should have a little metal basket filter with level indicators for 2 or 4 shots.  Start adding grounds to the basket.
  • Tamp the grounds down gently as you go, don't pack it in.
  • Wipe any excess from the rim so that it gets a good seal in the machine.

  • Place basket in the porta filter - the thingy with the handle.
  • Line the notches on the filter up with the machine and turn until it tightens.  I suggest fiddling with it before putting the grounds in to get used to how it feels/works.
  • Fill the reservoir with the corresponding amount of water to grounds in the basket and then put the empty pot under the filter.
  • After you screw on the reservoir top tightly, go ahead and turn that sucker on!

  • Mmmmm, strong sweet espresssssssso.
  • Once it gets close to your desired amount of coffee, hurry up and turn it to steam if you are making a latte.  If you're doing an Americano, just add some hot water and yer done.
  • Take your cup of milk with any flavor syrup added (I am a devout follower of 2 pumps Starbucks Toffee Nut and I fill about 1/3 of my mug with milk) and place the steam wand just under the surface of the milk to froth it.  Clearly this is not a top-o-the-line machine and I'm not making pretty foam that could support leaf patterns and whatnot here.  But it gets the job done.
  • Pour in your espresso and voila! 

This week has been, to put it mildly, craptastic.  Lots of craziness and stress kept us from having the time or the inclination to make dinner, including a nice little Saturday night trip to ER for my boy.  He's totally fine, but he scared us with some acute tummy pain.  And, well, we're a little cautious when it comes to his innards after this summer.  So we're doing a bunch of repeats from last week.  Wah.  
Also, a big thumbs up for the chili recipe we tried over Superbowl Sunday - I halved the recipe and there was plenty for us, as well as leftovers.  If you end up loving any of my recipes, or some you’ve cooked, you can make your own recipe book on Shutterfly. You can store all of your family favorites in there!

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


  1. Oh no, so sorry about the rough week and the ER visit! We haven't had to make one of those yet. Hope this week is much better!

  2. Sorry to hear about your rough week. Hope your son is feeling better! Your week of meals looks sooo delicious. I will have to check out that sesame chicken recipe!

  3. I learned how to use an expresso machine this summer, and I've been in love with cappuccinos ever since!