Chronicles of a writer abroad

Say hello to my little friend


It’s not really my fault.

My desire to buy a working food processor has so far been frustrated — there are so few on offer. It seems that either the Swiss don’t really need to process their food, or (more likely) they have other means of doing it (could it be — gasp — that they do it all manually? My North American brain balks at this thought).

Instead of food processors, this country is rife stupid with espresso machines, like the one you see here. So we bought one.

Yes, you are correct that Stelian and I don’t usually drink coffee. But this makes me feel like I got more bang for my reimbursable-white-goods buck. It makes me feel more adult. It makes me feel more Swiss, too. Plus, even though we don’t drink coffee on the regular, we have a number of guests coming through who do. So, you can look forward to espresso on our patio. Say it with me: espresso al fresco!

But the machine had to be tested. Right? Right. The machine had to be tested. It came with a bunch of sample coffee capsules, and I made decaf coffee for us last night. We declared the machine to be working and the coffee to be good-tasting. But then, today, at the time that I usually make tea, the machine was kind of…looking at me. I reasoned that I hadn’t yet tested the normal coffee capsules.

There are reasons that I don’t drink coffee, including the fact that it tends to make me jittery and anxious. So, predictably, this afternoon after drinking the coffee I was unable to concentrate, yet feeling energetic to the point where I was googling marathons in Europe, and wanting to run them all. I then went for an overambitious run and completely exhausted myself and got a post-coffee headache.

So, our little friend here will have to run on decaf fuel until a more hardy specimen of person comes to visit. And Amsterdam, I will see you in October…but now that I’m off my coffee high, I think a half marathon will do.


13 thoughts on “Say hello to my little friend

  1. your friendly neighbourhood barista recommends that you put a splash of milk or water (or an ice cube if you want to drink your espresso straight away and it’s too hot otherwise) in your espresso cup before pulling the shot; espresso shots “die” 10 seconds after being pulled (ie, they go bitter and foul-tasting) but if they’re “saved” with milk or water within the 10 seconds the shot stays alive and delicious tasting 🙂

    • Thanks for the tip — I had never heard of this before. But alas, I have a lot to learn when it comes to coffee. Also, I think that a purist would hate this machine since it does use the little capsules instead of just straight coffee. But to me, it still tastes pretty good.

  2. Wow, Laura I never knew these things about espresso! But then, I don’t drink much of it either. Kristen, tell your little friend that Leah might want to fire up the caffeinated versions of your coffee tublet(s). When Heather (warning to machine: save your underemployed minutes) and I visit and I have no idea when that will be just yet, we will be delighted to have coffee with you. Also, the grounds make good compost for any plants that you may want to grow. The Portugese maintenance man at a previous church put the grounds on all the plants. This past Christmas, Keurig coffee makers were all the rage with purchaseable tubs that make individual cups of coffee. Some of them, for Ursula gave Lauren one, come pre-mixed as latte. Alas, by the time I arrived in Calgary (Dec 27th) all that was left was coffee, or as Isaiah at 3 yrs once called it, ‘foffee.’ He liked going for foffee and a fuffin when he visited the Nanas in Toronto. Thanks for a great post, so fun to play with expensed white goods. Love you!

  3. I cannot drink coffee, but I LOVE the smell. Your apartment is going to smell so amazing 🙂

  4. After I stopped laughing at a very funny posting (well done!), I picked up your intention to run in Amsterdam. That should be amazing. But back to your friend – apparently caffeine is the runner’s friend too.
    About a year ago, I started to enjoy a coffee before my run and I noticed that every run after a morning coffee was a better run than a run without it. So along with adding the wonderful aroma of coffee to your home and welcoming those of us who are coffee drinkers to a relaxing cup on your patio – your new friend just may become a training aid.
    Love Dad

  5. Coffee on the balcony…I’m looking forward to it already! Before physical exertion (like running, or helping friends move) I swear by coffee. The key for me is to get really well hydrated and then to have a strong coffee right beforehand. It definitely helps for hiking too.

    It’s funny how the anxiety induced by coffee helps some people (like me) concentrate and makes others completely unable to concentrate.

    • I must be a caffeine dud. I can drink either caf or non-caf and don’t feel any more energy. Mind you, I like my tea strong! When I crave a coffee is sometimes after exercise. Double dudhood 🙂

  6. When I first looked at your new kitchen aid, I wondered what it could be – something from outer space fit the bill. Paul would love it, since he has his own espresso maker but I’m afraid I just stick to the old fashioned drip machine on a timer, so I can walk directly to the kitchen for the wake-me-up mug! Boppy makes his own instant decaf from a bottle – a far cry from your wonderful machine 🙂

    I love all the comments about coffee from your loving family. Even the committed tea drinkers of a few years ago are moving across and those of us who are already coffee afficionados enjoy your caffeine adventures.

    • I confess to the full ownership of a bottle of Maxwell House instant, I don’t think Heather wants anything to do with that stuff.

  7. Pingback: Google-translating my way through expat life | Milchtoast

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