Thursday, October 21, 2010
Israel and I had bought some Cuban espresso at the store a few weeks before because we were so excited. This particular brand costs only a couple of dollars! I ran just pure water through the first time, to rinse the machine out. The thing that the manual repeatedly said in ALL CAPS was to first release pressure from the steamer before taking off the boiler cap, or it might explode and burn you.
I held a cool pitcher of water beneath it, as the manual instructs to do, and waited for a few minutes before the steam started to come out. When it finally did, I thought a demon had taken hold of our machine because it literally drank all the water in the pitcher and wouldn't stop steaming.
Too scared to touch it again, I left it alone on the floor in the corner for a couple weeks. We were at Israel's grandma's house the other night for dinner, and his grandma showed me how she makes a Cuban espresso. It was a very fascinating process! The way most Cubans make it, is to hold a mug under where the espresso will drip just to catch the first few drops, then quickly switch it out with a regular pitcher. She then took the mug and started stirring the espresso very vigorously with about 4 spoonfuls of sugar already in the mug. This produces the foam at the top of the espresso, which she then steamed.
Although the steamer on our machine is a bit touchy, Israel and I tried this technique the other night and made our first cafe con leche (coffee with milk) together. The process is similar to what his grandma did-- we just added the rest of the espresso and some milk to the mixture and stirred. This makes for a very sweet and highly caffeinated boost! Israel grew up drinking this and eating un tostada (toast) every morning for breakfast. Although I'm still drink American coffee, I can see this becoming another fun tradition in the morning. :)