At_the start of the year, I did not drink coffee. However one day I accompanied Alan to Vellanero in Clarence Street, Sydney and I ordered a coffee. It was too good. Vellanero is where and how my coffee addiction started.
The cost of my addiction - I have realised I cannot spend $3.50 each day on coffee. It does not sound too bad, but when you multiply the cost of one coffee by five and multiply the result by 48 working weeks, you end up spending $840 per year on coffee! That is 10 weeks of rent for me! (Yeah, my rent is cheap!)
How can I drink nice coffee on a budget?!
Well, here's one method, using a stove top espresso maker. This exact budget coffee method is how I was able to have a coffee a day (or five!) on my strained exchange student budget some years ago. I still occasionally pop into Vellanero for a barista prepared coffee....but not every day! Although I have to admit, I went there twice yesterday....!!! The coffee there is so good!
How to use a stove top espresso maker
Stuff you need
1. Stove top espresso maker (also known as moccha pot)
This stove top espresso maker was purchased for just $12 from Victoria's Basement. It is not the best quality - the lid no longer lines up with the base, the lid leaks coffee if you lift it up when making the coffee and the inside of the bottom part seems to be made of bad quality materials. But, it does the job...until you get sick of all the issues that come with it.
This is the maker I shall be using from now on. It is actually the one I used when I was a financially strained exchange student. Although I hadn't touched it for 4 years, it STILL works. I bought it from German Ikea. You can buy similar ones here in Australia for $35 for the 6 cup machine or $29 for the 3 cup machine. This maker seems to be made of better quality materials than the above mentioned one and if it still works after so much time of sitting in a cupboard, getting dusty, it cannot be too bad.
Stove top espresso makers come in many sizes. You can buy one, or you can buy a whole family for different coffee making occasions!
I_am currently using Vellanero's designer blend beans. The friendly staff at the shop will grind the beans for you. Just tell them you'll be using a stove top espresso maker, so they know how fine to grind them. 250g of beans set me back $12.50 and lasted me somewhere between 2-3 weeks. Alan purchased the signature blend the other week and describes coffee made with it as 'the best coffee ever'.
You can also buy ground beans from the supermarket.
3. Milk frother
To_froth the milk for your coffee, you can buy a milk frother. I bought this one from Myer for $15. Batteries were $6; nearly half the price of the milk frother! The milk frother is simply a battery powered whisk on the end of a stick. Very easy to use. I find milk frothed with this instrument is much more frothy than milk you would have in a cafe bought coffee. I need to work on my milk frothing skills.
Now you are ready to make coffee!
How to do it
STEP 1 - Set up your stove top espresso maker
The_espresso maker has three parts: a 'water tank', a 'filter' and the top.
Fill_the 'water tank' with water. The water level must be below the steam release valve (that golden round thing you can see inside the water tank). Here I have filled the 'water tank' half way, because I was making coffee for myself only. If I was making it for two people, I would fill it just below the steam release valve.
Place the filter on top of the 'water tank'.
Place ground coffee into the filter. The coffee should be spread evenly around the filter, but do not press it down (I say this because I did it once and the coffee took forever to brew!). I use two teaspoons of ground coffee for myself and if making it for two, I use three to four. Though, the amount you use will depend on how strong you like your coffee. Just try it out.
Screw the top onto the base. Do not screw it up too hard.
STEP 2 - Make the coffee
Place the espresso maker onto your stove. Place it onto a small hot plate. The espresso maker should be placed so that the handle is not directly above the hotplate - you do not want it to melt. If using gas, the fire should touch only the bottom of the espresso maker, not the sides!
Turn the hotplate on. I turn the hotplate onto 5/6 heat. After some minutes, you will hear gurgling and boiling. The water in the water tank will through the power of physics and science (I have no idea how it works), make coffee. Coffee will rise up from the bottom and release itself into the top part of the maker, as you may be able to see from the photo above.
I leave the maker on the hotplate until most of the water has risen into the top compartment. I check this by raising the lid. Once the water has risen into the top compartment, take the maker off the hotplate.
STEP 3 - Prepare your milk
You_could prepare your milk in a saucepan over the stove. I am too lazy to do that and I do not like doing more dishes than I need to do. Place milk into a cup so that it comes half way up the cup and place it into the microwave for one minute.
Round and round and round
When the milk is hot, froth it with the milk frother.
STEP 4 - Combine milk and coffee
Yeah, it's not the proper way of doing it, unless you're making latte macchiato (which no one seems to make in Australia!) but it is still coffee and it tastes great! You could make it 'properly' by pouring the coffee into the cup first and then adding the milk.
FYI - Latte macchiato is this:
Place very hot, frothed milk into a glass so that it comes half way up the sides. Slowly pour in espresso. the espresso should float' on top of the milk and you should get three layers; milk, espresso, milk froth. Very pretty!
That's all there is to it! I like this method of making coffee. It is cheap, quick, convenient and unlike a proper coffee machine, does not take up half my bench space in my tiny kitchen!
Speaking of coffee....
I recently acquired a pretty blue bike!
That has nothing to do with coffee....yes it does!
Me_all rugged up on Saturday morning and the pretty blue bike:) If you are interested in such a bike, you can buy one from Cell Bikes.
I did a 'typical' cyclist thing. I rode the bike 15km, I consumed a coffee (at Zokoko, Emu Heights) and then I rode home for 15km.
The_bike riding coffee:)
I hope you enjoyed this post:)
Disclaimer - I have no financial interest in any of the businesses mentioned in this blog post and did not receive any free stuff. I simply like to recommend things I like to others:)