I gave up using disposable coffee cups this year. I’ve only used eight TOTAL for 2019, seven of which were from miscommunications at cafés, where they either forgot or didn’t hear that I wanted a drink “to stay.” To be honest, I LOVE it and it’s really been such a positive experience beyond the direct sustainability issue. For starters, it’s spilled over into the rest of my life. By making that ONE choice, I’m actually better with even more elements of my life. And then there’s the fact that it has forced me to be more conscientious about my coffee consumption. I can’t just pop into a café and walk out with a cup that I mindlessly chug and then toss. With my reusable thermos (I mostly use this Yeti), I have to plan ahead and think about when/how I get it and it allows me to savor it more too. And when I want a nice treat like a cappuccino or iced latte, I have to plan to go to a coffee shop to either sit and read or sit and work.
I have been dying for an espresso maker. Like, a real espresso maker. I used my thirtieth birthday as an excuse to splurge on one. A consumer-level espresso machine can go well into the thousands. I wasn’t willing to make that much of an investment, so I started to do my research for a more affordable option that still had all the bells and whistles that I was looking for. There are many directions you can go in when it comes to espresso but ultimately I landed on the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Maker. Between the features, the stellar reviews, and the price point (it’s on sale right now!), I felt like it was the best play for me.
I couldn’t love this little guy more.
It has a very small footprint, making it the perfect addition to our “coffee corner” in our kitchen and it looks legit without actually being super aggressive or intimidating. The machine can brew single or double shots, has an arm for steaming milk (that self-purges which is the most exciting part, ha!), and three heat settings.
It is incredibly easy to use and the espresso tastes so great. I’m not a snob about my coffee (like, I do not care about measuring beans on a scale or whatever), but these shots end up tasting like I put a lot more effort into it than I do. The only thing that actually requires work? The latte art. (It’s hard!)
You do need a burr grinder for the espresso if you’re doing fresh whole beans, which you’re “supposed to” do. Although let me just say, I will not judge you if you don’t. I skipped the more expensive Breville one that matches the Bambino machine and went with this much more affordable one. After grinding your beans, choose between a single or double-shot basket and pop it into the portafilter. Tamp down on the grinds– very satisfying! Twist the portafilter into the machine. Select between single or double shots. And bam! You’re in business.
Even though I got it specifically so I could make my own cappuccinos at home, I’ve mostly been doing a double shot of espresso to sip on. Sometimes I’ll do a little splash of milk, but mostly I just do the shot. If I close my eyes and sit back to relax, it almost feels like I’m at a little corner café in Paris.
I still walk into town to sit at a café to get some work done and I’ll enjoy my afternoon cappuccino there. It’s nice though to have the option to not leave my house. We’ve also loved it when friends come over! It feels so official to offer and then enjoy after-dinner espressos.
I wanted to get some official-looking cups for the shots and drinks. I went with these in the 10.5 and 4.63-ounce versions. And then found cute matte latte cups from Anthropologie, which are apparently sold out. Though, they’re still available in the full-size tumbler.
I cannot recommend this enough. My only regret is that it took so long to get one. I definitely could have made this work in an apartment because it’s so compact. Yes, it’s a little bit of an investment, but if you enjoy espresso drinks frequently, I think it’s worth it.