Skip to content

Coffee time

March 29, 2010

I’ve become interested in tea the past few years but still love a good cup of coffee, especially in the morning. Kind of like wine, I’m by no means a snob about it, it’s just not worth it to me to drink a mediocre cup. Espresso is my drug of choice. In Italy, ‘un cafe’, is a ritual and the pot it is made in, ‘la caffetiera’, is a prized possession. Unlike some things, the older and more used ones’ pot is the better. I learned that you never drink the first several batches made from a new pot and really, until the exterior is looking pretty poor, is the coffee that comes out of it any good. I have been back state side for almost 13 years and I still don’t own anything other than my percolator pots. I use my one or two cupper and add a shot to warmed milk in the morning. The motherload 20-cup-pot I picked up for 5 bucks at a rummage sale still needs to be seasoned but that would mean pounds of coffee pored down the drain and I’m too frugal for that so it is a conversation piece in my kitchen and conversation is part of the ritual of having coffee no matter where you are.


I never get that shaky feeling from espresso that I get from a cup of american brewed coffee so I Googled “espresso less jitters” and found this response among many. ‘Roasting coffee to a darker level burns off caffeine, the brewing process is the key to the reduction (of the jitters from coffee)’. And this NPR story explains quite a bit about caffeine but this blurb stood out to me “arabica beans have half the caffeine of robusto beans.” I’ve noticed that most espresso ‘bricks’ say 100% arabica or miscela (mixed). Some facts from the Mayo Clinic website on the number of milligrams of caffeine in some common beveridges also explain why I handle espresso better than brewed coffee.

Plain brewed coffee, 8 oz. 135
Espresso, 1 oz. 30-50

A brick of coffee.

Pricey Illy Cafe. I keep my Cafe Bustelo in this tin.

While traveling in the former Yugoslavia I had “Turkish” coffee and I wasn’t a fan, I think I didn’t get that you have to stop short of getting the gritty grounds in your mouth. I’ve tried a French press pot and could take it or leave it but today I was treated to an espresso made with the pod system Nespresso le cube and it was good. So good that even I might consider getting myself one.

Fill bottom of pot to just below the pressure valve.

Mound coffee in filter. Close top and put on stove. You’ll know when it is done.

I will add a photo of a gorgeous capuccino from Fiumicino airport in Rome, when I’m home! promise it will be worth the wait.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Sally E. permalink
    March 29, 2010 8:51 am

    Amy: What great information. I LOVE coffee, but am sensitive to the caffeen. Who would think I should be drinking espresso (100% arabica only!).

    Thanks so much for the info. I’m loving your blog, and look forward to getting it!


    • March 29, 2010 11:45 am

      Hey Sal, So glad you are enjoying the blog. You shoud try espresso and see how you feel. I can’t stand the coffee shakes. Amy

  2. March 29, 2010 9:11 am

    I’ve been so curious about those pots! I have an espresso maker that sits in storage because, well, it’s unreliable, but I may need to get myself one of these…

    • March 29, 2010 11:48 am

      Mara-they are fairly inexpensive and you don’t have to by the pricey Bialetti brand to get good resiults. Amy

  3. Stella permalink
    March 29, 2010 9:31 am

    Hi Amy,
    I also enjoy my coffee made in this pot. I had mine for a few years. 2 questions: where do you get a replacement plastic ring that goes inside the pot, and where do you buy ” Cafe Bustelo” I hate paying $14.00 for the Illy.

    • March 29, 2010 11:51 am

      Yo Stella, Bari foods carry the rubber washers but I have a few at home so don’t buy one. I get my coffee at Sunset foods, it’s under $4 a brick. Amy

      • brc permalink
        March 29, 2010 10:12 pm

        As you know we make our coffee the same way as you do with our trusty cafetera. Our original pot came from Spain, then we realized we could get the same thing (even better) at Bed, Bath and Beyond for less money.

        Ironically, we also have been drinking Cafe Bustelo for YEARS. They carry it at Jewel and they recently had a sale on the bricks for $2.29. I bought almost 15 of them as I have never seen it that cheap and we go through about one brick a week. The regular price at Sunset is around $3.89 and it’s normally even higher at Jewel.

        Like Italy, coffee in Spain is truly part of the culture. First thing in the morning, mid-morning coffee break around 10 then late afternoon post-lunch coffee break (they take a LOT of breaks in Southern Spain) around 6pm. It made me so sad to see that they have opened several Starbucks in Seville. I mean with the amazing coffee they have in every little bar and restaurant there, why on earth would they need a Starbucks?

        Anyway, can’t wait to see your coffee photo!

  4. Mia permalink
    March 30, 2010 1:38 am

    Husband had one of these coffeemakers, but didn’t know what it was. I didn’t either, and since I was moving all my stuff into his kitchen, it got thrown out. LOVE Cafe Bustelo… I’ve heard in Miami you can buy it in a cold beverage form? Loving your blog. Tkx for the NPR link – very interesting

  5. Linnea permalink
    April 2, 2010 9:58 am

    Amy – am LOVING your blog! Today I was drawn here because of your spinach, egg, cheese, mushroom breakfast (what a shame I didn’t see earlier in the morning but I could always make for lunch, eh?!)

    Thanks for this coffee time piece. I’ve always wondered how to use those pots; I drink coffee now and again but prefer an expresso; so am glad to see the difference in the caffeine content. Always wondered, too, how to use those caffetiera’s; besides the benefit of a better end product it seems they are very space efficient (I’d love to get that coffee pot off my kitchen counter). When I buy the pot, maybe you’ll show me how to brew?
    Keep it comin! I love your writing!

  6. Jessica permalink
    April 3, 2010 9:56 pm

    Not a big coffee drinker, but I was intrigued by the write-up here. Got really excited when I saw reasonably-priced espresso (from Italy!) @ Trader Joe’s. (Shopping-for-caffeine buzz?!)

    Don’t have the pot yet. Will have to see about getting one soon. Thanks for keeping it fun and interesting.

    • April 4, 2010 10:25 am

      Hey Jeasica,
      The ground espresso I use can be found at Sunset or most grocery stores and I think it is from Spain. I learned of it from the Cintados. Previously I had been a Lavazza fan whic is from Italy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: