So, you like many others, enjoy a cup of instant coffee in the morning, and of course by this we mean: Under no circumstances do most people attempt to leave the house without one!
You don't hate it, nor love it, the jar, and more commonly these days, the tin with words like “Barista” or “Premium Roast” printed on it are at their best, nothing to write home about... I know for most of my adult life, I have wanted a real coffee machine, one that makes real coffee, from actual coffee, not coffee flavoured powder or granules with a bit of caffeine thrown in for good measure, the real deal. I think many, not all people, have also thought about how great it would be to be able to enjoy a real cappuccino or espresso at home for breakfast, lunch, dinner and every moment in between.
And don't worry, I'll get to the Carezza in a minute...
But then, like me, you find yourself standing in a cafe watching a barista prepare your cappuccino, with steam cascading from the machine which has a control panel stolen from a science fiction novel and sounds like a heavy steam locomotive heading down the mainline, you quietly think to yourself, “It's probably not for me, I'd never get the hang of all that”.
Bring on the Carezza. The Carezza in my mind, is designed for the person who is not sure how to approach a “Real” espresso machine, let alone enter the building It's in! The Carezza has been made in a way so that a person with no idea what they're doing can still make a reasonable brew and then some, with little to no practice, just a little read through the manual before hand. So, you ask, How is this possible?
First off, It's not magic (unfortunately), just like it says on a box of nicotine patches, will power is required, like anything else in life. But a significantly smaller amount than what it takes to use say, a La Pavoni lever machine and believe me, as a beginner, you don't want to know.
The Carezza uses a pressurized basket system which takes a lot of the hassle and practice out of pulling a shot of espresso. The flow of water through the ground coffee is regulated by the pressurized filter basket, what this means for you is the only steps required to make an espresso are to remove the portafilter from the Carezza, pour some ground coffee into the basket, level off the grounds with your finger and lock the portafilter into the machine, then press a button. The machine will do the rest. The Carezza also has a steam wand with a “Panarello” attachment, this type of steam wand is suited for people who have not taken the time to learn about the ins and outs of frothing milk perfectly while keeping the results to a high standard.
Of coarse I have to address the title as I'm sure some reading this are shouting at the screen “It's Not Real Espresso!”, Frankly, the truth depends on who you ask. I can agree that pressurized baskets are not the pinnacle of pure espresso as they do have draw backs, and other things such as the “pressure Gauge” on the Carezza which really means nothing as it has no reference to measure anything, it just go's up and down when the machine is on!? But for a person who has been drinking instant all their life, I'm sure that even the purest espresso enthusiasts will agree that a shot of espresso from the Carezza is infinitely superior and more refined than one that began inside of a jar or tin!
Of coarse if you feel you have what it takes (Which you do!) to handle a real, Real Espresso machine, then there's the Gaggia Classic, The Classic uses cast brass portafilters like what you find in a cafe and no pressurized baskets in sight. Or if you have the budget, the Rancilio Silvia is a very nice machine too. There is also the Quick Mill – Model 0820 which in my opinion, is rather under appreciated as a starter machine! Worth noting is the small size of the 0820, which makes it very easy to hide from your family once you have given up!
Jokes aside, the 0820 is a rather nice machine for the money as is the Classic and Silvia, my advise is look at your budget and what might look nice in your kitchen.
Anyway, at the end of the day, if I only manage to convert one person from the jar over to the Dark side(Genuine espresso that is), then this blog has been worth while. For the next one, I think we'll look at the differences between the various machines on offer from Gaggia, breaking them down to see what's behind the Marketing and buzz words. Let us know if you have any questions, requests or suggestions for us, and we hope to see you over at homecoffeemachines.ie sometime soon.