By Julia Schnabel

I am sad to say my morals have slipped. You, my former co-workers at Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup, will be very disappointed in me. I have committed the unforgivable, unpardonable sin. I have lowered my coffee drinking standards considerably. I have been driven to drink unfit espresso, unfit for even the lowest of the lowly. And the sad fact is, I am beginning to enjoy it. It gets worse...

I have abandoned freshly roasted coffee beans. I am now using espresso pods in my tiny, underpowered home espresso machine! I am so ashamed, and after all I learned working in the specialty coffee industry for three years... Maybe I should join AA—or should I say EA, (Espresso Anonymous)! I miss the gleaming Bellissimo office espresso machine and the perfect cappuccinos I prepared on it every day. And the coffee beans I had access to! Oh, why did I take it all for granted? I became a coffee snob! But alas, that has changed.

Now that you know the truth about me, allow me to present my pathetic case that drove me to this point of desperation:

  • There is no place in my neighborhood to get a perfect cappuccino and my new office does not have an espresso machine.
  • I own a cheap home machine.
  • I experimented for many weeks on my home machine using the techniques carefully taught to me in the Bellissimo video "Espresso 101." I adjusted the grind a 1000 different ways. I tamped using a lot of pressure, I even tried tamping using no pressure at all! I tried myriad roasts—all to no avail. Conclusion: you can't make good espresso at home on a cheap espresso machine!
  • I then said to myself, "But I so enjoy the creamy cappuccino and the fond memories that little white cup holds. I have to do something..."
  • Thus the pod.
  • Why the pod you ask? Because it is readily available, and yes, I confess, I like having no mess!

My only consolation for my behavior comes from exercise, making myself ride my bike eight miles to get my pods. In fact, just today, as I was riding back with a box of pods hanging from my handlebars, my mind flashed back to the good old days with my hard-core drinking buddies at Bellissimo. Believe me, it's hard being out here on the streets with no real espresso machine within my grasp.

Maybe someday I'll return to my beloved specialty coffee industry, but until then, I shall join the fight for the cause of the home espresso consumer. Better yet, I'll start an organization for the Improvement of the Home Espresso Machine. My mission: to test and rate every home machine on the market. The next step will be to create an affordable machine for the home that will enable the home consumer to maintain the high standard of espresso excellence as expressed by Dr. Illy and the respect due to the coffee growers around the world as shown in the Bellissimo video "The Passionate Harvest."

I know it's hard for you to understand my need to take such extreme measures. Again, I beg your forgiveness for breaking the cardinal rule of the most precious commodity on this earth.

Your former partner in specialty coffee,


What's Brewin' | Virtual Gallery | Feature Articles | Archives