My coffee obsession has finally gotten the best of me.

After years of what I can only imagine to be thousands of dollars a year spent on coffee I’ve finally good a pretty good handle on what I like and somewhere along the line I became enough of a coffee snob to throw away coffee rather than drink it if its made really poorly.

I think because I enjoy coffee so much I’ve made it a point in my head to consider it a complicated thing, simply because there is so much variance in where you get it from.

There are a few places I visit religiously because I always know I’ll always get good coffee. Mars Cafe, Smokey Row, and Village Bean are all stellar examples of this in Des Moines. They are just consistent.

For years I’ve been pining over a good coffee machine. A friend bought me a little espresso maker a few years ago and after 2 hours of cleaning the damn thing it just never appealed to me to use it vs. go get a latte from down the street.

As most of my topical obsessions often turn into a curiosity about how things are made I’m not sure why it took me so long to do this. I finally broke down and bought myself a real coffee machine.

Something where I can grind the beans, steam the milk, and measure the output / input of the different variables.

It’s worth noting that I did this 4-5 years ago when I brewed my own beer for a while. However, the separation of 3-4 months from my brew before I got to enjoy the work I put into it… Was a bit much for me. I brewed a few batches, switched to wine, and realized that I was more than willing to pay for the commercial expertise to get me a good Hefeweizen, rather than explain to my girlfriend once a week that a gun didn’t just go off in the garage, I just need a new airlock on the fermenter.

What I ended up finding after a few trials of making a few good cups of coffee is it’s really not that hard if you pay attention to what you’re doing. The variables really become:

  • How much milk (what kind)
  • How much espresso
  • Temperature
  • Good equipment which is kept clean
  • Timing

I feel like I could throw more things into the mix to trivialize it but for my own purposes getting to a good latte wasn’t more complicated than finding that I like about 1 oz of espresso for every 3.5 oz of milk.