Foaming Isolation

Living in Occupied Corona-fornia, I’m still stuck at home with limited visibility outside the bars. The same bureaucrats who’ve spent the past year failing to find their asses with both hands and a cattle prod are telling us the future’s so bright we have to wear shackles. But the check is in the mail, they’ll call us, and they promise not to cough in our masks.

Meanwhile, on the border

Anyway, I bought another toy

I’ve mentioned that I’m not a milk drinker, keeping the stuff around mostly for cooking, and switching to UHT-preserved single servings over the past year to keep it from going bad on me.

But home-brewed coffee-based beverages don’t have a fraction of the calories and sugar that the street-corner pushers at Starbucks deliver, so, staring at a half-dozen best-before-really-soon UHT milk packs, I decided to give it a whirl.

The good news: the industry-standard allotment for cappuccino and macchiato-ish drinks is 100ml of milk (lattés at ~150ml), and that amount of whole milk only has about 60 k-cals, putting it in the range of my daily dose of liquid pie. Still something to keep a lid on, for the sake of my girlish figure, but not outrageous.

Nespresso has a new-customer offer with a 40% discount on their 4th-generation Aeroccino frother (the aptly-named code “NEW”, requiring a purchase of only 5 sleeves of coffee to go with), but they’re still selling the 3rd generation, and a lot of folks recommend much cheaper options from Miroco, Secura, or Bodum, or even the little stick frothers. But there’s also the pricy-but-excellent Breville Milk Cafe Frother, with induction heating and a full range of manual controls.

And then there’s the toy, Nespresso’s top-of-the-line Bluetooth-connected Barista Recipe Maker, which is of course what I bought. Induction heating, yes, and magnetic stirring for easy cleanup, but designed to be programmed from a smartphone, with coffee-as-a-service named settings rather than manual controls.

You will search in vain to find out exactly which settings do what to the liquids poured inside, at what temperature, and for how long. You manage a local cache of 13 recipes that can be selected from the front panel, which consist of a few numbered steps and some flavor text (literally). Planned future versions of the app will supposedly allow you to create your own recipe programs, but for now you’re limited to their overlapping set of 25, plus the also-overlapping set of 45 online, which usually reference one of the 13 default recipes to choose a setting.

The Original 13 also have glossy printed instructions in the accompanying manual, for non-app use. In eight languages, so now I know what a horká čokoláda is.

The app is a bit stale (full of references to coffees they don’t sell any more, and missing a lot that they do), and the instructions for some of the recipes are simply wrong. For instance, the app version of a Cortado has you pouring 100ml of foamed milk on top of a shot in an espresso cup (more than twice as much as will fit even before it’s foamed). The online version has you prepare the same amount of milk, but only use 20ml of the hot milk and two scoops of the foam, failing to mention that you’re making enough milk for two.

Some online recipes have you firing it up with as little as 60ml of milk, which is borderline; it won’t produce the same results with that little, and it may simply stop and insist you add more before it will continue.

It is widely reported to handle matcha well, and I happen to have a nice bag of not-Japanese-in-the-slightest matcha that I picked up at Costco recently, so I’ll give it a shot. So to speak.

So far, I like it. This morning’s 16 ounces of liquid pie gained a 100ml cap of capp foam, making my daily indulgence significantly more indulgent.

Clone Decapitation, Continued

I cracked four of the Gevalia incompostable pods into my Aeropress to see if the coffee was decent when it all actually went into the cup. Yeah, not so much. It took some work to pop the caps with a paring knife and extract the contents, and the lack of resistance when I pressed the coffee through a single filter told me it wasn’t an espresso grind, which explains why it’s pretty weak sauce. Verdict: they should have shipped their coffee to the same folks who pack Peet’s and Illy into compatible aluminum pods, rather than focusing on feel-good marketing compost.

In other news,

The Harris/Biden administration has turned Banned Books Week into a yearlong celebration. How long before people start digging up their guns to make room to hide their children’s books?

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