Thursday, August 13, 2009

European Living - The Espresso

Wikipedia defines espresso:

Caffè espresso
, [1] is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee.

Coffee is a VERY large part of the Portuguese culture. However, not the type of coffee you may be thinking of.

Traditionally, Americans like to drink coffee brewed by drip machines and we're often seen running out the door in the mornings carrying one of these in our hands...

The difference is that "American Style" coffee is extremely watered down compared to coffee commonly found in Europe. It lacks both the flavor and 'caffeine high' one receives from drinking an 'espresso'.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial on "How to make an espresso". Which is simply called café in Portuguese. (Pronounced the same as in English, only with emphasis on the 'e')

This is my espresso maker. The wand on the left side steams milk to make cappuccinos.

I put the coffee grounds into the filter located at the end of the 'handle'. I use about as much grounds as an average American would use to make 3 or 4 cups of coffee.

Attach the 'handle' by screwing it onto the maker and forming a good seal. Push the brew button....

And brews directly into a small espresso cup. This machine has the ability to make two espressos at once. Notice the two streams of coffee.

And the finished result is a fresh, flavor packed cup of steaming hot caffeine!!

Café shops are found on every street corner and oftentimes 3 or 4 in between. One has the ability to stop for a café after entering a grocery store, hardware store, mall, well.... just about any public place you'll be able to buy a café for about 80 cents. It just takes a minute to brew one, and even less time to drink one. Two or three sips and it's gone....but the flavor remains in your mouth for quite a while. When dining out, oftentimes your meal will come with a free café that you enjoy as dessert.

I've decide that's why everyone is so skinny over here. They don't have Krispy Kreme's and fast food restaurants on every corner, but rather "caffeine shops" where thy find the energy to talk 80 mph and drive even faster! (Portuguese drivers are considered the worst in all of Europe.)

I fit right in.


Becka said...

Why ? did you have to go & do that ,Im here in Ga,drinking my morning coffee thinking of school work,shop,helping rhonda move,groc store,ALL in the same day.
I sure would like one of those this morning.....
how many do you drink a day ????

you dont have to answer that !!lol
love ya girl :D.

Jill said...

Yea, I'm kind of curious. How many DO you drink in one day? And do you function on a daily (all day long) caffeine high?

Nina in Portugal said...

Well, ladies..since I'm so transparent and have nothing to hide....I usually drink about 4 in a day. Two in the morning, one mid day and one after supper. (Sometimes more, sometimes less...but 4 is a good average)

So, Ms. Jill...I guess I do function on a caffeine high most days.

Dani Joy said...

Love it! love it ! Love it!!! I want one!!! Coming over right now!! you make a mean CAFE Nina! I just loved that when we first got there you got me one brewin and there we sat chattin and drinkin European style but speaking English in very loud excited tones. I will never forget it! You all are so fun! And that´s why God called you to Portugal to be closer to us! jeje

I think you are right about the coffee and the talking and driving 80mph! so funny!

Big hugs!!

Amrita said...

I love aspresso, but have to buy it. Don 't have the machine.

Its milky and sweet here.

Mom said...

Where do I begin.. Nina didnt get her caffeine habit from me. Bless Grandma's heart... this was a special time between her and Nina when she so lovingly tought Nina "how to drink coffee". With 3/4 cup milk and the rest coffee.
What a beast she has turned into! Yes I can testify that Nina loves her caffeine. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening... how DOES she sleep? I dont know that the caffeine has much to do with the fact that she can talk 90 miles an hour but Im sure it helps. And as for the driving habit? Yes, she fits right in with the driving also. She drove that way in the states but now she dosent get tickets! Caffeine, fast talk, fast drive, fast walk. Yes thats my daughter, better get out of her way.
AHHHH yes, Grandma is well pleased.

Starla said...

Very interesting. I don't like American coffee it is nasty!

Betty said...

This is coming on my Christmas wish list. Looks divine!!

Amber said...

lol. Wow - no wonder you have such a sense of humor - you're full of espresso!!! :) You should see Heather on NORMAL coffee - she gets so silly. :):) I like an occasional cup, but I can count on one hand the number of FULL cups I've finished in one setting, and none of them were espresso.

I can't imagine a nation full of people who are constantly on a caffeine high. Whew!!!! :):):):)

...So you got the espresso-maker in Portugal, right? How soon after arriving? :)

TCKK said...

I think it looks so good, but unfortunately I hate the taste of coffee. I could sure use the caffeine though! -Cathy

Pilar said...

When i was living in the States my sister got some spanish coffee sent from the States. Some of the young american guys happened to be there at her house, they wanted some spanish coffee but they wanted a big cup. We warned them but... they wanted what they wanted. It was soooo funny, they were shaking so bad afterwards :) hahahah.

Janice: AKA Nanny said...

I love a good cup of coffee too, as you already know. I am looking forward to our first cup when we come in December. Michael leads me to believe that I will need it for warmth as well. Can't wait.

God's Been Good said...

Hey, Mrs. Nina, Just wanted to stop over and tell you that I have awarded you a blog award! Congrats! So, you are addicted to coffee? I am afraid I love Diet Coke! Caffine, yeah!!!!


The Webbs said...

I love expresso too! I actually love Cafe' Mochas!! They are the BEST! Wish I had one of those machines! At home, I just fix my flavored coffee and have 2 cups every morning. Now, I've often thought of having one later in the day. It is so addicting. Also, love the new faucet!!

Love You!

The Hat Chick said...

After my first child was born, Big Daddy gave me diamond earrings. When my sister-in-law's first child was born, her husband gave her a espresso/cappuccino maker that also washes the dishes (okay not really, but it's a fain-cy machine). Her coffee maker cost more than my earrings and I think the caffeine is more useful to her in these first few months of new motherhood than my earrings were to me at that time.

p.s. I've been gone too long. It's been good to catch up. I've missed reading about your adventures.

The Sommer Family said...

Hello Nina,
I just found your blog through Rita Vernoy's Jungle Hut. My husband and I are missionaries in Ghana, West Africa. I looked over your most recent blogs and enjoyed reading them! I especially enjoyed your husband's one on social networking. I showed it to my husband, and he agreed! In fact, he quit using facebook officially today. He felt like the article put into words exactly what he had been thinking for some time now! He just wanted me to tell you all thanks!
We hope the work is going well in Portugal!
Patty Sommer

Jungle Mom said...

We have one too! Can't live without it. My youngest daughter once asked me, in the US, why everyone drank 'drown' cafe that looked like dirty dishwater. She was used to espresso!

Nina in Portugal said...

Yes I got my maker here. But I was given one after just a few weeks of being here. It was a used one and soon quite working properly, so my Love bought me a new one last Aug. for my birthday. It recently needed some work so I had to take it to the shop. The thought of being without it for a few days made me panic...I'm not kidding. I was already calculating how much I'd need to fund my daily habit down at the neighborhood cafe....I've got it bad I'm telling you!! But PTL, I walked in the shop and out with it in about 15 minutes...turns out that after *extreme use* one needs to have the filter replaced! Imagine that?!

Hat Chick,
I'll agree, the caffeine would be more useful in the early months of new motherhood....but diamond earrings last longer!! I've wanted diamond studs forever!!

Have a great weekend ya'll!

Ana said...

Bica perfeita! :) We have a coffee machine both in Portugal and here in the UK, and they beat both hands down than any coffee shop here in the UK. (Costa, Starbucks and the like) A Portuguese always takes her coffee with her, everywhere. :) Lovely blog you have here. I love the insightful experiences of Portugal and the culture to all, that have never been there.