Espresso Please. But Hold The Donut.

The rich, dark elixir of espresso is an amazing taste sensation. A little like drinking liquid caramels.

During my college-age years I was not a coffee drinker, which is unusual since I lived in Dunkin’ Donuts territory. I did eat donuts. Give me a cruller, a plain old-fashioned, a jelly-filled or a raised sugar and… 

Yikes, the mere thought of one of those unhealthy, fat-laden morsels and my mouth waters. I am extremely picky about donuts. No chocolate covered or sprinkled or glazed donuts for me. Just those basic Dunkin’ Donuts standbys, please

Some years back I toured Cornwall, England, with a music group and quickly learned that jelly-filled donuts were a bakery staple in that corner of the world. I was compelled to personally taste-test those amazing confections in every town we stopped in. Not one of my better ideas perhaps, but certainly not a distasteful one.

As a kid, there was a shop near our house with a donut machine in the window. We’d stand outside and watch the machine do its magic. Huge paddles mixed the dough and then a scooper grabbed rounded globs and dropped them into a vat of bubbling oil. When the clumps popped up and floated they were scooped onto a conveyor belt. Watching the line of donuts move up the belt always reminded me of the first hill on a roller coaster. When they reached the top they rolled down onto long flat racks. The aroma wafting through the vents was glorious.

Except for an occasional lapse in judgment, I rarely eat a donut nowadays. But I must admit, it’s takes incredible restraint to walk past the Dunkin’ Donuts display case in Boston's Logan airport and not succumb. Do you know how many Weight Watchers points for one of those donuts? (Gasp!)

But I’ve wandered off topic. This isn’t about donuts.

Like I said, I wasn’t always a coffee drinker. I made lousy coffee and preferred black tea. But I discovered cappuccinos one night when the restaurant we were at didn’t have anything in the chocolate category for dessert. It wasn’t quite as tasty as a piece of dark chocolate cake, but it satisfied. After that I made it my dessert choice, congratulating myself on my low-calorie treat while my dinner companions ate pie or cheesecake with whipped cream (I don’t like pie or cheesecake, so it wasn’t really a hardship.) Over time I tried other brewed drinks and began meeting friends for coffee. Thus I discovered mochas.

As the number of mochas I consumed crept higher, so did the numbers on my bathroom scale, so I cut back on the amount of chocolate and switched to non-fat milk. That helped, but eventually I ended up ordering small, NF lattes. The only chocolate, a skimpy dusting of cocoa powder on top. I also limited the number of coffees I drank a week. Alas, my coffee junkets were fewer and less tasty. I missed my coffee.

That all changed after a friend and I browsed Williams-Sonoma (love that store) the day an espresso company rep was passing out samples. The espresso samples were delicious. (Yes, I had more than one because I went back two days in a row.) The espresso machines were on sale and the company was offering a great promo on coffee packets. Surprise, surprise, I ended up buying myself a Nespresso Pixie. An Electric Red one that looks really great in my kitchen.

I used to think making espresso was complicated and messy. Not with this gadget. It’s easy enough that my almost 7-year-old granddaughter can do it.

I’m now enjoying a delicious coffee concoction every day. The rich, dark elixir of espresso is an amazing taste sensation. A little like drinking liquid caramels. But I’m not out at one of the local coffee hangouts anymore. Instead I’m at home reading the paper, catching up on email or doing odds-and-ends around the house while I sip. It’s so much more comfy on these cold, frosty mornings to stay in my pajamas than head outside.

I wonder. Am I becoming less social? Am I just being lazy? Am I saving money? The answers are not yet clear to me. Hmm… Let me fix myself an espresso while I ponder these questions.

In the meantime, I’m incredibly thankful there isn’t a Dunkin’ Donuts shop within a fifty-mile radius, and even more grateful that the store wasn’t having a sale that day on do-it-yourself donut making machines.

Joni Ratts February 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Oh, the imagination of possibilities.
Mary H February 13, 2012 at 06:16 PM
OK Joni, this is weird, the more I read your columns, the more I come to realize that I am either your clone or you are my twin! LoL I, too, am a caffeine addict and a huge fan of Nespresso!
Joni Ratts February 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM
I don't know about being a clone, but sharing our good tastes? Okay by me!
Claudia Cruz February 14, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I remember the first time I had a chai latte with a shot of espresso. That's become my go-to cup for when I don't want to kill my stomach with the acidity of coffee, but need it to get through a few more hours. I love chai and it's so comforting!
Joni Ratts February 14, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I've never tried that, but it's a great idea and I like tea. Thanks.


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