Review: My free Senseo

100_6480.JPGI signed up for a free coffee maker. (The promotion is over, sorry) Part of the deal is that I share the coffee with friends, and they’ll love it so much they’ll rush out and buy the $70 machine for themselves. Here’s my review. πŸ™‚

First off, I wish they’d have sent me a different color, but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s a pretty cool looking device, and it’s actually fun to use. The water reservoir holds enough water for 2 mugs of water, and it keeps it hot for instant coffee goodness. It’s super easy to use, and is very fast.

Basically, you make sure there’s water in it, and turn it on. In 90 seconds, it’s hot enough to brew a cup of water. It’ll keep the water hot for an hour and a half before auto shutting off. You then put a pod (or two, more on that later) into the filter area, and press the button. 30 seconds later, you have tasty looking, frothy coffee.

There are a few gotchas though. First off, the “pod” of coffee makes a teeny weeny cup of coffee. You know, one of those little dainty looking cups that comes with a set of plates, saucers, etc. No one ever uses those things, but that’s the size cup a pod makes. It’s sad. You can make a full mug of coffee, the size normal people drink, but it takes 2 pods of coffee.

The pods are also rather pricey. They’re not unbearable, but especially with the “takes 2” requirement, it ends up being somewhere around 50 cents for an 8 ounce mug of coffee. For home brew, that’s pretty expensive.

Sadly, the coffee isn’t the best tasting either. It’s not bad, but with it’s coffee-house like appearance, I expected perfection. The froth (crema for you professionals) is really beautiful, and the final product does smell nice. I think it’s just the age of the grind. I don’t really like pre-ground beans anyway, so ground, podded, packaged, and shipped beans have a lot to overcome.

Strength is something that might be a problem for some people. The 2 pods in a mug method makes fairly strong coffee. I really like strong coffee, so it’s actually a perfect brew for me, but most people will need to milk it up, or decide between slightly too strong (2 pods in one mug), or too weak (1 pod in a mug).

The Senseo really excels in convenience, that’s for sure. It’s FAST. It’s cool factor also helps. You feel like you’re brewing a cup of cappuccino, and the crema makes it LOOK like fancy too. (When you taste it, you realize it’s just coffee, but it’s not bad coffee)

My final thoughts? It’s a keeper. It found a home on my coffee counter. It will stay there until I get a fancy espresso maker. And because I’m an honest guy, if you come over, I’ll brew you a cup.
100_6483.JPG

Are You Annoyed by β€œSmall” Being Called β€œTall?”

I took the family to a really nice coffee house this evening. All 4 of them ordered hot chocolate, but I won’t yammer on about wasting a good coffee house experience with simple hot cocoa. It may sound cheesy, but this particular coffee house actually has a drive thru. (I know, that sorta cheapens the place — but it’s one of the nicest coffee houses I’ve visited, so I look at the drive thru as a bonus, not a detraction.)

Anywho, I realize that Venti, Grande, and Tall sound a lot cooler than, Large, Medium, and Small — but come on, who are we fooling? I feel like a real poser when I order a venti coconut soy latte with an extra shot of espresso. (Um, yum…) In fact, 9 times out of 10, I actually order a large. Venti doesn’t look or sound like a real word. It’s like “vent”, but not quite. Ugh…

Owning, or at least running a coffee house is a dream of mine. It’s one of my lifetime goals along with getting a book published, having a cabin in the woods, and owning a refrigerator with an ice dispenser in the door. I love making coffee. I love drinking coffee. I love talking about coffee. If you come over, I’ll happily make you a latte.

Latte

On a similar note, Susan had a post regarding a photo contest. The photo above is a cup of cinnamon vanilla latte I made, and *I* actually took the photo too. Maybe next month I’ll enter the contest. πŸ™‚

I Hate Resolutions

I do, I really hate “New Year’s Resolutions.” It seem so dumb to pick a single day to set goals. I do have a goal, but it’s important to me that it’s not a dumb old New Year’s Resolution. I don’t know who I’m trying to convince, maybe myself. πŸ˜‰

E2LI need to lose some weight. I also need to get back off blood pressure medicine, and back into my pants. The only thing that has ever done that for me is the Eat to Live diet. While I’m not planning to really follow the plan in the book, it’s the book that turned me onto vegan eating.

My actual plan of attack is to use Susan Voisin’s webpage and blog to plan my meals with. Susan has an incredible website, and if your health is a concern to you, I URGE you to visit her site.

I may have some more frequent food posts, although I don’t plan to make my blog a food-only blog by any means. I’m too geeky for that. ;o)

Anyway, Happy New Year, and wish me luck on my coincidental resolve to eat better.

Humble thanks for Thanksgiving

tg.pngAbout 7 years ago, my family was in a very rough spot due to a car accident that turned our lives upside down. We were forced to go on welfare, my pregnant wife was forced to take a job bussing tables at a local restaurant, and we were the recipients of holiday food baskets, etc. It was a humbling time, but actually was a turning point in our lives. I think if it weren’t for that experience, we’d never have the faith we do today.

This year, due to some unexpected auto repairs, we’re in a similar situation. Our bills are paid, etc., but unfortunately, something as simple as Thanksgiving dinner would have been quite impossible to make fancy.

Last night, however, we had a heart-breakingly familiar Thanksgiving food basket delivered to our home. For the past 5 years or so, *we* are usually the family driving around delivering baskets, and this year, we received one. I wanted to refuse the gift — but it would have just been pride, because after all, we really didn’t have anything other than pantry staples for Thursday’s meal.

It occurs to me that when we are financially and socially secure, and when we aren’t (in our minds) needy of anything, we miss the boat when it comes to true thankfulness. While I don’t wish misfortune on anyone, I do wish everyone a humble, thankful holiday. It’s reminding my family who we are, who we aren’t, and who we want to be.

God bless.