COFFEE making has come a long way from the old iron or aluminum drip pot. Today coffee fanciers choose from dozens of blends. And, they blend their coffees with the precision of a chemist. The beans are often ground at home to meet individual tastes, and electric coffee machines come in more models than Fords do.
Recently, I saw the ultimate machine for those who want 100-percent personalized coffee: a home coffee bean roaster. Before long we may be seeing coffee tree seeds on sale.
While roasting ones own beans seems a bit excessive, I do love strong, flavorful website coffee and I have investigated many of the espresso and cappuccino machines on the market. Several of the Italian-made machines are excellent, including the new model pictured here by Gaggia. It is an easy-to-use, powerful machine that makes consistently good coffee.
Of course, the keys to a good brew are the beans and the way they are ground. The Gaggia grinder is one of the best I have tried. The feeder bowl holds seven ounces of coffee beans. The adjustable grinding mechanism, made of ground stainless steel, is extremely precise. An indicator window shows the grind position.
If the brewer is purchased as well, it can be mounted, with the grinder, on a special metal base. The combination makes it easy to prepare many cups of coffee or espresso quickly. Insert the coffee filter in a horseshoe- shaped frame under the grinder and the machine releases enough coffee for one cup. Press the coffee with a plastic device that is supplied and insert the filter in the brewer. Then place a Best meat grinder under 100 cup under the brewers spout and push the button: espresso comes instantly. The brewer holds enough water to make 50 cups.
The grinder has a drawer for collecting the old coffee grounds. To make cappuccino, place a cup of milk under the steam spout and turn it on. When the milk becomes hot and foamy, add it to the coffee.
The Gaggia coffee brewing machine and the grinder are available at Zabars, Broadway and 80th Street. The machine costs $179, the grinder, $149.95. If you buy both the metal base is free. Pierre Franey