But the experience comes with a hidden price. They know that what people want is the froth, but not just any froth, but their froth. Have you ever, really, seen anyone buy an actual espresso machine from Starbucks? No. Their purpose on the shelves is to send a message that Starbucks wants you to be independent, when they know damn well that you won’t. “Here, get your own espresso machine,” they pretend to say. “You don’t really need us.” Wink wink.
This is all a ploy. Because if they really wanted you to be happy and independent from their control, their shelves would include the one item that they don’t want you to know about, because if you did, it would put them out of business.
And that’s the Bodum Milk Frother that you can get for twenty bucks at any cooking specialty store. I just picked one up a few days ago, by accident, really, when Miguel and I went shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We were on our way to the chocolate ice cream scoopers, when the sparkle of the sample glass beaker caught my eye. I then spent maybe twenty minutes deliberating the long term value of this item, a process which Miguel calls “verbal thinking,” which means it’s one of those conversations to myself that no one else really needs to hear, because they weren’t invited.
But, I reasoned, tt could be money wasted, or it could be the best twenty bucks ever spent in my whole entire life.
It was worth it. I ended up getting a second one, so I have one at my place and one at Miguel’s.
It’s just a glass beaker, with a plunger like in a French coffee press. I recommend the Bodum Milk Frother (Faoit a Lait if you really want the full experience), because you can heat it up on your stove top. There is another model by the brand Bonjour, which you can heat in your microwave, but that’s no fun.
You just fill the beaker up to the line with cold milk, place on the stove stop and heat up for a few minutes. Tests conducted at both Katie and Miguel Labs show that heating the milk up to a slight simmer — but not a boil! — provides the best frothing conditions.
Then, just plunge the plunger, and have at it. In just a few quick plunges, your once cold, boring milk will turn into a steamy, frothy delight.
You can pour with the plunger in place. It comes with a screen, I guess to remove impurities, but if you have impurities, you really should stick with fresh milk. I remove the plunger entirely, and pour into a nice pint glass. Then, I pour in coffee straight from a French press.
And then I am very, very happy. Maybe a little too happy right now, as my fingers are moving faster than my keyboard can handle.
I am still working on developing the perfect coffee formula, however. Which beans work best? Columbiano or Major Dickason? Ground or whole bean? One scoop or two?
So there you have it, happiness in a beaker, and liberation from the big man, free at last, free at last. Maybe a little too free. I’ve got the jitters.