Pulse: Style: Consumed: Coffee Mate

When did it first occur to you that you needed a new coffee maker?
Probably the day I first
experienced the right espresso.

Where was that?
I got turned on to the beauty of real coffee during my junior year of college, when I was studying in Rome, where part of your daily ritual is drinking coffee. So even as a starving student, I scoured the city for the best cappuccino or espresso, and all roads led to Tazza d’Oro, which had the crème de la crème of coffees. Once you’ve tasted the best, it’s hard to go back.

So how many are you up to a day?
Oh, I’ve actually pared down. Probably the worst I’ve been was in grad school, when I let all my snobbery go and just tanked up on the highest-
octane fuel I could find. Over the years I’ve scaled back to one espresso or macchiato in the morning, then a cappuccino or latte after dinner.

When did you buy this coffee maker?

Just this year. It makes a perfect espresso. What I really like about it is that there is no nonsense in the styling. It’s just a very industrial ­object. Every design element is there for a reason.

So you load the coffee …
First you prime the pump by letting hot water run through the machine, so you don’t get those air-bubble hiccups. Then you flip the switch. What you see coming out now—this very golden-colored liquid—that’s what a perfect espresso looks like.

What are you doing now?
I’m steaming the milk. You don’t want the nozzle of the steamer wand to touch the bottom of the container. And it’s very important the milk be at least 160 degrees. When pouring it, you hold back the froth, then scoop it out.

Why can’t you just plop it all on there?
Because then you wouldn’t get that cream-on-top thing.

Do you speak before having your morning coffee?
My son usually wakes me up between five and six, and I’m forced into all kinds of entertaining conversations with him before I get to the coffee. Which actually makes life pretty darn fun.

Saeco’s Espresso Classico SS ($350) is available at Fante’s, 1006 South 9th Street; 215-922-5557.