Afternoon Espresso

As a child I have vivid memories of my parents, aunts and uncles sitting around a table after a big meal smoking cigarettes, laughing, always having a cup of coffee in their hands.
 A very close aunt and uncle lived on the next block over from our house and they would often  just stop by for coffee, I remember my uncle would always say, “put the coffee on we’re coming over!”

Coming over for coffee was a reason to get together, it didn’t have to be a big meal all the time, coffee was enough, providing there was always something sweet to go with it, usually something homemade or purchased from a favorite Italian bakery.
One of the last memories I have of my favorite uncle Al was the week before he passed away, he was home and under hospice care at the time, on our way over we made a quick stop at the bakery to pick up a box of cannoli, he loved his sweets. Although he was weak and frail he insisted on us making a pot of coffee so he could sit at the table and have a cannoli with us. As he took a few tiny bites and sipped his coffee he talked about his family and how important we all were to him, he made us laugh and made us cry, he had such a positive attitude with no regrets, he was the best! 

Maybe that’s why I’m crazy about all things coffee, it’s ingrained in me from childhood. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing better than the smell of espresso brewing in my house, it makes me happy!
I can drink it in the morning and into the wee hours of the night, which I often do.
Even my friends and I meet together every Tuesday for coffee, we talk about each others lives and try to solve the worlds problems. My girlfriend Jean is a talented baker who specializes in Italian cookies, she often brings us all a goodie box filled with her sweet creations, recently she gifted me with her famous pizzelles, freshly made and crunchy!
Perfect timing because I had just received a brand new Philips Saeco Syntia Automatic Espresso Machine for review so I called my daughter who is an avid espresso drinker and suggested we get together for a little afternoon espresso.
This is a very sleek machine, it doesn’t take up much room and it looks absolutely gorgeous on your counter top, a far cry from my stove top moka pot!
It has all the bells and whistles you could think of, for one thing it’s easy to use, not complicated, no need to read a manual over and over again to figure it out. With a single touch you can have a shot of espresso, a long coffee, some steamed milk or hot water.
What I really love about this machine is that it automatically cleans itself, after each use you will find the compressed coffee disks right in the dump tray.
All the compartments are easily accessible, from refilling the beans and water to emptying the dump and drip trays. 
You might be wondering what the quality and taste is like, well for one month now it has been consistently brewing rich, complex and well balanced cups of espresso with beautiful caramel colored crema on top!
The pressure on the steamer has also worked consistently well, I only wish that the water tank was a little larger as well as the bean hopper.
I enjoy having an occasional macchiato, which is basically a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top, the Saeco Syntia produces the perfect cup!
Is it a little pricey? Sure, but if you frequent those popular coffee shops on a regular basis, add up what you’re spending over the course of a year you might feel justified to be your own barista at home, plus you can share the love with all your family and friends!

If you’d like to know more about Philips Saeco you can visit their website, as well as their Facebook page.

If you’re craving homemade pizzelles after this post, here’s a link to one’s I’ve made.

Disclaimer; I was provided a Philips Saeco Syntia machine for review, my opinions are totally my own.

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  1. we love our afternoon espresso too! I have a little Bialetta 2 cup pot for the stove, but am now addicted to NESPRESSO. Yum.

  2. I’m afraid I really don’t like coffee. I like coffe as a flavor like in desserts and ice cream and mocha and very milky lattes, but I don’t like the substance itself.

    What got me in this post was the talk of afternoon coffee. My grandmother didn’t drink it much, but I remember her taking otu the demitasse cups for company and she kept a bottle of Sambuca hidden away for those occasions.

    She also had the same kind of pot I see in your second photo. I remember that pot well. They had the same pot in the kitchen when I was in Italy last year too!

  3. Espresso and Italian cookies..reminds me of holidays with the family. Glad I found Proud Italian Cook!

  4. this brings up memories of my mum sitting around a table with friends and family…I am from Rome and now I live in London…I own a Bialetti for 2 people…lovely post thanks!

  5. I completely adore coffee & like you I can drink it morning, noon & night. For about 4 years I have had a bean to cup machine that I could not live without, in fact if all my appliances broke at the same time I think the coffee machine would be the first one that I replaced! However, I have recently become aware of a downside to my wonderful machine, it’s made me hypercritical of coffee in restaurants/cafes etc so much so that we rarely stay & have a coffee after a meal but rush home & switch the machine on before I even take my coat off!! Great article, btw just going to make your acorn stuffed squash for dinner tonight.

  6. After this post I really must have a cup of real good coffee : )

  7. I’m sure this machine is fabulous to use, Marie, and a wonderful convienience! It certainly looks beautiful.

    I learned all about making good espresso from my husband, and one of our first wedding gifts was an Bialetti espresso coffee pot sent to us by an uncle in Italy! 🙂

  8. Marie – To quote Mr. Rogers: “Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”
    I have my old espresso pots that I use when I have my Italian group but like Stacey, I have a Nespresso machine that my kids and Dad gave me and it is wonderful too. Nothing like good Italian espresso. Forget Starbucks! Enjoy your machine Marie.

  9. A lovely story about your uncle. I have some “machine” but always have to find the instructions. It sits on my counter and I just dust it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love the valuable info you supply in your posts. I like your writing style.

  11. That was such a sweet story. Food becomes a fabulous source for memories.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have really enjoyed your observations regarding the “coffee and” ritual.. as the Swedish say. My Mother was from Sweden and they too, have a wonderful practice of always having something for you to have with the strong Swedish coffee…any time of day. My Mother always baked on Sat. morning and her Swedish Coffee Cakes were so enjoyed by drop in company over the many years. Such happy memories. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  13. A very handsome machine indeed. If mine (a Spaziale mini Vivaldi) ever gives out, I may well give this model a try!

  14. Aw, sweet post.
    They picked the right blogger to review their machine!

  15. I would like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick