Borrowing a line from Scarface, let me introduce you to my little friends, Miss Silvia and the Mini.

They are my means to making a wonderful cup of espresso. They replaced the Krups steam toy and companion burr grinder, which are now at my parent’s house. I had to use those poor things during the Christmas holiday and disliked them so much I’m going to replace them again. I’m looking at the Saeco Classico espresso machine and the Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder. The problem with the Krups machines is that they are not only no good for their assigned task, but they are annoying to use as well. The Krups steam toy does not have a pump to produce pressure, so it technically is not producing an espresso. It is just a glorified drip coffee machine. And the grind of the $50 grinder is too inconsistent to get any crema. It seems to be common knowledge that you need to spend at least $250 to get a good machine (and grinder). Anything less is just going to be a disappointment.

It has been this experience that made me realize I’m a food snob. My mom is my foil in this way—she has no problems with restaurants like Chili’s or Applebee’s. For me, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and having had a food snob for a girlfriend for three years, taught me to strive for something more than the ordinary. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with Applebee’s or it’s replicants, but I feel like I want something with an individual character. That’s why I generally avoid anything that can be referred to as a “chain.” And likewise, I’ve come to discriminate against Starbucks and choose only Peet’s for my caffeine addiction, much as my food snob girlfriend did (and likely still does). Is there anything wrong with that? I hope not, because I like where and what I’m eating, and I want to keep it that way.