I like to tell people that there is no better knowledge management technology than a good coffee machine. Coffee is an attractor, bringing people into an ideal state for reflection, insight, conversation and collaboration.
In 2005, we bought a super-automatic espresso machine, as a consolation for not remodeling the whole kitchen: Gaggia Synchrony Compact purchased from Whole Latte Love for about $650. It was Achille Gaggia who invented the modern espresso machine in 1938, which uses steam pressure to extract the best flavor and aroma from ground beans, along with the signature crema—the golden brown foam of nitrogen bubbles that smooth out the experience of drinking an espresso.
A super-automatic is essentially a coffee-making robot, Put whole beans in the hopper and fill the water reservoir, and the Synchrony grinds and pumps cups of espresso or crema coffee at the touch of a button at the perfect pressure and temperature. Then the mechanism expels the spent puck and readies itself for the next shot. Our preferred way to enjoy coffee is to express about 2-4oz of coffee and then add an ounce or less of milk or creamer to cut the acidity of the coffee. In Spain and Latin America, this is often called a cortado.
We chose this model not only because it was one of the least expensive but also because it has one of the smallest footprints on the countertop. At the same time, the Compact makes no concessions on either quality or features.
By our little robot's 4th birthday, the machine itself has cost us less than 9 cents per cup at an average of 5-6 cups per day. For beans, we use Peet's Espresso Forte, which we buy fresh at Bristol Farms for about $13 per pound. At about 80 shots per pound, so we're paying 17 cents for coffee per cup. So for about two bits per cup, we're enjoying the best coffee I've ever had anywhere in the world. Compare that to about $1.45 for simple shot of espresso at Starbucks.
I even missed my robot when working in Italy.